As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
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
With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.
The short answer is no.
“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”
Columbia rode its stingy second half defense, Abbey Hsu’s hot fourth quarter shooting and its deep bench to beat Harvard, 62-57, notching its fifth straight win and moving within a game of its first-ever birth in the Ivy Tournament.
Harvard (14-10, 5-6 Ivy) entered Friday night’s contest on a three-game losing streak, including an 89-64 defeat at Columbia (16-8, 7-4) two weeks ago. The Crimson hoped a return to Lavietes Pavilion, where the team was 8-2 on the season, would help turn the tide and return team back to the league’s upper division.
ITHACA, N.Y . – The Crimson and Red are on divergent paths.
Cornell never led against Harvard Friday at Newman Arena, losing 73-58 after digging a hole too deep in the first half to drop its fourth straight game as Harvard notched a third straight win.
The Crimson (14-6, 5-2 Ivy) started off scorching the nets, leading 23-15 after the first quarter. They hit eight of 10 shots in the first 10 minutes, and first-year guard Lola Mullaney hit three of them, all from downtown.
“They switch a lot, and it created some mismatches,” said Cornell coach Dayna Smith. “We didn’t take care of the basketball on the perimeter against those mismatches … A couple of people early on were too focused on the Harvard players instead of what we needed to be doing.”
Harvard handed its archrival its first defeat in Ivy League competition Friday, pulling away in the fourth quarter to notch a 66-57 win over Yale at Lavietes Pavilion.
Yale (14-4, 4-1 Ivy) overcame an 18-8 deficit after one quarter to claim a 31-29 halftime lead, but the Crimson ended the game on a 15-5 run over the final 7:12, attacking the Bulldogs inside down the stretch.
Princeton used its inside strength to outrebound Harvard by 15 and score 18 more points in the paint to cruise past Harvard, 60-46, Saturday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
With the game tied after the first five minutes, the Tigers (15-1, 3-0 Ivy) closed out the frame on an 8-0 run to finish with a 17-9 advantage. Princeton stretched the lead to 14 at the three-minute mark of the second quarter before Jeannie Boehm, Maggie McCarthy and Maddie Stuhlreyer led the Crimson (11-6, 2-2) on a 7-0 run. With one possession left in the half, Carlie Littlefield got the ball to an open Bella Alarie, who calmly hit a three from the top of the key to make it 32-22.
The Dartmouth women entered Saturday’s rematch at Harvard looking to for its first series sweep since 2009, but a strong defensive effort and solid late-quarter three point shooting allowed the Crimson to keep its streak intact in front of a boisterous Alumnae Day crowd.
Dartmouth’s Katie Douglas forced Harvard’s Mackenzie Barta into a late turnover and Annie McKenna took the loose ball in for the layup to give the Green a conference-opening 63-62 upset of the Crimson on Saturday afternoon.
- Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September. Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers. Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
- Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work. Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.