Yale men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Yale Athletics announced an intriguing 2019-2020 schedule for the defending Ivy League regular season co-champion and Ivy Tournament title winning Bulldogs Friday.

The 16 game nonconference schedule, which features 14 Division I matchups, includes contests against power conference foes North Carolina, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Clemson.

The Elis will open the season on the road at Stony Brook on November 5, a homecoming for the team’s Long Island born-and-raised coach.  On November 8, they will raise the Ivy banners at the Lee Amphitheater against Division III Oberlin, which is coached by former Yale player Isaiah Cavaco.

Read moreYale men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

James Jones staying at Yale after St. John’s interview

James Jones is staying at Yale after interviewing for a head coaching position at St. John’s that ultimately was offered to and accepted by Mike Anderson. (James Jones’s Twitter page)

James Jones boasts the longest tenure among current Ivy men’s head coaches, and that tenure isn’t done.

There will be a 21st season at Yale’s helm in store for Jones despite him interviewing for the head coaching position at St. John’s that ultimately was offered to and accepted by Mike Anderson, who was fired by Arkansas after nine seasons there last month and was previously a head coach at UAB and Missouri.

Jones was among the final candidates that St. John’s considered after a protracted search that saw Bobby Hurley, Porter Moser and Tim Cluess withdraw their names from consideration.

Read moreJames Jones staying at Yale after St. John’s interview

How this season’s Yale squad compares to the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament team

Despite a weekend of travel woes, Yale swept the always challenging Columbia-Cornell trip and now sits at 17-4 and 7-1 in the Ivies. The Elis maintain first place alone.

Is it too early to ask how this team compares to the Ivy champion and winner in the NCAA Tournament over Baylor from 2015-16? Coach James Jones would say yes. Other Ivy coaches and former players have opinions which are all over the map.

Read moreHow this season’s Yale squad compares to the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament team

Defense nonexistent as Yale tops Cornell, 98-92

In a matchup between two of the league’s best teams, Yale was able to escape Ithaca with a 98-92 win in a game in which nobody really seemed to play much defense. Both teams shot 53 percent from the field and well over 40 percent from three. Yale moved up to 17-4 overall (7-1 Ivy) and Cornell dropped down to 13-11 (5-3) but still remain two games over fifth place in the league, with a Penn loss.

Read moreDefense nonexistent as Yale tops Cornell, 98-92

Yale tops Miami, serves notice to rest of Ivy League

It seemed crazy. What was Yale coach James Jones thinking? No home game until Dec. 5. A trip to China to play a Pac-12 foe (California) and trips to perennial national powers Miami and Memphis.
The answer is simple. Jones wanted to prepare his talented team, strangely picked only third in the league by the media pundits, for the Ivy wars starting in January. He is fully aware that it is unlikely for two Ivy teams to secure NCAA bids, so why not play the best to ultimately be the best Ivy squad?
The Elis secured perhaps their biggest out-of-league win since the epic 2016 NCAA win over Baylor, by beating heavily favored Miami of the ACC Saturday, 77-73. Miami entered the game with the No. 30 KenPom ranking nationally, the second-highest ranking of a team beaten by Yale in the KenPom era going back to 2001-02 (topped only by the Baylor win). The Elis were down by 10 at the half and fell to a 56-41 deficit in the second half.

Read moreYale tops Miami, serves notice to rest of Ivy League

2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Another college basketball season is upon us. So what can we expect from the Ancient Eight this season coming off a down year for the league overall?

With so much returning talent across the conference, anticipate higher quality of play from both the Ivies who make the conference tournament and those who don’t.

1. Harvard

The Crimson missed their two highest-usage players on offense down the stretch of the Ivy League Tournament final versus Penn at the Palestra: Bryce Aiken, who suffered a knee injury and missed 18 of the final 22 games of the season, and Seth Towns, who suffered a knee injury with around eight minutes left and did not return. Of course, Penn edged out Harvard in the end, the Crimson coming up just short in the face of the Red and Blue’s home-court advantage even without the 2017-18 Ivy Player of the Year (Towns) and 2016-17 Rookie of the Year (Aiken).

Harvard would have likely punched a NCAA Tournament ticket if it had those two standouts in tow, and they’ll probably do the same if they have them in tow this season.

If.

Read more2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Yale men add to its deep roster to make a run at the league title

The Yale men’s basketball team finished 2016-17 third in the Ivy League regular season, but a semifinal upset of rival Harvard propelled them into a runner-up spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament. With the expected return of 2015-16 first team All-Ivy point guard Makai Mason from a major foot injury, the Bulldogs were expected to be in the thick of last year’s race. While the team was chosen second to the Crimson by only three points in the preseason media poll, Yale actually had two more first-place votes. Unfortunately, Mason and forward Jordan Bruner both sustained injuries in the preseason that effectively kept them on the bench for the entirety of the 2017-18 campaign.

Despite those major blows and a 2-4 start to league play, coach James Jones was able to rally his Elis (16-15 overall, 9-5 Ivy) to a second consecutive third-place showing. While Yale defeated co-champion Penn by one point in New Haven on the regular season’s penultimate evening, the Quakers ended the Bulldogs season with a 80-57 victory at the Palestra in the Ivy Tournament semifinal. For 2018-19, Yale will add a class of five first-years to a squad that will return its entire starting lineup and Bruner (8.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 22.4 minutes per game in ’16-’17). Even if the team cannot stay healthy, their depth allows them to be a good bet to stay in the conference’s upper division for the 19th straight season. If the coach can get his squad to avoid the injury bug (maybe skip the scrimmage against brother Joe Jones’ Boston University, where Mason and Bruner were both injured in successive seasons), a regular season and postseason title should be within their grasp.

Read moreYale men add to its deep roster to make a run at the league title

Ivy weekend roundup – Mar. 2-3, 2018

What a wild and crazy Ivy season the 2017-18 campaign turned out to be.

The Ivy League finished first among all 32 Division I conferences with a whopping 39.3 percent of conference games being decided by four points or less or in overtime, a record for any conference in the KenPom era dating back to 2001-02, per Kevin Whitaker of NYC Buckets.

Every Ivy squad played in at least one league game that went to overtime, and the extra periods helped define at least two squads’ seasons in-conference: Harvard went 3-0 in such contests en route to a shared Ivy League championship, while Princeton went 1-4 to seal its first finish outside the league’s top four in 10 years.

Ivies went 39-17 at home in conference play, tops in Division I a season after they went just 28-28, worst in Division I in 2017.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Mar. 2-3, 2018

Checking in with Yale men’s basketball

Record: 8-9 Overall and 1-0 Ivy (4-2 Home; 4-7 Away)

Rankings: KenPom #196; Bart Torvik #212; TeamRankings #152

What’s Hot

Sharing the Rock, Defensive Rebounding and Two-Point Shooting

Over the previous three seasons, Yale has been in the top 100 for assists. After the first half of the 2017-18 campaign, the Bulldogs are tops in the conference averaging 18.4 assists a game and their 67.2 percent rate is second in the country.

The Elis have a defensive rebounding rate of 73.0 percent, which is fourth in the Ivy League and top 90 nationally. While it may not be as high as the program’s 75.7 percent rate in its historic ‘15-‘16 season (top 10 nationally), it is on pace to be the second-best performance in the last 10 years.

Read moreChecking in with Yale men’s basketball