Yale men add to its deep roster to make a run at the league title

The Yale men’s basketball team finished 2016-17 third in the Ivy League regular season, but a semifinal upset of rival Harvard propelled them into a runner-up spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament. With the expected return of 2015-16 first team All-Ivy point guard Makai Mason from a major foot injury, the Bulldogs were expected to be in the thick of last year’s race. While the team was chosen second to the Crimson by only three points in the preseason media poll, Yale actually had two more first-place votes. Unfortunately, Mason and forward Jordan Bruner both sustained injuries in the preseason that effectively kept them on the bench for the entirety of the 2017-18 campaign.

Despite those major blows and a 2-4 start to league play, coach James Jones was able to rally his Elis (16-15 overall, 9-5 Ivy) to a second consecutive third-place showing. While Yale defeated co-champion Penn by one point in New Haven on the regular season’s penultimate evening, the Quakers ended the Bulldogs season with a 80-57 victory at the Palestra in the Ivy Tournament semifinal. For 2018-19, Yale will add a class of five first-years to a squad that will return its entire starting lineup and Bruner (8.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 22.4 minutes per game in ’16-’17). Even if the team cannot stay healthy, their depth allows them to be a good bet to stay in the conference’s upper division for the 19th straight season. If the coach can get his squad to avoid the injury bug (maybe skip the scrimmage against brother Joe Jones’ Boston University, where Mason and Bruner were both injured in successive seasons), a regular season and postseason title should be within their grasp.

Read moreYale men add to its deep roster to make a run at the league title

Yale looks to keep rolling against Brown

We are all aware that a No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA men’s tourney. When Yale takes on Brown in New Haven Saturday, it will be a No. 1 vs. a No.8, and I don’t see No. 8 having a decent chance at a win.

The best thing that Brown has going for it is the one game dynamic over the weekend, which will assist its lack of depth. With the transfer of Justin Massey out of the program in December, Brown really is down to two star players, in longtime defensive specialist Cedric Kuakumensah and scorer and ball distributor Tavon Blackmon. That’s not enough weapons to stop Yale, especially on the road, as Brown ranks next to last among all Ivies in scoring defense and rebounding margin, two of Yale’s greatest strengths.

Justin Sears is still the top Ivy player and despite an eye injury, will be back in force on Saturday. Senior guard Nick Victor, the glue of the team, is shooting north of 50 percent from three-point range, Brandon Sherrod is tough on the boards and Makai Mason may be the best guard in the Ivies as only a sophomore. Jack Montague has not been shooting well, but can really light it up when on. Sophomore guard Eric Anderson is showing a lot more than expected off the bench. James Jones is the dean of the Ivy coaches and is as well versed in the league as anyone, coach or commentator.

Look for Yale to win easily at home.

Yale Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

Optimism abounds in New Haven as the Yale Bulldogs return most major pieces from a team that advanced all the way to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) final last March. Let there be no mistake: led by Ivy League Player of the Year favorite Justin Sears, the 2014-15 Bulldogs have their best shot at an Ivy League title in the last decade. Despite the media’s unanimous crowning of the Bulldogs’ arch-nemesis up in Cambridge, Yale was voted second in the preseason poll and already proved last year that it can hang with the big boys in Lavietes, notching a dominant, league-rattling 74-67 victory over the Crimson in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that brought dreams of March glory to southern Connecticut. Coach James Jones has done a remarkable job of keeping Yale competitive consistently during every season he’s had at the helm, but he’s still looking for that elusive NCAA berth to hang his hat on. If it’s going to happen, it will probably be this year with his hard-working point guard Javier Duren in his senior season and the team building off the momentum of last year’s thrilling postseason run. After exploding in 2013-14, Justin Sears will get a lot of defensive attention this year, so it remains to be seen if the rest of the squad will be able to take advantage of their opportunities.

Read moreYale Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition