Something had to give on Sunday afternoon at Rose Hill Gymnasium, with both Harvard and Fordham riding four-game winning streaks. Unfortunately for the Crimson, the Rams withstood a late second-half rally and emerged with the hard-fought 68-60 victory in the Bronx.
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.
From the notebook of IHO writer Richard Kent on the scene at Ivy Madness:
“As we battle in the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association), they’re always talking about “create this environment.” Any time I talk equity with anyone, they always say there’s more pressure on a man because the gyms are full, and the bands are playing. The opposite is true. It’s much easier to play in a (packed) venue like this. It’s very, very hard for women all over the country and play in empty gyms without bands, fighting their schools for support to get the bands there and to get the cheerleaders there. There’s been huge growth at Harvard, but there’s such a long way to go. It’s really wonderful for the athletes to play in this kind of venue and it’s fun to watch as well.” – soon-to-be retiring Harvard women’s coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, talking about the boisterous atmosphere during her team’s 72-67 loss to No. 1 seed Princeton
Some random thoughts after two great days at the 2022 Ivy League Tournament:
Princeton-Harvard matchups in the Tommy Amaker era are usually exciting, closely fought contests, often with title or tournament implications for both teams.
For tonight’s Senior Night celebration, fans were invited back to the arena to bid fond farewell to an amazing group of players who were adversely affected by the COVID-19-imposed restrictions on their college careers: Ethan Wright, Drew Friberg, Jaelin Llewellyn, Elijah Barnes, Max Johns and Charlie Bagin.
What promised to be a chaotic weekend for the Tigers got off to a troubling start when the head coach had to leave the team after a failed COVID-19 test.
Down 12-2, starting power forward Michael Moshkovitz off the court with two quick fouls and a boisterous sellout Lavietes Pavilion crowd on top of them, things looked bleak for the Penn men as they made it to their bench for the first media timeout in Friday night’s nationally televised game at Harvard.
Fortunately, Steve Donahue settled his team and the Quakers bounced back for an important 78-74 road victory that has the Red & Blue at 5-2 (8-12 overall) halfway through the Ivy League schedule.
Tommy Amaker’s Crimson, meanwhile, left the court with their third loss in five league contests (10-7 overall).
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.
Yale had an up, then down weekend.
it has James Jones and a system. Bingo on both.