As we enter the July 4th holiday weekend, we at Ivy Hoops Online wanted to round up some postseason updates:
Only five points separated the top three teams in the Ivy League Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll, and our final tabulation was even tighter. Just three points separated the team atop IHO contributors’ preseason poll.
Yale gets the slight nod here, with our contributors trusting James Jones to lead the Bulldogs to their fifth Ivy League title in an eight-season span in a bid to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight time. Penn, the Ivy League preseason poll’s top team above Princeton by a single point, also finished a single point above Princeton in our standings. Our contributors saw potential for success in a roster that returns most of the key players from last year’s squad that placed third in the Ivy standings. We’ve got Princeton pegged to finish third, aided in their quest to repeat as Ivy League champions by returning 2021-22 Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan but losing significant backcourt production from last year’s conference title team.
Harvard was the clear No. 4 finisher in our poll, a showing that would improve upon the disappointing sixth-place result that locked the Crimson out of the Ivy League Tournament on its home floor last season. We have Cornell ranked slightly ahead of Brown as the Big Red look to build on last season’s overachieving Ivy League Tournament berth and the Bears look to bounce back from an underachieving sixth-place finish (tied with Harvard) a season ago. Columbia and Dartmouth tied in our voting tally at the bottom of the standings as both programs look to secure their first Ivy League Tournament appearances.
Yale men’s basketball will have to compete this season without a very valuable cog.
Senior guard Matthue Cotton suffered a shoulder injury last season, had it operated on and it hasn’t healed sufficiently. Cotton likely would have started at the wing.
For only the second time in the 23-year tenure of James Jones as Yale’s head basketball coach, the Elis are adding a transfer student. Casey Simmons, a 6-6 swing from Milton, Mass., will join the Elis for the 2023-24 season. (Dominick Martin in 2002 marked the first such occurrence.)
As a senior at Milton Academy, Simmons was rated as the No. 1 prospect in Massachusetts and the No. 92 player in the country by 247Sports.
Yale recruited him out of high school, but he chose Northwestern over Yale, Penn, Boston College, Georgetown, Miami and Penn State.
That was evident in Milwaukee today at Fiserv Forum, where Purdue throttled a game but undermanned Yale team, 78-56, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday.
The game was reminiscent of Yale’s 80-44 loss at a much bigger Seton Hall in November. Purdue outrebounded the Bulldogs, 42-33, and at one point had a 23-1 advantage in free throw attempts.
Remember the name Matt Knowling.
It was just a day at the office for Yale Tuesday night at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The Bulldogs started strong, grabbed a 30-19 lead over Albany at intermission and never looked back en route to a 71-52 win.
Yale (6-5) led at one point by 56-31. Albany (1-7) did go on a 13-0 run to narrow the deficit a bit.
Even with the easy win, coach James Jones found ample room for improvement.
”I didn’t think we were very sharp,” the Albany alumnus said.
Yale fell behind No. 21 Auburn 11-0 on the road Saturday.
The game wasn’t even that close at the time, with the Tigers blocking six Yale shots during the run.
Bruce Pearl’s squad secured the win with relative ease, 86-64.
Yale coach James Jones adjusted his defense after the early Auburn surge. The Bulldogs (5-5) went on their own run and started to dictate the tempo of the game.
But the War Eagle relentless pressure and superior athleticism was too much for the smaller Elis, and Auburn (7-1) took a 47-30 lead into the half. It was the most first-half points notched by the Tigers this season.
The second half brought much of the same.
Sophomore guard K.D. Johnson led the Tigers with 19 points and freshman forward Jabari Smith posted 17 points and eight rebounds.
Junior guard Matt Cotton pitched in 14 points for Yale, while and junior forward EJ Jarvis had arguably his best game of the season, contributing nine points and eight boards in just 19 minutes in a reserve role.
The Elis are next in action Tuesday at 7 p.m. at John J. Lee Amphitheater against Albany, Jones’ alma mater.
A 22-point first-half deficit was too much for Yale to overcome Sunday as the Bulldogs fell at home to Stony Brook, 85-81.
It snapped a 10-game home winning streak for Yale (4-4) which goes back to December 2019 and a home loss to Monmouth.
The Seawolves (2-3) shot 53.7% from the field against a usually tough and reliable Yale defense.
“We were really poor defensively,” Yale coach James Jones said.