ESPN thinks Yale’s Azar Swain and Noah Kirkwood have the inside track to the Ivy League Player of the Year award. But don’t expect Vince Curran and the Penn faithful to agree.
Feb. 26, 2016 was a long time ago – so long ago that no member of the Yale men’s basketball team was even enrolled at Yale.
When Denham Wojcik hit his first basket of the night to put Harvard up 11 with 6:50 remaining, the Crimson looked well on their way to beating Dartmouth and securing their second straight Ivy victory. Unfortunately, their travel partner got a second wind and cut the lead to one with the ball in Aaryn Rai’s hands for one last shot.
The addition of starting forward Kale Catchings to Harvard’s already sizeable frontcourt disabled list proved too much, as UMass defeated Harvard, 87-77, at the Mullins Center on Saturday afternoon.
Facing a Minutemen squad that lives and dies at the three point line, Tommy Amaker, whose Crimson (5-4) have been without the services of forwards Mason Forbes, Justice Ajogbor and Bennett Pitcher for the first part of the season, opted to use highly touted rookie wing Louis Lesmond in place of Catchings and go with a four-guard lineup.
The Harvard women and men hosted a pair of cross-town rivals on Saturday. Things didn’t look so great for the home teams early, but strong second-half performances gave both teams big wins and sent the crowd home happy.
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.
The NCAA’s new, long awaited policy of allowing players to use their name, image and likeness for commercial profit extends to the Ivy League, which says it has adjusted rules to allow players to take part in NIL activity.
Former Columbia Lions Tai Bibbs and Randy Brumant quickly signed a deal to advertise for GCDC, a Washington, D.C. grilled cheese bar, per Dafter having transferred from Morningside Heights to Howard to join former Columbia assistant coach Kenny Blakeney.
As Ivy League basketball emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, new opportunities abound for new and returning Ivy players, coaches and even windows:
Despite the uncertainty that has come with COVID-19, Ivy hoops figures are still making plenty of moves.
Dunphy steps up again
In case you missed it, Temple named former Penn coach Fran Dunphy acting athletic director effective July 1 last week, 15 months after his 30-year head coaching career ended at Temple, which opted to hand over the coaching reins to assistant Aaron McKie and have Dunphy step aside after the 2018-19 season. Dunphy will succeed Patrick Kraft, who will be departing Temple to become Boston College’s athletic director on July 1. (Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun was also reportedly under consideration for the BC job, per the Boston Herald.) Dunphy is not expected to be a candidate for the athletic director’s job, but that could change, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported that Temple hoped to have an athletic director named within 90 days.