A quiet Saturday on the college basketball front was upended just after three o’clock with Adam Zagoria’s tweet:
Sources: Two Ivy League schools are highly unlikely to play men’s hoops this year and it’s possible the whole league won’t play at all.
“I have a feeling it would be the whole league isn’t going to play,” one Ivy League asst coach.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) October 17, 2020
On Saturday, it will be exactly five years since one of the toughest nights in recent Yale men’s basketball history. Leading by five points in the final minute against a Dartmouth team that was playing just for pride, the Bulldogs lost in perhaps the most excruciating manner possible: a buzzer-beater by Gabas Maldunas off an inbound play. The Ivy League title trophy – set to be awarded to Yale – was quickly covered and hustled out of Leede Arena and Hanover.
After losing a tiebreaker to Harvard the following week, their NCAA Tournament drought reached 53 years, and – having graduated four contributing seniors – who knew when they would get another chance the way Harvard and Princeton were trending?
Whether it’s fair or not, we’re often defined in life by how we finish. How we finish relationships. How we finish jobs. How we finish thoughts.
For Penn at John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night, the finish wasn’t worthy of the start.
Penn appeared to deliver the coup de grâce to Yale when senior guard Devon Goodman hit a three-pointer, his sixth of the night on seven attempts, to put the Red & Blue up 73-63 with 2:52 remaining.
Then the long nightmare casting a longer shadow over Penn’s Ivy League Tournament hopes began.
Brian Earl has told me before that his Big Red squad has found every possible way to lose a game. Well, on Friday night at Newman Arena, they found yet another.
Cornell led for almost the entire ballgame and held a comfortable eight-point lead with just under three minutes to play in Ithaca. Eric Monroe drilled a three for the Bulldogs, and Jordan Bruner converted on a layup with just over two minutes in regulation, and then Azar Swain hit a tough three to tie things up with 61 seconds remaining.
The sides would then trade turnovers before a Terrance McBride halfcourt attempt to win the game fell short, sending the game to overtime.
No team in the Ivy is playing even close to the level of Yale and that was exemplified on Friday night before a huge throng at John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs played their patented suffocating defense and defeated a talented Brown squad, 70-56.
It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to take stock of what followers of each Ivy men’s team should be thankful for at this point of the season: