Turns out it takes more than potential to beat Princeton.
It was all going so well for Penn.
After getting pummeled at the Palestra by a Princeton squad that had started the season 1-7 six days earlier, Penn was making the adjustments it needed in the Jadwin Gym rematch.
Penn made its first two threes after going just 3-for-23 from deep in the last meeting. Princeton had dominated inside at the other end of the floor six days prior, but Jarrod Simmons was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time ever to help man Penn’s frontcourt, scoring the game’s opening bucket and blocking Penn-killer Richmond Aririguzoh in the paint early.
8-0 Penn. 10-2 Penn. The team that beat Alabama and Providence and went toe to toe with Arizona and Villanova finally feasting on a team that had started the season 1-7.
Penn may have lost 80-69 to Villanova at Finneran Pavilion Wednesday night, but the final score doesn’t reflect the fairly even play between the Big 5 rivals, notwithstanding the strong finishes the Wildcats ended both halves on to clinch the win.
How reigning Big 5 champion Penn (5-4) hung with the Wildcats (6-2) is important.
While Harvard and Yale were fighting for their March Madness lives in New Haven several months ago, I was flying (first class, of course) towards Asia in a hurtling, subsonic piece of aluminum. As we chased the sun eastward, I indolently pulled up my window shade and looked out upon the vast, barren, frigidness that is the Arctic Ocean. Then, through the miracle of Wi-Fi (you know, that powerful, invisible force that allows our planet to torment one another through magic), I proceeded to watch the Bulldogs dismantle their arch rivals before a, well, ”mostly filled” John J. Lee Amphitheater. Regardless of how the crowd appeared on site, I can assure you it did not “show well” at 33,000 feet on a 15-inch screen. In fact, the view from my window of Arctic Ocean seemed to be an appropriate metaphor for the vast sea of empty seats above the hardwood. (I exaggerate, naturally, but not too much.)
We recently connected with Yale junior forward Miye Oni, who ranks in the Ivy League’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, free-throw percentage, three-point percentage, blocks and assist-to-turnover ratio, leading the Bulldogs to a share of their second Ivy League regular season championship in four years.
Eight thoughts on the Ivy men’s basketball, which, per KenPom, gave us the highest percentage of games decided by three or fewer points or in overtime in all of Division I for the second straight season:
Crimson are No. 1 for a reason
Harvard conquered its house of horrors, Levien Gym, 83-81, after an obligatory overtime period to claim its seventh Ivy League championship under Tommy Amaker and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. But is Harvard a vulnerable No. 1 seed?
Seeing it through
Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.
On Wednesday, the Ivy League office announced that Harvard will host the 2020 Ivy League Tournaments on Sat., Mar. 14 and Sun. Mar. 15. In addition, the league also scheduled the tournament locations through the 2024-25 season, with each of the conference’s schools that haven’t already hosted getting a turn.
After holding the first two Ivy tournaments at Penn’s Palestra (seating 8,722) and scheduling this year’s event at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,800), the league has elected to follow a southern-central-northern pattern for future sites. After Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion (1,636), Ivy Madness will travel down south to Princeton’s Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) in 2021, followed by trips to Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) in 2022 and Cornell’s Newman Arena (4,473) in 2023. The event will move to the northern-most site at Dartmouth’s Leede Arena (2,100) in 2024, before finishing the rotation at Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium (2,700) in the spring of 2025.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Rev. Chaz Howard, Penn’s University Chaplain and noted Penn basketball fan, and IHO writer Rob Browne.
Mike and Rob reflect on last weekend’s Ivy matchups and look ahead to the season’s first full back-to-back weekend of league games this weekend:
Rev. Chaz Howard discusses what makes him a passionate fan of Penn basketball, the Palestra being called the “Cathedral/Mecca of College Basketball,” how sports and faith can intersect, the buzz on campus over Penn men’s and women’s basketball’s recent successes and much more:
Mike weighs in on the role that Ivy student newspapers play in reporting on Ivy hoops and other sports: