Ivy League must shake up conference scheduling to attract student support, reduce competitive imbalance

Members of a Brown Athletics-reported crowd of 525 watched as Brown men’s basketball took on Yale at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Jan. 17, 2022, nine days before Brown’s second-semester classes began. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

This Ivy League men’s basketball season, Brown men’s basketball will open its conference season against Penn.

Brown and the Red & Blue have formed a bit of a rivalry in recent years, facing off in key battles in the last three seasons vying for a berth in the Ivy League Tournament.

Brown has come up just a bit short in these moments and is yet to win an Ivy tourney bid. The Penn Band adds a raucous element on the road.

But here’s a group who won’t be in Providence for the matchup: the vast majority of Brown students.

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The peculiar case of the Brown Bears

Tyrese Martin missed a free throw, Zach Hunsaker grabbed the defensive rebound and the Brown Bears dribbled it out. It was over. Brown had picked up a win over the 8-3 Rhode Island Rams of the Atlantic 10, who had only one previous loss against a nonranked team and none against a non-power five team. Brown had capped its Division I nonconference schedule with arguably its most impressive win of the season. The Bears had gotten contributions from both their star upperclassmen and their budding underclassmen.

The only nagging feeling came from this question: Why hadn’t they been playing like this all year?

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Brown’s men’s basketball’s future is less clear than expected, but there’s still reason for optimism

Mar. 20, 2019: a sparse but committed crowd enters the Pizzitola Sports Center as Brown men’s basketball hosts a playoff game, its first in five years. Hosting the UAB Blazers, the event is part of the College Basketball Invitational, a minor national tournament. The event is meant to mark the end of a historic season for Brown. Though it ended in disappointment, the regular season yielded 19 wins, tied a program record, so the event should be fun and happy.

But the atmosphere is muted because the situation is more complicated than that.

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