Sunday Thoughts

A young, quick Penn squad was too much to handle for Harvard as the Crimson fell a game back in the loss column and handed Princeton control of the Ivy title chase with one weekend to play.
A young, quick Penn squad was too much to handle for Harvard, as the Crimson fell a game back in the loss column and handed Princeton control of the Ivy title chase with one weekend to play.

Chaos reigns yet again in the Ivy League. At one point on Saturday night, Dartmouth and Penn led Princeton and Harvard by healthy margins. Princeton would fight back to win, 68-63 on Senior Night, moving to 9-2 in the conference. Harvard, on the other hand, was unable to dig itself out of a 16 point hole, and fell a game behind Princeton in the loss column when Christian Webster”s desperation three at the buzzer fell short. Meanwhile, Brown completed a surprising road sweep of the C”s when Tucker Halpern”s step back three at the buzzer splashed through the net to spoil Senior Night at a stunned Levien Gymnasium. In Ithaca, Yale”s victory over undermanned Cornell was the only ho-hum result of the night.

  • Tony Hicks is making a serious late push for Rookie of the Year. The award seemed completely wrapped up for Siyani Chambers a few weeks ago, but Hicks is averaging 23.8 ppg in his last four games, including 24 points in Saturday”s victory vs. Harvard. Hicks convincingly outplayed Chambers, who struggled to a 1-5 shooting, 7 turnover performance. Fellow freshman Darien Nelson-Henry was the other half of this superfrosh tandem, as the big man took advantage of Harvard”s size disadvantage, going for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright also pitched in with 12 a piece for the Quakers, who had one of the wildest

    up and down weekends imaginable, falling at home to Dartmouth before outplaying league-leading Harvard for the unconventional split.

  • The Crimson are undone by a southern road trip yet again. You have to wonder if the short seven-man rotation is catching up to Harvard, as they came out with a stinker of a first half after last night”s slugfest at Jadwin. Overall, Harvard”s offense had an acceptable night thanks to a second half 46 point explosion and solid three-point shooting from Rivard and Webster. It was Harvard”s defense that let them down. Penn entered the night as the league”s worst offense, but the Crimson apparently didn”t get the memo, allowing 53% shooting, including 6-7 from Henry Brooks and 8-13 from Darien Nelson-Henry, two guys big enough to exploit Harvard”s lack of size. Foul trouble for Moundou-Missi and Smith certainly didn”t help. Now, the Crimson must sweep the C”s at home and pray for a Princeton

    slip-up in their final three road games.

  • Dartmouth contained Ian Hummer at Jadwin, especially in the first half, but a strong night from Will Barrett and TJ Bray ensured that Princeton would enter the final weekend of the season controlling its own destiny as the Tigers beat the Big Green 68-63. Hummer had just 13 points and 6 rebounds, but Barrett picked up the slack, pouring in 24 points including five threes, and pulled down 8 rebounds. Bray added 21 points while going 4-5 from deep. Princeton struggled with the upstart Green more than the Tigers probably would”ve liked, but in this year”s very competitive league, I”m sure Mitch Henderson will take Ws any way he can get them. The Tigers now head to Yale and Brown, where a sweep next weekend would deliver them at least a share of the Ivy title.
  • Tyler Melville had a career high 23 points on 9-11 shooting in the losing effort, while Gabas Maldunas impressed with 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Big Green return home with a chance to move out of the Ivy basement for the first time since 2009 in the season”s final weekend.


