Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week 13 Powerpoll: Home Is Where The Wins Are

A relative snoozer on Friday got wild on Saturday as Penn-Brown and Princeton-Yale went down to the buzzer (and in the former's case, past it).

Five teams still have at least a decent shot at the title as the calendar turns to February. Let's sort it all out in this week's powerpoll.


8. Cornell (6)

The opening schedule was brutal enough that 3-3 would have been pretty stellar, but with the loss at Dartmouth and another road trip on tap next weekend, the Big Red will have to pull a big upset at Yale or a mini-upset at Brown to avoid starting 0-6.

7. Brown (7)

With Peter Sullivan out for an indeterminate amount of time, the Bears could have phoned the rest of the Ivy slate in, but the frisky performance in Philly against Penn on Saturday night shows that Brown isn't quite done yet.

It's Ivy title hopes are, but not its desire to give some of the upper division teams a scare.


6. Dartmouth (8)

Blame it on the distance, maybe, but Leede Arena can be a house of horrors in Ivy play. Cornell scored 20 points over its first 41 possessions at Dartmouth on Friday night before closing with 37 in the final 27. It was way too late though, as the Big Green nabbed its second win in its last 20 Ivy games.


5. Yale (3)

The Bulldogs aren't necessarily dead yet and no one expected them to sweep the weekend. With the two losses, however, Yale's margin for error is minimal. It must win three of its next four (including hosting Columbia and visiting Harvard) in order to remain in the race when it hosts the P's on the 18th and 19th.


4. Penn (5)

Down six with under two to play, the Quakers deserve a lot of credit for rebounding to force overtime and pull out an important victory over Brown. While the W is all that matters, it's still a bit concerning that it took that much effort to close out a shorthanded Bears team. Still, the victory puts Penn in great position to be 3-0 heading into a showdown with Harvard next Saturday night.

3. Columbia (4)

The Lions played their first games decided by more than five points this weekend, and in so doing, made it much easier to classify this team. Columbia might not be a title contender, but it's a solid member of the top five and should be competitive for third. Pivotal weekend for the Lions upcoming. If they can just split with Yale and Brown on the road, they'll be 4-2 with six of their final eight league contests at home - not out of the race by any stretch.


2. Princeton (1)

As good as the Tigers looked after falling behind 21-13 through the first 10 minutes against Brown, they looked equally as shaky against Yale. Up 13 with eight to play and 10 with six to play, Princeton gave up a 10-1 run to let the Bulldogs within one, but shut the door with a couple strong defensive stops. The victory allows the Tigers to look ahead to Friday's showdown with Harvard, where Princeton will look to hand the Crimson its 22nd consecutive loss at Jadwin (last Harvard win - 2/3/89).

1. Harvard (2)

The last time the Crimson was 4-0 in the Ivy League was 1991 - Harvard won its first five that year before dropping all but one of its final nine in what became Peter Roby's last year at the helm.

After four must-win games, the Crimson finally has some upside opportunity, as a sweep at Penn and Princeton (something Harvard hasn't done since 1985) would provide it with some cushion in a tough league race. The opposite is also true, however. Getting swept would put the traditional powers Penn and Princeton in the driver's seat with Harvard having to play catch up.

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