Tuesday, November 30, 2010

14-Game Tournament: What If The 14-Game Tournament Was A Prelude?

Ivy basketball aficionados already know this, and if you watch enough conference tournament week action, you've probably been made aware of this on more than one occasion.

The Ivy League does not hand its automatic bid to the Big Dance to the survivor of a three-day knockout tourney. In fact, it doesn't even hold a conference tournament at all. Rather, the league's representative to NCAAs is decided during the January-to-March round robin schedule with the champion taking home the automatic bid.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 3: Ivy League Weekly Awards

Harvard forward Keith Wright took home his second Ivy League Player of the Week award after averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds in games against Bryant and Colorado. Wright posted a 74 eFG shooting percentage and shot 75 percent from the line for the week.

Penn guard Miles Cartwright nabbed Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season, averaging 15 points in two games, including 22 against No. 5 Pittsburgh.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 4 Powerpoll

It started out as a rough week for the league, but the anchor leg on Sunday make a very strong comeback. After spending most of the first two weeks with a conference ranking in the teens, a bunch of average to mediocre performances dropped the league back into the 20s. Then, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia swept games against BCS and solid mid-major opposition to provide a much needed boost for the league.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Free Video Today

Cornell at Boston University (5 p.m.) is available on channelsurfing.net. Penn at No. 5 Pitt will be available on ESPN3.com at 7 p.m.

Live video for each of the other three games today (Brown at UNH, 1 p.m.; Army at Yale, 2 p.m.; Colgate at Dartmouth 2 p.m.) is available on a pay-per-view basis.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Overachiever, Underachiever: Comparing Ivy Teams To Initial Projections

At the beginning of the season, the 14-Game Tournament released its preseason projections for each Ivy team's offensive and defensive efficiency, and with at least four games per team in the books, it's time to take a look back and see how each league team stacks up against their projections.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Notebook: Tiger Trouble

It's hard to be faced with the fact that Princeton scored its first field goal of the second half at the 10:01 mark and still say with a straight face that it was the Tigers defense that let them down.

It is, however, the sad truth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 3 Powerpoll

It was a rough weekend for the league and with a few BCS teams on the docket over the Thanksgiving holiday, this probably won't be the week to put a dent in that four-game below .500 record.

Let's see where each of the Ivies stack up as we head toward the second month of the college basketball season.

Sunday Notebook: Dartmouth Surprises, Harvard Hangs On

What is it about Hartford that brings out the best in Dartmouth?

After losing its first four games last season by at least 16 points, the Big Green led almost wire-to-wire en route to a double-digit victory. Fast-forward to this season: Dartmouth gets blown out at Providence and squanders a huge second-half lead against UNH. Then, out of nowhere, the Big Green jumps out to a 15-point lead in the first half and Jabari Trotter has a performance reminiscent of the Alex Barnett years.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ivy League Win Projections Page

It will be updated throughout the season. Also to come, an Ivy League Player Rating page.


Friday Notebook: Yale Takes Down BC, Powerpoll

If the Bulldogs had merely downed BC in a vacuum, that would be one thing.

In its first game of the season, shortly after captain and star forward Michael Sands left the team for personal reasons, Yale fell behind 67-47 to decent mid-major Quinnipiac with eight minutes to go. Over the next 88 minutes, the Bulldogs posted a +16 point differential against the Bobcats and two full games against Providence and Boston College. In that context, Yale's victory becomes even more bizarre. How is this Bulldogs team, which lost its best player just a couple weeks ago, hanging with power conference teams for sustained periods of time?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick Thoughts From Wednesday's Games

Jack Eggleston buried his fourth three of the night out of the under eight media timeout to give the Quakers a 54-42 lead, and Penn was well on its way to its second victory in as many tries.

Then things went horribly wrong.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quick Thoughts On Monday's Games

Even without Michael Sands, Yale nearly brought the Ivy League to 2-0 against the Big East.

The Bulldogs held Providence to its worst offensive performance since the 2008-2009 season, as the Friars managed just 58 points on 70 possessions. Yale could only muster 55, however, as it made its final field goal with 2:47 to go to take a 54-53 lead, but only managed one free throw the rest of the way in the 58-55 defeat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ivy Player of the Week

The Ivy League Office announced its Player and Rookie of the Week.

Keith Wright (PF, HAR) took home Player of the Week honors, after his 22-point, 16-rebound performance against George Mason on Saturday.

