Ivy League announces All-Ivy honors

Even with a playoff game between Harvard and Yale remaining, the Ivy League has released its 2014-15 All-Ivy selections as chosen by the league’s eight head coaches.

Yale junior forward Justin Sears was named Player of the Year, Dartmouth freshman guard Miles Wright was interestingly named Rookie of the Year and Harvard senior forward Steve Moundou-Missi was selected Defensive Player of the Year. Snagging the first ever Coach of the Year honor was Yale head coach James Jones.

All five first-team All-Ivy players were chosen unanimously to receive that honor, while the number of second-team All-Ivies ballooned to seven due to ties in voting. That second tier is rightly jumbled based on the high level of talent in the league this season. Wesley Saunders easily could have been POY, Kyle Castlin or Antonio Woods easily could have been Ivy ROY and Paul Cormier easily could have been Ivy COY. IHO will have its All-Ivy selections out following Saturday afternoon’s Harvard-Yale playoff. For now, enjoy matching up my four 2014-15 preseason predictions to reality (I got the first two right!) and reacting to the league’s selections:

Read moreIvy League announces All-Ivy honors

IHO Power Poll: Columbia homer edition

Several weeks ago, I was inspired by The Ancient Quaker’s epic power poll. If the AQ can create a ranking of the Ivy basketball teams so detached from Planet Earth that Penn would come in at No. 1, why couldn’t I do the same?

Behold, then: a totally scientific and rational power poll, with just three weekends left in the season.

I will follow the guideline established by the AQ from his power rankings: “I’ve decided to rank the teams as I see them which of course has nothing to do with reality.”

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Columbia Weekend Recap: Hosting Yale and Brown

NEW YORK – On Friday night, Maodo Lo showed his class.

Unfortunately, the rest of his teammates didn’t show up until Saturday.

The Columbia Lions fell to Yale in a heartbreaker, 63-59, on Friday night, as Lo put up 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting from long range but didn’t get much help from the rest of the squad. The full team came to play on Saturday, using a late 22-4 run to blow the Brown Bears out of the building, 86-65. It was Columbia’s largest margin of win in Ivy play in 11 years, but that’s little consolation for the disappointing loss on Friday night.

After four games, the Lions are 2-2 in Ivy play.

Let’s run through some of the major observations of the weekend…

Read moreColumbia Weekend Recap: Hosting Yale and Brown

2014-15 Ivy conference play preview

Noah Savage (@yoitsthesav), comedian, broadcaster and color commentator for the Princeton men’s basketball team, previews the conference slate and how the Ivies stack up halfway through the first full Ivy weekend of 2014-15:

The men’s Ivy League basketball teams are already half way through their schedule and you haven’t paid any attention at all. But don’t worry. There’s still time to catch up since the preconference schedule is almost completely irrelevant in the Ivy League where the regular season champion receives a bid to the NCAA tournament.  Now that we’re still just halfway through the first full Ivy weekend of the season, here’s a quick cheat sheet for each team – plus a few of my own predictions – to help you catch up:

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Leland King leaves Brown basketball … now what?

Leland King led or was tied for the team lead in points and rebounds as just a sophomore this season. (nbcsports.com)
Leland King led or was tied for the team lead in points and rebounds as just a sophomore this season. (nbcsports.com)

Brown Athletics announced today that the team’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Leland King, has decided to leave the program for personal reasons.

The news is very unexpected with Brown just two games into Ivy League play (both losses, making Brown the only Ivy with two losses thus far).

And now that King is gone, so are his 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, a huge blow for a team that has already struggled on both offense (worst assist-turnover ratio in the conference) and defense (worst scoring defense in the conference) this season.

King had missed Brown’s last two road games, including the Bears’ 69-65 loss at Yale Saturday, a game in which senior forward Rafael Maia and sophomore guards Steven Spieth and Tavon Blackmon combined for 50 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in King’s absence.

Senior guard Zeve Sanderson left the team earlier this team as well, and highly touted freshmen Aram Martin and Matty Madigan also left the program after their freshman campaigns in 2013-14.

