No. 12 Penn suffers largest collapse in NCAA Tournament history, loses to No. 5 Texas A&M, 63-61

Penn women’s basketball appeared to have its first NCAA Tournament win in program history in the bag, enjoying a 58-37 lead with eight and a half minutes to play.

But in the fourth quarter, Penn’s golden carriage turned jarringly back into a pumpkin and what looked to be a burgeoning Cinderella run worthy of Tinseltown became the largest collapse in NCAA Tournament history.

Read moreNo. 12 Penn suffers largest collapse in NCAA Tournament history, loses to No. 5 Texas A&M, 63-61

No. 5 Notre Dame ekes out 60-58 win over No. 12 Princeton in NCAA Tournament

Princeton had what it wanted: sophomore sharpshooter and Indiana native Devin Cannady launching an open three-pointer from the left wing for a chance to beat Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center.

Cannady’s high-arcing trey rimmed out, though, and the Fighting Irish hung on for a 60-58 victory, ending a remarkable Princeton (23-7, 14-0 Ivy) season that in the regular season culminated in winning the inaugural Ivy League men’s basketball tournament.

Read moreNo. 5 Notre Dame ekes out 60-58 win over No. 12 Princeton in NCAA Tournament

Grading the inaugural Ivy League Tournament

After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.

And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).

From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:

Read moreGrading the inaugural Ivy League Tournament

No. 12 Penn vs. No. 5 Texas A&M: NCAA Tournament preview

On Monday night, the Penn women’s basketball team (22-7, 13-1 Ivy) was selected to play Texas A&M (21-11, 9-7 SEC) in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. While the Quakers last two tournament appearances were in College Park, Md., Penn will travel out to Los Angeles for a Saturday 6 p.m. (9 p.m. EST) start.

Many bracketologists had listed Penn as a No. 13 or 14 seed, but the committee noted the team’s experience, conference strength (eighth in the nation), league record, Ivy Tournament win and strong out-of-conference schedule to move them up to a more favorable No. 12 seed. The Aggies, the No. 5 seed in the Bridgeport Regional were the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament and made it to the semifinals, before losing 66-50 to Mississippi State (No. 2 in the SEC; No. 6 in the nation). While this is Penn’s fifth overall appearance, it is the Aggies’ 12th straight trip to the Big Dance.

Read moreNo. 12 Penn vs. No. 5 Texas A&M: NCAA Tournament preview

No. 12 Princeton vs. No. 5 Notre Dame: What to watch for

Last year, Yale got to play a team in Baylor just like it in the NCAA Round of 64, one reliant on veteran bigs and offensive rebounding.

This year, the Princeton Tigers (23-6, 14-0 Ivy) get a NCAA opponent that mirrors themselves too.

Read moreNo. 12 Princeton vs. No. 5 Notre Dame: What to watch for

No. 12 Princeton to play No. 5 Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament Thursday

Less than four hours after Princeton defeated Yale to clinch in the Ivy League Tournament final to clinch its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, the Tigers (23-6, 14-0 Ivy) learned they will play Notre Dame (25-9, 12-6 ACC) in the NCAA first round Thursday in Buffalo, in the West region.

The matchup will tip off at 12:15 p.m. on CBS, with Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce on the call, per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports.

The Tigers’ last NCAA Tournament victory came in 1998, when they defeated UNLV in the Big Dance as a No. 5 seed.

Princeton’s last NCAA Tournament appearance six years ago was a 59-57 first-round loss to Kentucky as a No. 13 seed.

Like Princeton, Notre Dame prefers to play a slower pace and shoot a lot of three-pointers, and the Fighting Irish rank first in the nation in free throw percentage and 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Notre Dame lost to North Carolina in the Elite 8 last season at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, and the Fighting Irish also made the Elite 8 the previous season.

Notre Dame is led by junior forward Bonzie Colson, who has averaged 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, junior guard and Bridgewater, N.J. native Matt Farrell, who has contributed 14.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, senior forward V.J. Beachem and his 15.0 points and 4.1 rebounds, and senior guard and Medford, N.J. Steve Vasturia and his 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

The Fighting Irish are 9-8 against top 60 KenPom competition and are ranked No. 25 in KenPom. Princeton is ranked No. 59 by KenPom.

Yale or Duke? Who non-Yale fans should root for

As Brandon Sherrod iced Baylor from the foul line Thursday afternoon, two thoughts quickly popped into the minds of Ivy basketball enthusiasts. First, a sense of shock that Yale had actually pulled off the upset and second, that next in line for the Elis was Duke, one of the bluest of college basketball’s bluebloods.

The question posed to all non-Yale Ivy fans was, do we root for team loyalty or conference loyalty? You, the esteemed reader, might be dealing with this dilemma yourself. Is it really worth rooting for Duke (Duke!) just for the sake of hoping a conference rival doesn’t make it past the first weekend? Here to tackle this issue are two Columbia fans who are definitely not bitter that their team has not made the tournament in their lifetimes while others experience joy: Miles Johnson is taking the pro-Yale (or at least anti-Duke) side, and Sam Tydings would rather see Grayson Allen smile than Yale advance to the Sweet 16.

Read moreYale or Duke? Who non-Yale fans should root for

No. 12 Yale defeats No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, notches first NCAA Tournament win ever

Sophomore guard Makai Mason posted 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 39 minutes. (Fansided)
Sophomore guard Makai Mason posted 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 39 minutes. (Fansided)

Yale made history just by showing up. Then the Bulldogs made a whole lot more.

In Yale’s first NCAA Tournament game since 1962, the Bulldogs won their first contest in the tourney ever, besting the Bears, 79-75, after leading most of the way in front of a Yale partisan crowd at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Read moreNo. 12 Yale defeats No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, notches first NCAA Tournament win ever