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:
Princeton notched its fourth season sweep of Penn in the past five seasons Saturday at the Palestra, once again overcoming an early deficit to grind out an ugly win over its arch-rival and defending Ivy League champion.
The 62-53 victory for Princeton (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) came despite the Tigers making just three treys (on 16 attempts), committing five more turnovers (13) than Penn (10-6, 0-2), missing 17 of their first 19 shots from the floor while turning the ball over seven times in the first 13 minutes and shooting 32.3 percent from the floor overall (20-for-62). Princeton’s emerging standout Richmond Aririguzoh turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes, and Penn built an early 20-10 lead with 6:55 to go in the first half, a throwback (on a night of throwbacks) to Penn’s 19-10 lead early in the first half at Princeton last Saturday.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Columbia women’s basketball coach Megan Griffith and IHO writer George Clark.
Mike and George recap last weekend’s Penn-Princeton doubleheader, preview the rematch between the Ps at the Palestra Saturday and weigh in other action from around the league:
Coach Griffith reflects on Columbia’s big win at Mercer Sunday, her team’s relative youth and the importance of confidence, her thoughts on the Ivy League Tournament and much more:
Mike notes the payoff of continuity and experience for Ivy men’s and women’s hoops this season – and the few rookies who are breaking through so far:
Question: How many Ivy League hoops squads could lose their leading scorer from the preceding year in the first five minutes of a nascent season and still go on to beat KenPom No. 44 Miami as well as the AP No. 17 defending national champions, all the while compiling an overall 9-2 record?
Answer: None — except Penn.
The fact that the Quakers have been so successful so far this season appears to be less a factor of overall talent (which is substantial nonetheless), and more of a function of overall depth and system.
Nowhere were these latter two qualities on full display than on Tuesday night before a packed house when the Quakers knocked off Villanova, thus ending the Wildcats’ 25 game Big 5 winning streak as well as their painful 16-year reign over Penn.
Before the season started, I wrote for IHO, “Clearly, the marquee game will be against the Wildcats. I can tell you from experience, anything can happen in a Big 5 game. I just hope it happens this year.”
And it did.
Penn did it.
The Red & Blue were simply better than the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats throughout their matchup at the Palestra Tuesday night, notching a 78-75 victory that underscored how each Big 5 squad is trending in opposite directions.
The continuation of Penn’s remarkable improvement made history at No. 17 Villanova’s expense, repeatedly getting easy buckets via cuts to the basket and making just enough free throws down the stretch to snap Villanova’s 15-game winning streak over Penn (dating back to Dec. 10, 2002) and 25-game Big 5 win streak (dating back to Dec. 5, 2013).