Whimsy: An Ivy transfer window

(thesportsquotient.com)
(thesportsquotient.com)

Much in the way that the frenzy around MLB’s winter meetings and the NBA’s star players hitting free agency captivate fans as much as or more than regular season games, so too do the machinations of the summer and winter transfer windows in soccer. As the winter transfer window opens on Thursday, I thought about an alternate reality where the NCAA also had a transfer window to deal with in between the fall and spring semesters. While English teams are roughly halfway through their round-robin season when the window opens, Ivy basketball teams have nearly completed their nonconference schedule and will have an opportunity to correct weaknesses, address injuries, or move the focus completely towards next year without worrying about getting relegated.

Along with IHO resident soccer expert Peter Andrews, I thought up moves each team could make in this hypothetical, never could, would or should happen situation. We will also be ignoring that in reality, Duke, Kansas or Kentucky would buy up all of the good players anyway.

BROWN: LOANS Kendall Jackson from Columbia and Andre Chatfield from Harvard No Bear averages more than 3.5 assists per game and no starter has an assist/turnover ratio better than 1.1. Thus, the Bears bring in two guards buried on their respective team’s depth charts in the hopes that one sticks as the ball handler of the future and a permanent transfer can be worked out after the season.

COLUMBIA: BUYS Gabas Maldunas from Dartmouth. Columbia remains weakest in the frontcourt, where Cory Osetkowski has put together an inconsistent campaign in scoring and on the glass. They”d pay a hefty transfer fee to pry Gabas Maldunas away from Dartmouth, a team going nowhere fast this year. Maldunas would instantly upgrade the post presence for Columbia. In addition to cash, the Lions would send monstrously tall center Conor Voss on a loan to Dartmouth, in the hopes that some regular playing time will reveal basketball skills.

Read moreWhimsy: An Ivy transfer window

Why is Brown basketball down?

Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season, (providencejournal.com)
Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season. (providencejournal.com)

So what’s up with Brown?

The Bears have always been a solid defensive unit under coach Mike Martin. They boast a frontcourt that features two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah and fellow defensive stalwart Rafa Maia. Sophomore guard Steven Spieth also came into this season with a bit of a reputation as a strong backcourt defender as well.

And yet the Bears also have what is comfortably the worst defense in the conference statistically at this early stage of the season. They can’t defend in transition at all.

Read moreWhy is Brown basketball down?

Brown’s defense shows up as expected

Brown is who we thought they were! At least so far.

The Bears’ season-opening 70-58 win over St. Peter’s confirms preseason impressions of Brown – this team can really play defense. Brown held the Peacocks to just 36.1 shooting from the field and two-time reigning Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah registered three more blocks along with an impressive 15-point performance marked by surprisingly effective perimeter shooting on occasion. Rafa Maia notched seven rebounds as well to go along with 13 points.

Most importantly, Tavon Blackmon controlled the pace of the game from the point for Brown, posting 18 points on 4-for-7 shooting, once again proving a legitimate threat from beyond the arc and especially the charity stripe, where he drilled all eight of his free throws. Blackmon is just a steady player who gets it done, and the Bears’ season is off to a solid start. I maintain the Bears are poised to surprise this season.

Brown Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

I’m bullish on the Bears.

Yes, All-Everything Sean McGonagill is gone, and so is his ball distribution, three-point shooting, offensive potency from anywhere on the court and, well, everything! But the Bears will be better than last year because they’ll be more well-rounded in 2014-15 from inside out, the single-most underrated team in the Ivy League.

Read moreBrown Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

Weekend’s Best

Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.
Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.

 

Please put your hand up if you had Dartmouth sweeping the weekend without Gabas Maldunas and Columbia dropping two at Yale and Brown. You in the back? No, you’re just scratching your head? Yeah, me too. It was that kind of weekend in the Ivy League. On to the weekend’s big winners…

Home Court Advantage: We know it’s hard to win on the road in the Ivy League, but wow. Home teams went 8-0 this weekend as all four New England teams swept their back-to-backs. Through 15 Ivy contests, only two away teams have come away victorious (Columbia at Cornell and Harvard at Dartmouth).

Read moreWeekend’s Best