Inside Ivy Hoops – Mar. 15, 2018

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner recap a wild and crazy 2017-18 reflect back on this season’s Ivy League Tournament and look ahead to next season’s tourney, with Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling and Ivy League Associate Executive Director for Strategic Communications and External Relations Matt Panto.

Jill recounts her Ivy League Tournament experience, and she and Brett weigh in on where the tournament should and could be held in the future, also recapping the highlights of the men’s and women’s league tourneys and why the Penn men still won even while losing as a No. 16 seed to No. 1 Kansas. Jill also explains why she thinks the Princeton women have the edge in their NCAA Tournament matchup with Maryland, the keys to the Tigers toppling the Terrapins, and whether she thinks the Ivy tourney will be back at the Palestra next season:

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No. 16 Penn outlasted by No. 1 Kansas, 76-60

Penn didn’t pull off the historic upset, but it turned in a memorable performance nevertheless.

No. 16 Penn led big in the first half and stayed within striking distance of No. 1 Kansas for around 34 minutes, but the Jayhawks pulled away late to score a 76-60 victory over Penn at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita.

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No. 16 Penn vs. No. 1 Kansas: Keys to making history

My range of emotions on Sunday swung from unadulterated joy as I rushed the Palestra floor to celebrate Penn’s 68-65 win over Harvard to mouth-agape shock as I stood in the back of Houston Hall at Penn’s selection show watch party and saw the Quakers on the 16 line against Kansas.

As fellow IHO contributor Steven Tydings and I rode the bus home to New York, I started to think of a plan for the Quakers to do the impossible and topple a No. 1 seed for the first time in men’s NCAA Tournament history.

The basic points of that plan, some of which you’ve probably already heard, are below:

Penn will win if …

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No. 16 Penn to face No. 1 Kansas in NCAA Tournament

After winning the Ivy League Tournament Sunday and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, Penn got assigned a No. 16 seed by the NCAA Selection Committee and a matchup with No. 1 Kansas at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita Thursday at 2 p.m. on TBS.

It’s the first No. 16 seed for an Ivy League men’s team since 1989, when No. 16 Princeton pushed No. 1 Georgetown to the brink but not past it in a 50-49 loss to the Hoyas hailed as “The Game That Saved March Madness” in a memorable Sports Illustrated feature by Princeton alumni Sean Gregory and Alexander Wolff titled as such. 1989 is also the last year that a fourth different Ivy squad in as many years got to the NCAA Tournament, when Princeton made it after Cornell (1988), Penn (1987) and Brown (1986).

Penn is the highest-ranked No. 16 seed by KenPom in the past six seasons, per Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star.

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Exam Break Outlook: Harvard’s stock rising

With the Ivy season under a month away, the Crimson’s performance has been all over the map. At times, they show signs that this is just a rebuilding year, while at other times, they show great promise for current-year success. Regardless, coming off three consecutive well-played games, Harvard is indisputably a team that has improved significantly since the start of the season.

In my last article, I stated that Harvard’s success would be largely dependent on the success and maturation of freshman point guard Tommy McCarthy. Here’s some evidence that McCarthy has been key in Harvard’s recent streak of good games. In McCarthy’s first three Division I games, all games in which Harvard underachieved, McCarthy shot an abysmal 18 percent from the floor (6-for-34) and had 14 turnovers and only eight assists (.57 assist/turnover ratio). In his last three games, which have included a win over Boston University, a close loss at Northeastern, and a six-point loss at No. 4 Kansas, McCarthy has shot 40 percent from the floor (including 42 percent from beyond the arc) and posted 19 assists to eight turnovers (2.4 assist/turnover ratio).

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