2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

Harvard season preview: Slew of sophomore studs looks to lead Crimson

Last season, Harvard lost to Yale in heartbreaking fashion in the first round of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. The Crimson graduated Siyani Chambers and Zena Edosomwan, both of whom made indelible impacts on the program. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a successful Harvard season without Siyani Chambers. And yet, the Crimson comes into the 2017-18 season as the preseason favorite, according to the Ivy Preseason Media Poll. While the poll predicted an incredibly close race between Harvard and familiar foes Yale and Princeton, the sentiment of the voters is clear: No one expects Harvard to take a step back this year. Here are the details on how Harvard hopes to turn high expectations on paper into actual success on the court:

Read moreHarvard season preview: Slew of sophomore studs looks to lead Crimson

Breaking down Harvard’s 2017-18 women’s and men’s schedules

Harvard women’s basketball tries to keep upper division streak alive

The Harvard women’s basketball team released its 2017-18 schedule and hopes to build on its post-season Ivy Tournament appearance and first-round WNIT victory in 2016-17.  This will be the 36th season for legendary head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, who is the only coach to ever guide a No. 16 seed in a victory over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Smith’s teams have been in the Ivy upper division for 32 of her 35 seasons at Harvard, while placing in the top three each of the last 14 years.  With the continuation of the postseason Ivy Tournament, the odds look strong for the Crimson to return to the Palestra in early March.

Read moreBreaking down Harvard’s 2017-18 women’s and men’s schedules

Mason’s graduate transfer: an important decision in more ways than one

Makai Mason, once a Bear-buster, is Baylor-bound come 2018. (Fansided)

Last week, Andrew Slater of 247 Sports reported that Yale rising senior Makai Mason will attend Baylor University in the fall of 2018 as a graduate transfer.  The 2015-16 first-team All-Ivy guard missed all of last season due to a foot injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage against Boston University.  Mason, who was recently named the Yale captain for the upcoming season, averaged 16.0 points, 3.8 assists, and 32.7 minutes of playing time per game in his sophomore campaign.

Mason declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, but withdrew his name a few days after the combine.  Since he did not choose an agent, he returned to Yale and retained his last two years of eligibility.  After his first-semester injury, Mason decided to continue his studies at Yale instead of taking a leave of absence, as opposed to Alex Rosenberg at Columbia or Siyani Chambers at Harvard.  By staying in school, Mason will earn his degree in the spring of 2018 and retain one year of athletic eligibility.  Since the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to participate, he is free to play his last season at any institution the following season.  That freedom has been exercised over the last few years by Cornell’s Shonn Miller (Connecticut), Penn’s Tony Hicks (Louisville), Harvard’s Patrick Steeves (George Washington), Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola (George Washington) and Brown’s Rafael Maia (Pittsburgh).  Recently, two graduating All-Ivy Princeton players, Hans Brase (Iowa State) and Henry Caruso (Santa Clara), have added their names to this ever-growing list.

Read moreMason’s graduate transfer: an important decision in more ways than one

2016-17 Ivy League Tournament Semifinals roundup

Everybody can take away from the inaugural Ivy League Tournament semifinals what they wish. Anti-tournament folks can point to the folly of a team that finished 6-8 in league play essentially hosting a squad that went 14-0. Pro-Palestra Ivy observers can point to what was a rollicking atmosphere with a mostly full arena during the first men’s semifinal. Pro-tournament, anti-Palestra fans can look to the dip in attendance following Penn-Princeton to make the case for a tourney at a neutral location more geographically equidistant for all the Ivies.

Read more2016-17 Ivy League Tournament Semifinals roundup

IHO 2016-17 All-Ivy Awards

The voting for this year’s IHO All-Ivy Awards was more varied and wide open than ever, as well as substantially different from the Ivy League’s awards announced Wednesday. Here’s what the site’s writers combined to come up with …

Read moreIHO 2016-17 All-Ivy Awards

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 27, 2017

One impressive Ivy winning streak continued this weekend, while another very consequentially ended.

Princeton upped its consecutive win total to 15, effectively clinching the No. 1 seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, to be played March 11 and March 12 at the Palestra. The last four Tiger victories have been by double digits, and Princeton’s defense is shutting down opponent after opponent.

Penn, though, couldn’t escape the Empire State unscathed, suffering a crucial 70-67 defeat at Columbia that snapped both the Red and Blue’s five-game winning streak and the Lions’ five-game losing skid, keeping Columbia very much in the race for the inaugural Ivy League Tournament’s No. 4 seed.

But that race isn’t what most Ivy supporters thought it was as recently as this past weekend. On Sunday morning, in response to a question from Mike James (@ivybball), the Ivy League confirmed that second tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed doesn’t just take into account the No. 4 candidates’ records versus tournament qualifiers from No. 1 through No. 3, which is how most Ivy observers interpreted the tiebreaker (which can be read at the #IvyMadness site here). Instead, the tiebreaker would be the highest Ivy that one No. 4 candidate beat that other didn’t, even if that tiebreak goes as low as Brown or Cornell.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 27, 2017

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 20, 2017

This was a momentous weekend for Ivy League basketball. First-place Princeton ran its winning streak to 13 games (10 in Ivy competition) in dominant fashion. Penn, meanwhile, snagged the No. 4 slot in the Ivy standings, erasing a Columbia four-game lead over the Red and Blue in the standings in just nine days courtesy of an equally dominant road sweep of Brown and Yale, a watermark back-to-back sequence for a long dormant program.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 20, 2017

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 13, 2017

As IHO writer Rob Browne pointed out to me Sunday night, this was a topsy-turvy weekend for Ivy hoops. Comebacks came and went, winning and losing streaks were snapped and the race for the league tournament No. 4 seed got muddled:

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 13, 2017

Harvard splits the Ps, looks ahead to Brown and Yale

The Crimson played two wild games this past weekend, as Harvard took down Penn before dropping a stunning game to Princeton. On Friday night, the Crimson trailed 19-4 before storming back to beat Penn. On Saturday night, Harvard staged a double-digit comeback to lead Princeton late, but missed free throws, silly fouls and some rebounding issues led to this wild ending and a Harvard loss. Here are a few of my thoughts on Harvard at this point in the season:

Read moreHarvard splits the Ps, looks ahead to Brown and Yale