Miles Cartwright (G, PENN) scored 18 points, all in the first half, to help the Quakers edge Davidson on Saturday night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14-Game Tournament Powerpoll: Post Opening Weekend

With action on the floor finally available to be discussed, it's time for a new 14-Game Tournament Powerpoll. Once again, keep in mind that the Powerpoll ranks the teams as they currently stand and is not a future prediction.

Sunday Notebook: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

It's been all of one game, but the evidence for the Quakers turnaround story is already building.

Behind 18 points from freshman Miles Cartwright - all in the first half - and a double-double from Jack Eggleston, Penn avenged last year's 79-50 loss at Davidson with a 69-64 victory at The Palestra.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Harvard-George Mason Web Feed

Harvard travels to the Patriot Center to take on George Mason at 4 p.m. today. A free web feed is available for the game here.

As of yet, none of the other three league games have free web feeds posted, but Dartmouth-Providence is expected to be up prior to the 7 p.m. tip.

Saturday Notebook: Ivies Jump Out To Hot Start

It's rare that an Ivy team finds itself in a must-win situation against a BCS school, but that's where Princeton was on Friday night, needing a home victory over a fringe top 150 Rutgers squad to prove that it and the league wasn't going to take a big step back in the absence of a dominant Cornell team.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cornell/Albany Webfeed

A free webfeed for the Cornell/Albany game, which tips now, is available at http://channelsurfing.net/watch-ncaa-college-sports.php?w=84.

Preseason 14-Game Tournament Powerpoll

Just hours away from tip now, so it's time for the season's first Powerpoll. As a matter of housekeeping, remember that the Powerpoll is not predictive and is only meant to reflect the quality of the teams as of right now.

Scouting The Rookies

A handful of Ivy players found professional basketball employment in Europe, one landed in the NBDL, while another even made it into the NBA.

Needless to say, the league's losses to graduation were huge, and the degree of the decline some Ivy teams will face will in very large part be determined by the quality of the contributions those squads can get from their freshman classes.

Live Video Tonight

There is a free, live webstream of Columbia-LaSalle available tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Tom Gola Arena.

The Brown-Fordham game will be webstreamed at http://www.fordhamsports.com/allaccess/. The video feed is available to those with All Access logins, though it is unclear whether there is a charge for that particular game.

The only video available for Princeton-Rutgers and Cornell-Albany appears to be through each school's athletic department at a pay-per-view fee.

Previewing The 2010-2011 14-Game Tournament

It's not so easy this year, is it?

After two years of a reigning champion with a stocked, returning roster, the Ivy League is finally up for grabs again. Cornell not only lost four of five starters, but also lost a couple more pieces of its rotation, making the race for the league's automatic bid as muddled as it's been since the Big Red won its first of three straight championships in 2008.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No. 1 Princeton Tigers

After a 9-5 non-conference run where the Tigers went just 6-2 against teams outside the top 200, very few people could have imagined the closing stretch this squad would put together.

Princeton stormed through the Ivy season and marched all the way to the semifinals of the CBI, notching four top 150 wins and a pair of slim, three-point losses to Cornell along the way. The uber-athletic, defensive force Kareem Maddox led the Tigers' resurgence, as the 6'8 forward found an offensive game, combining his stellar free throw shooting with a new-found ability to locate and convert shots from the floor. The interior presence freed up Princeton's deadly shooters to fire away, creating a more potent offense down the stretch.

Now, fans and media alike have heaped expectations upon the Tigers that haven't been there since 2005. That Princeton team also returned a bunch of talent and grabbed the top spot in the preseason media poll but, after an impressive non-conference run, stumbled to a 1-5 league start and never was a factor in the Ivy race. The Tigers would be wise to take heed of that cautionary tale.

No. 2 Harvard Crimson

Step one is complete. Harvard coach Tommy Amaker has built a winner at Harvard, something which hadn't (and some believed couldn't) be done in the modern era.

The ascent becomes steeper at the top, though, and Amaker will have to attack the summit without recent face-of-the-program guard Jeremy Lin. The second phase of the program's overhaul won't see gaudy win improvements like the six and seven Harvard registered in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Now the focus is far narrower: Win the school's first-ever Ivy title.

The Crimson has never had a better shot than it does this season. Amaker has had three recruiting classes to stockpile talent, and the league landscape has only been as wide open a couple times in the past 20 years. It's not as if the window is closing. In fact, with a stellar six-man recruiting class on board for next season, the opportunity should only grow with time. For a program that has been aggressive at achieving goals under Amaker, don't expect it to be satisfied with waiting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No. 3 Cornell Big Red

Only once in the last eight years has an Ivy team had to replace more possessions than Cornell.

