Layoff, Shmayoff: A solid start for Ivy League hoops

Announcers and writers around the nation focused a lot of attention to the 600-plus days between games for the Ivy League.  While many expected the teams to be a bit rusty out of the gates, the Ancient Eight acquitted itself quite well in the season’s first week.

Thirteen of the league’s 16 teams had at least one win, with the Princeton and Columbia women notching three victories each.  The Brown men almost upset No. 19 UNC without their top player, and the Princeton men just missed out on winning the Asheville Championship.

Check out some of the highlights from a very successful and welcome week of Ivy hoops:

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Brown impresses but falls just short at No. 19 UNC

Playing in front of a raucous but often times stunned crowd at the Dean Smith Center, Brown almost pulled off the biggest shocker of the young NCAA season against No. 19 UNC. 

Mike Martin’s squad went toe-to-toe against Hubert Davis’ Tar Heels but ultimately could not overcome injuries, foul trouble and the late-game heroics of RJ Davis.  Despite huge nights from Dan Friday and first-year Nana Owusu-Anane, the Bears fell, 94-87.

Things did not look good for the Bears (1-1) as they arrived for their first game against a Division I opponent in 616 days. The team’s leader and 2020 second team All-Ivy forward Tamenang Choh was sitting on the bench in street clothes. Choh has a hip injury and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday, according to ACC Network analyst and Columbia hoops alum Dalen Cuff.  With Choh out and 2020 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylan Gainey still not at 100% following a preseason injury and a bout with mononucleosis, Bruno would need others to step up if they had any hope of tackling the Tar Heels (2-0).

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Brown men dominate Salve Regina by 30 on opening night

With the deepest and most talented roster in his ten years in charge at Brown, expectations are high for Mike Martin’s team as they opened the season against Division III Salve Regina on Tuesday night.  The Bears did not disappoint, as they ran past their in-state rivals, 89-59.

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Young rosters hamper the Ivy’s newest coaches in their debuts

While Tuesday night was the return to action for most of the Ancient Eight in 20 months, it was the debut for the league’s two newest coaches.  Brown’s Monique LeBlanc was hired after the end of the 2019-20 campaign, but the pandemic kept her off the court for an additional year. Dartmouth’s Adrienne Shibles, meanwhile, came to Hanover in May.

With few returning veterans players on either roster, both coaches face major rebuilding efforts and their teams were picked in the last two spots in the recent preseason poll.

Dartmouth welcomed Rhode Island, the No. 2 rated team in the A-10, while Brown traveled down I-95 to take on Fairfield, picked for third in the MAAC.

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Ivy League men’s basketball Media Day roundup

Two days after the Media Day for Ivy women’s hoops, the men had their turn at the virtual podium.  A day prior, the results of the preseason poll were released.  While five different teams earned top votes, the overall totals showed no changes from the last day of competition in 2020.

Yale, two-time defending Ivy champion, was again picked to come in first with 115 points and seven first-place votes.  Harvard, the 2019 co-champion, was close behind, tallying 110 points and four first-place votes.  Princeton, the 2017 title winner, closed out the top tier with 108 points and two first-place votes.

Penn, the 2018 co-champion, secured the last slot in the upper division with 93 points and two first-place selections.  Brown, which last held the title in 1986, again found itself behind the Quakers for fifth place with 79 points and a pair of title votes.

Dartmouth, which last entered the winner’s circle in 1959, was tabbed in the six slot with 43 points, four points more than Cornell, which last held the top spot in the Sweet Sixteen season of 2010.  Columbia, the 1968 champion, was projected to finish last with 25 points.

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Ivy League women’s basketball Media Day roundup

One day after releasing the conference’s preseason poll, the Ivy League moved one step closer to normal by hosting the 2021-22 Media Day for women’s basketball Tuesday.  For the first time, the league used a Zoom format to create a stronger connection between the coaches, players and the media.

In Monday’s poll, three-time defending champion Princeton was again picked as the top team with 122 total points and 12 first-place votes.  Penn, the 2019 co-champion, was selected No. 2 with three first-place votes and 108 points. The next three teams were close, with only six points separating Columbia, Yale and Harvard.

The Lions, which earned their first Ivy League Tournament berth in 2020 before the tourney was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moved up to third with 87 points. The Bulldogs, a third-place team in 2020, dropped to fourth at 82 points.  The Crimson, which finished fifth in 2020, received one first-place vote but missed the upper division by one point.

Cornell, the 2020 seventh-place squad, moved up to sixth for 2022 with 41 points.  Dartmouth and Brown, two teams with new coaching staffs, ended up with the last two spots, with the Big Green’s 29 points two ahead of the Bears.

Tuesday’s Media Day revealed the four tiers apparent in the preseason poll. But there could be a slight reordering near the top.

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Ivy League 2021-22 season preview: Buy, hold and sell edition

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ were looking up at the end of last week, but more importantly, it’s a good time to be bullish about Ivy League basketball. There’s going to be an actual Ivy hoops season this year, and we’re here to herald its return together. Here’s how Ivy Hoops Online contributors feel about some of the storylines within that greater, happy story as the 2021-22 campaign approaches.

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Ivy hoops roundup – Hard roads, new hardwood and a Hamburger

The Ivy League conference schedules were released last month, but official releases of the Ivies’ nonconference slates have been trickling in and reveal that after the season that wasn’t, the Ancient Eight aren’t shying away from trekking throughout the country for out-of-conference competition. Meanwhile, the coaching carousel continues:

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Yes, Virginia, there really are Ivy League schedules!

As COVID-19 numbers increase from early summer lows and masking recommendations return for the start of another pandemic academic calendar, the Ivy League gave fans a bit of positive news on Thursday with the release of the 2022 conference schedule.  After skipping the entire 2020-21 season due to safety concerns, the Ancient Eight curtain is set to rise on January 2 with eight games – a mere 666 days after the last league games on March 7, 2020.

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What will NCAA NIL policy impact be on Ivy League and its athletes?

The NCAA on July 1 enacted an interim policy allowing college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness (NIL) for the first time with the following guidance:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

The Ivy League has noted that it has adjusted rules to allow athletes to engage in NIL activity.

But what will the impact of the NCAA’s new NIL policy be on Ivy hoops athletes and the Ivy League itself? Ivy Hoops Online writers weigh in:

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