NYC Buckets list

Now that the dust has settled on the 2017-18 season and the curtain has closed on NYC Buckets, I thought now would be as good a time as ever to look back and honor a site that covered Ivy League basketball (among other conferences) so well for seven years.

NYC Buckets, formerly Big Apple Buckets, has been done since UMBC bowed to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament several weeks ago. But several schools covered by NYC Buckets have been in the news lately (Siena for men’s coach Jimmy Patsos denying allegations of abusing a team manager and Marist hiring John Dunne away from St. Peter’s after firing Mike Maker), driving home the reality that the mid-major programs that NYC Buckets dutifully covered will move on while the website won’t.

Site founder John Templon and Ivy beat writer Kevin Whitaker both graciously guested on our On the Vine podcast several times. Even though it’s sunken in these past few weeks, NYC Buckets shuttering is still a tremendous loss for Ivy League basketball.

Read moreNYC Buckets list

Ivy Power Rankings – Jan. 9, 2017

1. Princeton (8-6, 1-0)
See Toothless Tiger’s recap for game details, but the team’s 61-52 win over Penn proved they’re a resilient bunch. It’s not easy to withstand a 26-5 run from your archrival, but the Tigers did just that in the second half, hanging on with team-wide superior composure and characteristically clutch play from Devin Cannady. It was Cannady who broke the 44-44 tie following Penn’s gangbusters run and played outstanding defense alongside Myles Stephens down the stretch. Princeton’s defense is more than good enough to carry it to the league’s top slot.

Read moreIvy Power Rankings – Jan. 9, 2017

ESPN: Princeton’s Henry Caruso to become graduate transfer

Princeton senior guard Henry Caruso will become a graduate transfer next season, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Wednesday.

Caruso was reported out for the year last week with a toe injury, making him the second Tiger this week to be declared out for this season.

Caruso was a first-team All-Ivy selection as a junior last season, leading the Tigers in scoring and rebounding at 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shooting at a 52.7 percent clip. Caruso contributed 9.5 points and 4.3 boards per contest in eight games this season.

The San Mateo, Calif. native joins a long list of Ivy graduate transfers in recent years, including Columbia’s Grant Mullins, Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola, Brown’s Rafael Maia and Princeton’s own Denton Koon.

Fellow Tigers senior Hans Brase was declared out for the year Sunday after sustaining another season-ending knee injury.

Where Princeton stands after eight games

Princeton’s first month, spent almost entirely on the road, ended on a positive note in Lynchburg, Va. on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers’ three-point dam, which cracked slightly against Hawaii’s Rainbow Warriors in a win to conclude the Pearl Harbor Invitational, burst wide open in a tough, hold-them-off-at-the-end 67-64 victory over the Liberty Flames. Princeton canned 17 threes, including an unlikely six from Aaron Young, presenting Princeton coach Mitch Henderson with an early Christmas present: career win number 100. Spencer Weisz also broke out of some early season doldrums to do what he does best: make other players better. His career-high 13 assists tied the program record held by T. J. Bray.

Read moreWhere Princeton stands after eight games

Columbia’s 2016-17 best-case scenario

Columbia’s run to the CIT title, including a semifinal win over NJIT and Jim Engles, felt like catharsis for a class that had seen its fair share of ups and downs.

Now it’s November and the leaders behind that run are gone: Kyle Smith to San Francisco, Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg to overseas contracts, Grant Mullins to Cal, and Isaac Cohen to the working world. So if everyone hits their 99th percentile performance in Morningside Heights this season, what can we expect? A group whose most experienced players are bigs and a coach who promises to run at a breakneck pace (at least compared to Kyle Smith’s) is a recipe for either the greatest incarnation of Seven Seconds or Less ever, or at least the most hilarious one. We do not know what Columbia’s lineup will look like. We do not know which freshmen will be able to contribute starting Friday at Stony Brook. What we do know is if everything goes according to plan, Columbia is going to win the Ivy title in the most ridiculous way possible.

Read moreColumbia’s 2016-17 best-case scenario

Columbia Season Preview – Watermarks and Engles

What happened last year (25-10, 10-4): Columbia was expected to vie for last year’s Ivy title with Yale and Princeton, but an overtime loss at home to Princeton midseason relegated Columbia to a lower tier within the conference and a CIT appearance. Columbia made the most of the CIT, though, winning the tournament and sending off the four that roared – Isaac Cohen, Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins and Alex Rosenberg as champions. Then Kyle Smith subsequently left to coach at San Francisco, and Jim Engles from NJIT was tapped to succeed him.

What’s new: With the four that roared gone, senior forward Luke Petrasek will likely be asked to shoulder much more of the offensive burden than he did a year ago, but more on that later.

Read moreColumbia Season Preview – Watermarks and Engles

Grant Mullins to transfer to Cal

Grant Mullins will trade sunrises over the Atlantic for sunsets over the Pacific.

The point guard from Burlington, Ontario will play his fourth season of college basketball as a graduate transfer at Cal, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported Wednesday.

Concussion symptoms, stemming from an injury suffered in a game at Princeton in February 2014, caused Mullins to miss the entire 2014-15 campaign. The Ivy League does not generally permit medical redshirts, so Mullins’s final year of eligibility will be played in Berkeley.

Read moreGrant Mullins to transfer to Cal

Jim Engles stresses continuity in his introduction as Columbia’s new head coach

 

Photo from byianwenik
Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling (left) and Jim Engles share responsibility for the future of Columbia basketball now, in addition to an actual basketball. (Ian Wenik)

NEW YORK — Jim Engles is a unicorn amongst college coaches.

He’s not much of a screamer during games.

He’s never too up or too down in press conferences (just watch the presser after the biggest win of his career, NJIT’s 72-70 win over Michigan in 2014, for proof).

Rarest of all, Engles has never had to move out of the tri-state area during his career, enabling his children to grow up in one home.

That kind of stability is what the Columbia basketball program desperately needs as it enters a period of tremendous transition. Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg, Grant Mullins and Isaac Cohen will all be gone, which means that Engles will be forced to replace roughly half of the team’s regular rotation (and its best player) right out of the gate. Oh, and there’s that newfangled conference tournament thing starting next year, too.

Read moreJim Engles stresses continuity in his introduction as Columbia’s new head coach

Kyle Smith’s departure from Columbia puts Ivy League at a crossroads

The only thing surprising about the news was its timing: hours before Columbia was set to host UC Irvine in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament final, a report that coach Kyle Smith would accept the same position at the University of San Francisco as soon as Thursday emerged from TV station KPIX.

Smith’s departure, confirmed with an announcement from USF Tuesday, has been a topic of discussion for years, more so now after he coached the Lions this year to what is one of their best seasons ever — a school-record 25 wins, plus the first postseason championship banner of any kind in Levien Gym. Add in the fact that three head coaching jobs opened up in the West Coast Conference this year — where Smith spent almost a decade as an assistant at Saint Mary’s — and the concept became more “probability” than “possibility.”

Read moreKyle Smith’s departure from Columbia puts Ivy League at a crossroads

Columbia defeats UC Irvine, 73-67, to win CIT championship and end an era

I have spoken, written, and typed many words about Columbia sporting events since I first stepped on campus and tonight I used a word to describe the experience that I had not used before: fun. Tonight’s environment in Levien felt more like an Ivy clincher than the championship game of a fourth-tier, mid-major only, buy-your-home-court-advantage tournament with teams selected in part by San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. It was the first postseason tournament victory for the Ivy League in more than 40 years but more importantly than that, it was a happy ending to many eras.

Read moreColumbia defeats UC Irvine, 73-67, to win CIT championship and end an era