The Big Red begins treading deep into the unknown on Friday night, hoping that the reserves that showed so much promise in limited action can maintain that level of performance when called into the starting lineup. Luckily the league is more wide open than a year ago, when Cornell marched through the Ivies with almost no hiccups, so the Big Red will have some margin for error. But if the three-time defending Ivy League champion Big Red is going to become the first team since early-90s Princeton to represent the Ivies in four straight NCAA tournaments, it's going to need the best possible outcome from several players in new roles.

The talent is definitely there, but the experience is lacking, which could very well be the difference in what will be a tough Ivy race.

No. 4 Penn Quakers

Teetering on the brink finally became a total collapse.

Since their last NCAA appearance in 2007, the Quakers have been in a slow decline with Ivy win totals falling from 8 to 6 to 5 and overall wins dropping from 13 to 10 to 6 in the same span. But it all fell apart when Penn started 0-10 last season, including more than a few blowout losses.

It's rare that a team is as poised to bounce back immediately as the Quakers are this season, however. Penn boasts a favorite for league POY in Zack Rosen, an All-Ivy PF Jack Eggleston and a former Ivy ROY Tyler Bernardini. The Quakers' hopes still rest on its returning walking wounded staying healthy and that those players shake of the rust that has built from the extended absences due to injury. If those pitfalls can be navigated successfully, Penn has a chance to go from the bottom division to the top of the league.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No. 5 Brown Bears

The frontcourt anchor is gone, but the youth movement has folks in Providence very excited.

Matt Mullery spent the past two years as Brown's go-to big man and one of the league's best interior scorers. Now, the Bears must move forward, and they appear well equipped to do so. With nine freshmen and sophomores on the roster, most of whom will see either time in the rotation or starting lineup, Brown knows it's only at the start of a three-year window for a run at the title.

For the Bears to be competitive this season, though, they must get stronger defensively. Brown finished outside the top 200 in three of the four defensive factors - 203rd in defensive rebounding percentage, 226th in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and 347th (dead last nationally) in turnover rate. The Bears' offensive talent means very little, if it can't keep opponents from outscoring them on most nights.

No. 6 Yale Bulldogs

Following a rough start to the season, Yale coach James Jones rallied the troops in Ivy play - he always seems to - as the Bulldogs scrapped their way to a solo fourth place finish, despite failing to hit the .500 mark for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

Times are going to keep getting tougher for Yale, which graduated the leading possessions eater in the league (and 36th nationally) in guard Alex Zampier as well as swingman Jordan Gibson and post Paul Nelson. With two of the three teams which fell a game short of the Bulldogs last year potentially taking a huge step forward (Penn and Brown), a 7-7 league campaign or fourth place finish would be Jones' finest accomplishment yet.

There's enough returning talent, especially down low, that it's possible, but first Yale must find solutions for the gaps left by last year's senior class.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No. 7 Columbia Lions

After an uneven non-conference run, in which the Lions went just 6-8 against the nation's 340th ranked strength of schedule, but played better basketball in games against the strongest competition, Columbia kept the pattern going in the Ivy season, sweeping Penn and Brown, but only managing a split with Dartmouth.

The Lions often provided a gritty defensive effort, but rarely had enough offensive firepower to capitalize - highlighted by their disappointing 5-3 record in games in which they held opponents to an offensive rating of under 90.

With increased grumbling around Morningside Heights about then-coach Joe Jones' future with the program, Jones took a job on Steve Donahue's staff at Boston College, and Columbia replaced him with St. Mary's assistant Kyle Smith.

No. 8 Dartmouth Big Green

It wasn't pretty from start to finish in Hanover last season, but things got really tenuous at the start of the Ivy League season, when the Dartmouth players quit on then-coach Terry Dunn on the eve of the Big Green's meeting with Harvard.

Dunn got the axe, but not much changed down the stretch, as Dartmouth took down a couple 300+ Pomeroy teams at home, but suffered multiple, double-digit beatdowns en route to a last-place Ivy campaign.

Season Preview Starting Today!

Counting up from worst to first, 14-Game Tournament will preview each Ivy League team, leading up to the Columbia/LaSalle and Princeton/Rutgers games on Friday at 7:00 p.m (Cornell/Albany and Brown/Fordham follow later that evening).

Here's the Season Preview schedule:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coming Soon - The 2010-2011 Ivy Basketball Season

Welcome to the home of the most unique round-robin in NCAA Division I Basketball. It's The 14-Game Tournament, and it's new home is here. Check back in as the season gets underway for thoughts, commentary and statistics as all eight members of the Ivies jockey for the league title and that automatic bid to the Big Dance.