  • Columbia and Brown played a hard fought game at Levien that saw the Bears fight back from an 11-point halftime deficit, the fourth such deficit they”ve faced in their last six games. Rafael Maia and Sean McGonagill were huge in helping Brown narrow that gap. Once it got close, Matt Sullivan, who reached the 1,000 point career mark in the game, made a few huge plays, including a one-man 5-0 run in the span of 11 seconds that tied the game with about nine minutes to play. From there, the teams stayed within one possession of one another for the next six minutes before a Sullivan layup made it 57-53 with 3:07 to go. A parade of free throws ensued in the final minutes, culminating in Rosenberg”s two freebies that tied the score at 58 with three seconds on the clock. Brown elected to inbound the ball quickly across the midcourt stripe and use a timeout with 1.1 seconds remaining. Martin subbed in Halpern and ran a decoy play that appeared to end with Halpern cutting to the rim. Instead, Halpern faded to the far wing, stepped back to create space, and released a pure jumper that found the bottom of the nylon as the buzzer sounded, resulting in a familiar hollowness for the Columbia faithful and frenzied jubilation from the Brown team and its fans.
  • Maia, though plagued by foul trouble, was dominant when on the floor. Early in the second half, the Brazilian big man combined with McGonagill to score 18 straight points for the Bears (9 each) to cut into the Lions” lead. Sullivan led the scoring with 17 points and also contributed 6 steals. A split next weekend against Princeton and Penn would deliver a .500 finish to Brown, a remarkable accomplishment for a team that few gave a chance in Mike Martin”s first season at the helm.
  • For Columbia, it was just the latest chapter of frustration and heartbreak. A team that had so much promise entering the Ivy campaign simply could not get it done in close games. Barbour will close out an excellent career next weekend on the northern road trip, and he was on point on Saturday, tallying 18 points and nabbing 5 steals. The Chairman, Maodo Lo, is a worthy successor, and the Columbia talent pool will not be running dry anytime soon. That said, Kyle Smith was distraught in the postgame presser, clearly feeling the pain of an unforgiving Ivy season. It will be a long offseason in Morningside Heights as Smith tries to figure out what went wrong.


  • Yale earned a split in Ithaca, sending a sputtering Cornell team to its fourth straight loss. The Bulldogs got out to a quick start early and never looked back, hanging on for a 79-70 win. They led by as many as 17 in the first half, but Cornell got as close as 4 with 6:29 to go before the Elis pushed it back out and coasted to victory. Matt Townsend, who is recently coming into form, led the way with 19 points on 7-10 shooting, while Brandon Sherrod just missed a double-double with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks off the bench. Austin Morgan added 15 for Yale, who can clinch a top half finish for the 13th straight year with one more win.
  • Undermanned Cornell played for the second straight night without its star, Shonn Miller, and without backcourt stalwarts Devin Cherry and Johnathan Gray. Errick Peck and Nolan Cressler led the Red in scoring with 19 each, but it wasn”t enough for Cornell, who finishes the Ivy slate with a 1-6 record at Newman. The Red took a whopping 70 shots on the night thanks to 19 offensive rebounds, but only converted on 37% of those attempts.

13 thoughts on “Sunday Thoughts”

  1. Bruno, did the AQ float the “Hicks is ROY” balloon? Have you been sneaking into into his medicine cabinet? While Hummer must be recognized as POY, Chambers is clearly in that discussion, and should be a unanimous first team All-Ivy choice. Amaker’s protests to the contrary notwithstanding, all those minutes and the back-to-backs have taken a toll on the diminutive freshman. Amaker gave him the responsibility to lead his team every night, all night. Hicks is a superb talent who disappeared for a lot of games. In his debut against the Tigers he was Penn’s best player, but we didn’t hear much about him after that until the last four games. I would not be at all surprised if Hicks becomes a superstar in this League, but he has not surpassed Diyani Chambers yet, and did not this season.

    • Chambers still will win POY [edit: I meant ROY] (as he should), but the huge gulf between him and the other freshmen has narrowed. Hicks is averaging 15.5 ppg in Ivy contests, while Chambers averages 13.3 ppg. He’s shot below 50% in seven straight games. Chambers is a better passer, but he’s struggled with turnover troubles at times. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that Hicks has disappeared for a lot of games either– he’s been in double figures for 8 of Penn’s 11 Ivy contests. At the end of the day, Chambers guided Harvard to many more wins and was tasked with huge responsibility, so he’s deserving of the honor, but Hicks has done a remarkable job carrying the load for a Penn team thin on talent.

  2. I hope you mean “ROY”, not “POY”!!! I agree with you that the gulf is narrowing. Sadly, Brase is the only freshman contributor for the Tigers, but he trails badly among the League’s burgeoning underclassmen. Hard for me to be fair when commenting on a Penn issue. It’s a history thing…..When I think about the future I see a lot of Hicks-driven sleepless nights.

