COVID’s first hit on the Ivy schedule: Princeton at Harvard men’s game postponed

Before the ball dropped in Times Square to end the challenging year of 2021, the 2022 Ivy League schedule took its first hit from COVID-19 with the announced postponement of Sunday’s Princeton-Harvard men’s basketball game.

Late Friday afternoon, Harvard Athletics put out a statement that the league opener at Lavietes Pavilion could not take place due to “COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols within the Harvard men’s basketball program.”  This same reason caused the Crimson to cancel Wednesday’s game at No. 6 Kansas.

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Ivy Hoops Online’s holiday wishes for 2022 Ivy basketball season

This holiday season, Ivy Hoops Online contributors weigh in on what their holiday wishes are for the 2022 Ivy League basketball campaign. Coming off a season that wasn’t, hopes for a safe, full slate of games come first, but our contributors’ wish list is much longer than that. Happy holidays and warm wishes to all!

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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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Ivy Hoops Online preseason polls tab Princeton, Yale as women’s and men’s favorites

The Ivy League men’s and women’s preseason media polls amounted to a shrug with Yale emerging on top and a vote of confidence for Princeton, respectively.

So did polls of Ivy Hoops Online’s contributors.

Our contributors unanimously pegged Princeton to finish atop the Ancient Eight on the women’s side, but we were less sure on who would win the Ivy League championship on the men’s side. Penn edged out Columbia by a single point to take second place in our projected women’s standings, while Yale slipped past Harvard by one point to take fourth place, a finish that would knock Harvard out .

Yale received five first-place votes, while Harvard nabbed two and Penn one. While none of our contributors picked Princeton to win the league, three projected the Tigers will place second in the conference standings. We predicted the same order of finish as the men’s and women’s polls. So there’s consensus even amid all the unknowns that the 2020-21 season that wasn’t left the Ivy hoops landscape.

For a preview of what that landscape looks like heading into the first Ivy hoops action in 20 months coming up this week, check out our roundups of the men’s and women’s media days.

Ivy Hoops Online Preseason Polls:

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Will Venable: From Princeton-Penn to Red Sox-Yankees

Will Venable surveys the Cameron Indoor Stadium floor during Princeton’s battle versus Duke on Jan. 5, 2005. | Photo by Beverly Schaefer

Editor’s note: Ivy Hoops Online contributor Erica Denhoff caught up with former Princeton hoops great Will Venable, who just finished his first season as Boston Red Sox bench coach and reflected on a remarkable two-sport career and Ivy League basketball’s place in it.  

Will Venable, Princeton ‘05, shines brightest on the biggest stages.

Against JJ Redick-led No. 5 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 5, 2005, Venable, a senior guard, played 39 minutes and put on an offensive skills clinic. He scored 21 points, dished out three assists and collected four rebounds in a 59-46 loss for the Tigers. Venable’s athletic defensive play came to the fore as he stole the ball three times from the Blue Devils.

“Venable was terrific tonight,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ” … He is a heck of a competitor, in the Ivy League or any league.”

“As we go into our league play, I know that Will Venable is going to give me that 100 percent effort for 40 minutes every single night,” then-Princeton coach Joe Scott said.

Almost one month to the day later, Venable demonstrated both coaches described him accurately.

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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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Q&A with Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube

Carla Berube is looking forward to finally finishing a full season at Princeton’s helm. (Princeton Athletics)

Editor’s note: Our George Clark (Toothless Tiger) recently caught up with Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube, who reflected on the “tough pill to swallow” of her debut 26-1 2019-20 campaign with the Tigers cut short by COVID-19, how her program got through the 2020-21 season that wasn’t, the blow of again losing Kira Emsbo to injury, the new Ivy schedule format and much more: