Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 6: Ivy League Awards

It was a light week of Ivy action and thus a relatively uncompetitive race for the weekly honors.

Princeton's Kareem Maddox grabbed his second player of the week honor in a row with a dominant 23-point performance at Wagner.

Dartmouth's Gediminas Bertasius took home the rookie of the week honor despite having a terrible week (2-for-9 shooting, 2-for-3 from the line). He added 3.5 rebounds and a block per game. Needless to say, there wasn't much from which to choose from amongst the Ivies' rookies.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 7 Powerpoll: Stocking Stuffer Edition

It's Christmas time, so it's time to dole out our metaphorical stockings to each of the eight Ivy teams.

Competition can be fierce in the No. 11 RPI league in the country, especially with a relatively indistinguishable clump around the middle, but we've done our best to separate the good little teams from the bad ones.

Now, on to this week's powerpoll:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Secret to Yale's Success

When it was just three of five starters gone from last year's squad, it was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Throw in a fourth just before this season started, and it looked like Yale would struggle to avoid disaster.

One month later, it's clear the only struggle the Bulldogs might face will be hanging in Ivy title race.

How did Yale manage to fly so far under the radar and are the Bulldogs truly for real? The answers to both questions are a tad complex, but they both start with the same point: efficiency.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Has The Youth Movement Stalled?

For those wondering how the Ivy League could have possibly risen so quickly into lofty rankings territory as a conference, look no further than the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes.

The top eight Ivy League players in points produced per game are all juniors or sophomores and 14 out of the top 20 are as well. Most pre-season All-Ivy projections had a first-team comprised solely of 2nd and 3rd year players.

The senior class has some strong talent (Dan Mavraides, Peter Sullivan, Jack Eggleston and Kareem Maddox come to mind), but the strength of the league is in those '08 and '09 classes.

This year's freshmen, however, haven't burst onto the scene like those prior two groups.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week 5: Ivy League Awards

Columbia guard Noruwa Agho and Princeton forward Kareem Maddox shared Player of the Week honors in leading their respective teams to 2-0 records. 

Agho struggled a bit in the Lions' six-point win over Wagner, turning the ball over six times and scoring just 11 points on 50 percent shooting, but responded with a monster game in a four-point win over Bryant. Agho posted an eFG shooting percent over 100 en route to 20 points and added seven rebounds, six assists and a steal.

Much like Agho, Maddox struggled earlier in the week, shooting just 4-for-10 in a three-point win at Monmouth. He turned around with a spellbinding 31-point, six-rebound performance at Tulsa that helped push Princeton to a big road victory.

Columbia guard Steve Frankoski took home his first Rookie of the Week award on the strength of two double-digit scoring performances. He shot well against Wagner, but poorly against Bryant, still managing to post a 7-for-15 mark from three for the week.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week 6 Powerpoll: Exam Break Edition

The winter exam break is upon us (well, most of us, sorry Princeton). Only seven games are on the league slate between December 12th and 20th, as most students prepare for their finals.

With almost two-thirds of the non-conference slate behind us, the Ivies still sit in 12th place in the RPI and only slightly behind (15th and 16th) in the Sagarin and Pomeroy Ratings. The overall quality of the league has made positioning inside the conference incredibly tough to maintain. Unlike some years, teams are only really advancing in the powerpoll on the strength of quality performances, not by the field falling back to them.

Who's rising and who's falling this week? Let's see in a "final exam" version of the powerpoll.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Race For An Historic RPI

If you looked for the Ivy League where you normally do, you're going to come up empty.

An almost permanent resident in the 20s for years, the Ivies have jumped out of the gate this season, rising to 12th in the RPI (as well as 15th in the Sagarin Ratings and 16th in the Pomeroy Ratings).

The league's RPI record in the modern era was No. 13 in 2001-2002, when the top five finishers in the league posted above .500 records and two teams (Penn and Yale) won 20 games. Even last year, when three Ivy teams won 20 games, the league's final RPI was 21st, primarily due to the lack of depth beyond those top three.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 4: Ivy League Awards

Princeton forward Ian Hummer filled up the stat sheet at Lafayette and then followed it up with a strong performance against St. Joseph's. Hummer shot 75 percent on the week and averaged seven rebounds and 3.5 assists over the two games.

Harvard swingman Laurent Rivard went 10-from-17 three and scored 18 points per game against Fordham and Michigan this week to snag Rookie of the Week honors. After starting the season 0-for-11 from the field, Rivard has posted 60 percent eFG shooting as has contributed on the glass as well.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ivy League Title Chase: By The Numbers

You may have noticed by now that a section of this site is dedicated to the projection of Ivy League games and the expected final league standings based on simulations of future outcomes.

The means for arriving at the predictions are the same ones used by Ken Pomeroy (the basis for which is a fantastic book by Dean Oliver - Basketball on Paper). If you have an deeper interest in how efficiency ratings are calculated and how, in the aggregate, they can be incredibly useful in predicting game outcomes, I would highly recommend purchasing Oliver's book, as I won't be getting into the mechanics in this piece.

At the end of this piece, I've posted the results of the simulations for Ivy League wins and Ivy finish for each of the league's eight teams based on their performance thus far this season.

Week 5 Powerpoll

Another week, another great finish for the Ivy League.

All six Ivy teams in action on Saturday either met or outperformed expectations, pushing the league into the teens in every ranking system (16th in Pomeroy and Sagarin and 13th in RPI). Removing the six upcoming non-D-I games, we're over halfway through the non-conference schedule, with the league tracking toward its best finish in the ratings systems in recent history.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Analysis: The Up-Tempo Ivy League?

The new world of tempo-free basketball statistics has opened the more nuanced fan's eyes to the sneaky importance of a previously unquantified figure known as pace.

The concept is nothing new. For instance, Princeton has played at varying levels of a snail's pace for years now, while most people know that Virginia Military Institute has led the nation in pace over the past five years, running up and down the floor to such an extreme that one might think points are scored by crossing half court, not putting the ball in the basket.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Live Video Tonight

Columbia at Bucknell will be shown live for free at the following link. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Harvard hosts Fordham tonight with live pay-per-view video available through the Harvard Athletics site. No video options have been posted for Dartmouth at Vermont.