After a crucial 60-53 win last night against Penn (11-10, 3-1 Ivy), the Bulldogs (14-5, 4-1 Ivy) have the chance to make a serious statement about their title aspirations with another win today against Princeton. The good news is that the Bulldogs have some momentum coming into this game. In their last two outings, since suffering a humiliating 65-35 loss at the hands of Harvard, the Bulldogs have been absolutely stellar on the defensive end, having allowed only 53 and 52 points respectively.
Quick hitters from Friday night”s games
Best win: Yale. Tonight”s biggest victory has to go to the Yale Bulldogs. Penn had a lot of momentum late in this game, and the Bulldogs could have let it all slip away when they started to get sloppy with the ball in the second half. Yale”s guards turned it around though and Mangano decided that the Elis weren”t losing this one, grabbing two offensive rebounds off missed free throws (one was his own) in the final minute to seal the win. Turnovers continue to trouble this team as Reggie Willhite, Austin Morgan, and Mike Grace combined for 13 giveaways, but besides those lapses in judgement (which need to be corrected soon), the Yale guards were impressive. Morgan hit three critical three pointers under pressure; Willhite showed his typical hustle on both ends, grabbing key rebounds and knocking down a huge late-game jumper; and Mike Grace had his best game of the season. The North Carolina native was 5-6 from the field with four assists, showing a propensity for the bank shot and looking more dangerous than he has all year. Mangano was pissed off at the referees all game, but he stopped whining and took the game into his own hands down the stretch, denying Rosen the chance at a game-tying three by getting those monster rebounds. The big man showed great touch around the rim all day, finishing with 23 points on 8-13 shooting and 10 rebounds. If this was Round One of the Player of the Year battle between Mangano and Rosen, the Bulldog came out on top.
This game contains the weekend's biggest title implications. Of course, a loss would be less dire for undefeated Penn, as the Quakers would still technically control their own destiny with a loss, but I think even the most optimistic of Penn fans are seeing a Harvard season sweep as a significant long shot.
Given the heightened significance of this game, this one should be really fun to watch. Yale’s guard play this last weekend was highly inconsistent, and the turnover bug bit the Bulldogs about as badly as I’ve ever seen (ignoring Jake Delhomme’s 6 turnover playoff performance 4 years ago) in both games, resulting in 41 giveaways on the weekend. The Bulldogs have to feel fortunate to have come away with even the one win. I’m really interested to see if the Yale backcourt can rise to the occasion, particularly given the fatigue factor of the dozens of suicides they were likely required to run in practice this week.
Welcome to the fifth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/30/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.
1. Harvard (4-0), (18-2)- Harvard settled the score from last season in a shockingly decisive victory over Yale on Friday night. The Crimson’s suffocating defense (and numerous unforced errors on the Elis’ part) limited the Bulldogs to just 35 points, the lowest scoring output for an Ivy team since December 2007 (Princeton at Evansville). Harvard followed up that performance with a wire-to-wire victory at Brown to complete the road sweep and move to 4-0 in conference play. Offensively, the Crimson found production from a variety of places over the weekend. Sharpshooter Laurent Rivard went off for 18 points on Friday, and the next evening Kyle Casey led the way with 20 points. Freshman Steve Moundou-Missi, who continues to be a rock off the bench, chipped in 10 points and five rebounds against Yale and six points and 10 rebounds
against Brown en route to winning his first Ivy League Rookie of the Week award (the third different freshman to win the honor for Harvard). The title race is now decidedly stacked in the Crimson’s favor. Harvard has six of its next eight games in the friendly confines of Lavietes Pavilion, where it’s currently riding a 23-game winning streak, while attrition among the challengers begins in earnest next week when Princeton and Penn visit Yale. -C. River Banks
The Bulldogs are coming off of an embarrassing 65-35 beatdown to archrival Harvard in one of the most anticipated games to take place in the John J. Lee Amphitheater in quite a while. (Or at least one of the most anticipated games that Yale has played in.) Yale now has less than 24 hours to recover from the devastating loss to face another New England opponent eager to knock the Bulldogs off.
Although the Ivy League schedule includes 56 games, only a handful of those matchups end up deciding the title. Friday”s contest between Harvard and Yale is one of those games this year. The Elis entered the season as perhaps the top challenger to the Crimson, and, sitting at 2-0 (with the next four games at home), Yale is in perfect position to make its run. Harvard, meanwhile, can gain some separation from the other Ivy contenders if it can avenge last season’s loss at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. All eyes (especially those from Philly) will be on New Haven Friday night to see what shakes out in what amounts to the first chapter of the Ancient Eight championship race.
Welcome to the fourth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/23/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.
1. Harvard (2-0), (16-2)- Harvard’s 54-38 win in Hanover, which moved the Crimson into a tie for first place, might not have been the most impressive performance of the week, but it did nothing to dispel the notion that Harvard is still the team to beat. The starting five managed a paltry 22 points against the Big Green, but what could have been a dire situation on the road was actually a comfortable blowout thanks to the bench’s performance. Freshman Steve Moundou-Missi continued his excellent play of late with nine points and four rebounds, and guards Corbin Miller and Christian Webster—both returning from injury—chipped in 13 and eight points on a combined eight of 10 shooting (five of seven from deep). The Crimson’s relatively light stretch comes to an end next weekend, as the stage is set for a clash of undefeated squads at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the site of two crushing losses for Harvard a season ago. –C. River Banks
A week removed from their thrilling come-from-behind 68-64 victory over Brown in New Haven, the Yale Bulldogs will travel to Providence tomorrow for part two of this home and away against the Bears. Neither team has taken the court since last weekend, and while one could intuit that the rest has certainly benefited Brown’s point guard Sean McGonagill, who played all 40 minutes last Saturday and fueled the Bears’ impressive offensive effort, it would be foolish to think that the Bulldogs have not had more to gain from the week of practice.
Brown really pushed the Bulldogs to the edge in their first meeting. However, despite the fact that the Bears did almost everything they could have hoped for—shooting the lights out (12-23 from
downtown), containing star center Greg Mangano (15 pts, 4 rbs), and carrying a lead into the final minute of play—they still lost. The problem, moreover, is that it would be hard to imagine Brown playing Yale much better than they did at John J. Lee.
It's no secret around here that we love us some KenPom statistics. Being that we've got over half of a season of data, I thought it was time to check in with Pomeroy's Offensive Ratings to see who the most efficient players in the Ivy League are this season.
First off, let's look at the big-time players who are used in at least 20% of their team's possessions and play at least 40% of their team's minutes.
Welcome to the third IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/15/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.