The Penn men went wire to wire for a 71-63 win over Old Dominion to close out the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Sunday afternoon. While the Quakers’ record over the four-day tournament in Conway, S.C. was 1-2 and they finished the eight-team tournament in seventh place, the Red & Blue jumped from a KenPom ranking of 210 to a season-best 196.
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:
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.
As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
Now’s the time of year that an Ivy League hoops slate would be revving up, and since there’s no Ivy hoops action to come this spring, here’s an IHO contributors’ roundtable pondering what might have happened in the 2020-21 Ivy season on the men’s and or women’s sides if there had been one instead of an exodus of much of the league’s top talent via the transfer portal. Behold the one-year Ivy hoops universes we created:
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.
Senior guards Brandon Anderson and Zach Hunsaker combined for 51 points, including 39 in the second half, to lead Brown over Penn, 75-63, at the Palestra on Friday night.
Despite playing without All-Ivy wing Ryan Betley, who is weekend-to-weekend with a sprained left ankle, the Quakers (12-8, 4-3 Ivy) ran out to an 21-10 lead over the first 10:30 of the contest. The Red & Blue maintained an 11 point advantage, following a Max Martz layup with a minute to go, but a Hunsaker three and Anderson layup cut the Penn lead to 35-29 at the half.
The Bears (12-8, 5-2) came out of the locker room a different team.