    • This year’s rookies have been so good, they deserve an All-Rookie Team (which would STILL be tough to limit to 5). Chambers, Hicks, Lo, Sears, Brase, Kuakumensah, Maia, Cressler, Mullins, Mitola, Boehm…

      But yes, Kuakumensah would win DPOY if not for Shonn Miller, and Maia has been tremendous when he’s been able to stay out of foul trouble.

  3. C. River Banks, when you get a moment, would you please tighten up these numbers pulled from my Orange-colored imagination? Thanks.

    P (Prin def Yale) = .75
    P (Prin def Brown) = .80
    P (Prin def Penn) = .75
    P (Prin win out) = .45

    P (Harv def Columbia) = .90
    P (Harv def Cornell) = .95
    P (Harv win out) = .86

    P (playoff at 11-3) = .39
    P (playoff at 10-4) = .02
    P (Prin sole champion) = .50
    P (Harv sole champion) = .09

  4. Mr. Nassau,

    Based on your numbers, I get Princeton winning all 3 36 of 80 interations, finishing 2-1 33/80, 1-2 10/80 and 0-3 1/80.

    Hence, a playoff at 11-3 is 33/80*.86= roughly 35%, according to my numbers.

    Harvard as the sole champ means either the 11/80 scenario of a 2+ loss Princeton team times .86, which I get as roughly 0.117, not 0.09. (There is the minimal change of a 4 loss Harvard team beating a 5 loss Princeton team, but that seems negligible. Same with a tie at 5 losses)

    I see:
    P outright w 2 losses: 45%
    Playoff at 11-3: 35%
    Harvard sole: 12%
    Princeton winning with 3 losses: 6%
    10-4 playoff: 2%
    Others: <1%

    My apologies to Mr. Banks for stealing his assignment and to all my former math teachers out there for mixing fractions, decimals, and percents with no regard for consistency! Please review my rather hasty calculations.

    Good luck to the Tigers!


    • This is a good example of why one should never do math at 12:20 AM on, literally, the back of an envelope from the local community library. Also, setting one’s hand calculator at two digits seems to be a recipe for imprecision.

      Young Suffolk, you are of course exactly right. Thanks for pointing out that my math skills aren’t exactly getting better over time. ‘Cause they ain’t. Here are the new numbers, which comport with yours.

      P (playoff at 11-3) = .3527
      P (playoff at 10-4) = .0175
      P (playoff at 9-5) = .0001
      P (Prin sole champion) = .5104
      P (Harv sole champion) = .1193

      Obviously, the bigger problem is that, currently, this is all Garbage In Garbage Out because the inputs are my gut feelings which are almost certainly even less accurate than my math skills. I’ll leave it up to Mr. Banks to fix that part of the equation.

      Thanks for the kind wishes. I’ve got my lucky sweatshirt ready for the three-game road trip. We’ll need it, that’s for sure.

      • You’re very welcome. I’ll leave the actual projected probabilities to someone much smarter than myself and the various models I’m sure are out there. Your numbers seemed solid to me. Maybe a bit high for both favorites if anything but probably not far off.

        Just entered the bracket challenge- do you have IHO gear or only Ivy League school gear? I’d prefer an IHO shirt over a specific school.

        Happy final week of the season,


        • An IHO shirt is a pretty awesome idea. Maybe I’ll design one and make it an option for the winner! Thanks for that.

      • The most recent article on the site notes that Princeton is 75% to beat Brown. So your guess was pretty close. I guess the Orange-colored imagination gave them an extra 5% in your book, which seems appropriate. It should be fun to see how this final weekend goes down.

        Are any of the writers attending games this weekend?

        • Unfortunately no. If we are indeed headed towards a playoff next Sunday, I think several of us will be at the Palestra though.

  5. Hicks’ candidacy may not be all that far-fetched, although the ROY designation is Chambers’ to lose right now. If, however, Hicks continues on his roll in the final three games, which is what he must do for Penn to sweep, he can certainly thrust himself into consideration. Harvard will likely reach 11-3, which will exceed their preseason expectations after losing two senior co-captains due to “administrative incompetence.” Without Chambers Harvard might well have gone 8-6. He means that much.

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