Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Penn’s defense finds its stride

Penn held Cornell to 18 points in the second half and 0.78 points per possession for the night, an inspired defensive performance marking the latest glimpse of how high Penn’s ceiling can be when the defense is fully locked in. Matt Morgan’s usage rate was lower than usual, and Penn did a good job zeroing in on the second-all-time leading scorer in Ivy history. Morgan and company actually had a decent outing from beyond the arc (8-for-22, 36.4 percent), but it didn’t matter because everything else was effectively taken away. The Big Red typically thrive at the foul line, but Penn’s characteristically disciplined defense (the Quakers rank best in the Ivy League in defensive free throw rate) didn’t feed into that. Instead, Penn preserved its outside shot at an Ivy League Tournament berth, a feat only as realistic as its defense is strong down the stretch.

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Harvard emerges victorious at Yale in Ivy heavyweight thriller

There are probably three tiers in the parity-filled Ivy League this season. They tend to conflate at times, but there is no questioning that the top tier is comprised of Yale and Harvard. So why not expect them to play the game of the year at John J. Lee Amphitheater before a sold out, whiteout throng?
And the tier one battle played out consistent with its script, although perhaps the last act of the game was a bit of a surprise to Ivy fans and scribes. But should anyone by now be surprised by anything Harvard’s Bryce Aiken accomplishes, injured or fully healthy?

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Harvard men’s basketball brings in another strong recruiting class

Despite having ups and downs during its non-conference schedule, the Harvard men’s basketball team (18-14 overall, 12-2 Ivy) played consistently great defense (Adjusted Efficiency of 98.3; 55th in the nation). In conference action, the team was able to solidify its rotation, improve its outside shooting (three-point percentage increased from 30.0 to 42.2 percent), and weather a major injury to its leading player to win a share of the regular season title and claim the league’s top seed heading into the Ivy Tournament. A road game with co-champion Penn and an injury to the Ivy Player of the Year late in the second half may have been the only things keeping the Crimson from winning Ivy Madness. With a healthier 2018-19, Harvard will look to stay on top of the Ancient Eight and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

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Ivy League men’s basketball 2018 recruiting update

Harvard

Noah Kirkwood, a three-star recruit from the Ottawa area, committed on Tuesday to Harvard for the fall of 2018.  The 6′ 7″ shooting guard recently graduated from nearby Ashbury College High School, and will spend a year at Northfield Mount Hermon School (Mass.) prep school before heading to Cambridge.  247Sports noted that Kirkwood had offers at Wichita State, Virginia, Texas, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Tulane, GW, and St. Bonaventure.  Verbal Commits listed additional offers at Villanova, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and USC.

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