Ninety-five years after Penn opened up the Palestra with a win over Yale, this edition of the Red & Blue sought another reset Saturday against the team pegged to win the Ivy title in the conference preseason media poll.
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.
Back on the Jazz
Miye Oni returned to the Utah Jazz official 17-man roster for the Jazz’s NBA season reopening win over the New Orleans Pelicans in Orlando on TNT Thursday evening, the NBA’s first action since March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oni did not play but did join the other players in kneeling for the national anthem. Oni wore Power to the People on the back of his jersey, as all of his teammates opted to replace their last names on their jerseys with a message of social justice.
Oni briefly got playing time toward the end of the Jazz’s second game Saturday, a 110-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando. In his sixth NBA game, Oni pitched in three points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in just under six minutes of action.
Dartmouth men announce Class of 2024
Dartmouth men’s basketball recently announced its Class of 2024 on Twitter:
This has been a week of tumultuous developments in the Ivy League, most of them sad and disappointing.
But there has been some good news from the league as well. Players of the Year have been announced: Paul Atkinson from Yale and AJ Brodeur from Penn on the men’s side, and the incomparable Bella Alarie from Princeton, for the third year in a row, on the women’s.
Alarie is the only Princeton player to have won the POY award three times and to be named a first-team All-Ivy player in all four years of her college career. She has been more than a once-in-a-generation player. She has achieved once-in-a-lifetime status.
Things have not calmed down after Tuesday afternoon’s bombshell announcement from the Ivy League and its eight presidents that this weekend’s Ivy League Tournaments were canceled, making the league the first conference to cancel tournament play.
The conference likes to refer to its tournament as Ivy Madness. To paraphrase Harvard senior Seth Towns, the 2018 Player of the Year, it’s more like Ivy Mayhem.
Years ago, back in the black and white, pre-digital ether, I attended my first Penn basketball game on a chilly, late fall evening. The Cathedral, an edifice I didn’t even know existed until I was nestled wide-eyed within its cavernous nave, was steamy and the burgeoning Big 5 crowd, restless, loud and profane. In my hand was a game program with Penn’s All Time Leaders featured prominently across its center portion.
Naturally, my eyes drifted to the sexiest stat of all: all-time scoring leader. It was Ernie Beck, 1951-1953, 1,827 points. “Ernie Beck.” That name sounded old. It conjured up mental images of the colorless, antediluvian days of a two-handed set shot sailing through the air before orderly rows of spectators wearing suits and ties. As my attention quickly returned to the spectacle before me, I recall thinking, “That record may never be broken.” I was right — until now.
AJ Brodeur will most likely be remembered for finally eclipsing this lofty personal milestone for a school with a long and proud basketball tradition, but what he really did over his four years wearing the Red & Blue was something much greater — he saved the program.
Penn senior forward AJ Brodeur set three program records in his final game at the Palestra as the Quakers easily dispatched Columbia, 85-65, on a historic night at the Palestra to earn the No. 4 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
The Red & Blue (16-11, 8-6 Ivy) nabbed their fourth straight Ivy League Tournament berth, knocking Brown (also 8-6 in Ivy play) on the strength of a Brodeur triple-double: 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Penn split the season series with Brown but held the second tiebreaker, a better record against league top seed Yale.
Brodeur’s triple-double was the first in program history, a feat that followed two more records from the Northborough, Mass. native.
With the game well in hand in the second half, the focus became whether Brodeur would pass Ernie Beck ’53 to become the all-time leading scorer.
After four months and 26 games, Penn’s chance at making its fourth straight Ivy Madness appearance now comes down to one final contest.
Following a closely matched 24 minutes, the Quakers used a 12-4 run, punctuated by back-to-back threes from Ryan Betley and Jordan Dingle, to create separation from Cornell and cruise to a 78-64 victory on Friday night.
Another wild night on the roller coaster that is Penn men’s basketball, so what else is new?
One night after losing a 10-point lead lead over the last 98 seconds at Yale, the Red & Blue faced a similar situation up nine at the 2:39 mark in a win-or-go home showdown against Brown. On this night, the Quakers would hold the line and defeat Brown, 73-68, to get back in the battle for the No. 4 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.