Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the Ivy men’s basketball, which, per KenPom, gave us the highest percentage of games decided by three or fewer points or in overtime in all of Division I for the second straight season:

Crimson are No. 1 for a reason 

Harvard conquered its house of horrors, Levien Gym, 83-81, after an obligatory overtime period to claim its seventh Ivy League championship under Tommy Amaker and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. But is Harvard a vulnerable No. 1 seed?

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Ivy League announces conference tournament rotation schedule through 2025

On Wednesday, the Ivy League office announced that Harvard will host the 2020 Ivy League Tournaments on Sat., Mar. 14 and Sun. Mar. 15. In addition, the league also scheduled the tournament locations through the 2024-25 season, with each of the conference’s schools that haven’t already hosted getting a turn.

After holding the first two Ivy tournaments at Penn’s Palestra (seating 8,722) and scheduling this year’s event at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,800), the league has elected to follow a southern-central-northern pattern for future sites.  After Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion (1,636), Ivy Madness will travel down south to Princeton’s Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) in 2021, followed by trips to Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) in 2022 and Cornell’s Newman Arena (4,473) in 2023.  The event will move to the northern-most site at Dartmouth’s Leede Arena (2,100) in 2024, before finishing the rotation at Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium (2,700) in the spring of 2025.

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Penn women hold on against upstart Lions, 72-60

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, N.Y. – The final score may have shown a 12-point difference, but Saturday night’s contest between Penn and Columbia was a battle that wasn’t decided until the final minute, resulting in a 72-60 victory for the visitors.

On Friday night, the Penn women (13-3, 3-0 Ivy) played the second game of the double-header with Cornell since the men’s game was played at 5 p.m. to fit into ESPNU’s national schedule.  With the 7:45 p.m. start in Ithaca, the team did not arrive in New York City until 2:30 a.m.  As a result, the team skipped their usual shootaround in preparation for its 5:30 p.m. Saturday night contest against Columbia (5-12, 1-3).

Read morePenn women hold on against upstart Lions, 72-60

Columbia men fall to Penn in disappointing close to back-to-back homestand

Live by the pull-up jumper, die by the pull-up jumper.

Columbia lost the second game of back-to-back homestand to Penn, 72-70, a hard-fought contest that had both coaches praising the grit of the Ivy League.

Gabe Stefanini scored 27 points on a variety of jump shots and remarkable finishes, but clanked a last-second attempt to tie off the iron, leaving Columbia winless in back-to-back losses to Princeton and Penn. Quinton Adlesh added 15 points and shot 5-for-5 in the second half.

Read moreColumbia men fall to Penn in disappointing close to back-to-back homestand

What can Columbia build on after another tough loss?

As the great Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam said: “Damn, Columbia just can’t buy a win.”

Columbia fell 87-86 in double overtime to Delaware Sunday at Levien Gym, leaving the Lions a frustrating 1-5 and the only team in the Ivy League under .500 and still searching for answers. The talent is there. The wins are not.

After an exceedingly comfortable win over St. Joseph’s (Brooklyn) of Division III, the Lions fought back multiple times against the 7-2 Blue Hens. Mike Smith scored five points late in regulation to force overtime. Gabe Stefanini hit a huge three to force a second overtime. Columbia earned the chance to win the game by getting a tie-up with 1.9 seconds to play. But the inbounds set remained unchanged despite a Delaware timeout; a lob to Patrick Tape, not corralled, and an off-balance Stefanini jumper, not converted, closed the books on a good start to December. Conference play, obviously, is the key, but Columbia is yet to prove a formula that might prove effective therein.

Read moreWhat can Columbia build on after another tough loss?

A turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

I must admit that there were times over the last 10 years that I began to despair.

Penn basketball has always been an essential part of my sports spectating life, and yet, inexplicably,
there was the “crown jewel” of Penn Athletics in shambles. For those of us who had always witnessed greatness on the hardwood from the Red and Blue, the past decade has been nothing less than a gut-wrenching, surreal descent into irrelevance and thus humiliation.

Read moreA turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

1. Penn (21-7, 11-1 Ivy)

Penn shot a blistering 76 percent from two-point range in claiming sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings with a 74-71 win over Harvard Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn’s AJ Brodeur lured Chris Lewis out of the paint at times, and the Red and Blue attacked the basket when Lewis was on the bench. Brodeur had four assists and no turnovers, with senior guard Darnell Foreman notching five assists on senior night himself.

Penn has now shot a combined 40-for-60 (66.7 percent) from two-point range in two games versus a Harvard defense that characteristically values rim protection and ranks first in the league in defensive two-point percentage (48.1 percent). Not surprisingly, Penn ranks first in the conference in two-point percentage and assists per field goals made. Anyone who’s watched Penn ping pong passes in the paint knows that this team is capable of getting high-percentage shots even against a defense as stout as Harvard’s. That’s something to keep in mind should these squads meet at the Palestra again in the Ivy League Tournament championship game on Mar. 11.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

The Ancient Eight aren’t so ancient anymore.

Penn ranks highest in experience in the Ivy League but still ranks just 140th nationally. Princeton (144th) and Columbia (244th) round out the Ivies in the top 250, while Cornell, Brown and Harvard are all sub-300 in experience at 306th, 334th and 335th respectively.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

Ivy Saturday what to watch

Saturday’s What to Watch

A large number of important games on deck for this Saturday afternoon and evening.  The Penn at Cornell and Princeton at Columbia women’s games do not look to be exciting, but the rest of the games do have strong implications on the Path(s) to the Palestra. So, skip the Olympics (or, at least DVR it so you can eventually watch the skating and hear the always informative commentary from Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir) and get ready for another exciting day of Ivy hoops.

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Finding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia

NEW YORK – For the last eight years, Levien Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the University of Pennsylvania. Penn men’s basketball had lost seven of the last eight at Columbia, including five straight. There have been blowouts, ejections and a couple of photo finishes that went the home team’s way.

So when the Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead, it followed an unsurprising trend.

“We definitely started off slow,” Penn sophomore Devon Goodman said. “They hit us first.”

Unlike previous seasons, the Quakers hit back, in large part thanks to a career night from Goodman, who scored a career-high 23 points with five assists and five boards. Add that to an impressive second half and an 18-0 run down the stretch and the Red and Blue staged a comeback to win 74-62 over the Light Blue on Friday night.

Read moreFinding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia