Sunday, October 23, 2011

Preseason Primer

The release of the final preseason projections on this site is still a few weeks away (though the Ivy League will release its official media poll this Wednesday).

It's expected that Harvard will top the preseason list for the first time in the history of the poll, and not to ruin the surprise, the Crimson will probably be favored pretty heavily in this site's release as well.

That (and maybe that Dartmouth will finish last) is where the consensus stops, however. Different prognostications have had Princeton as the number one contender or as far down as fourth. Yale has been tabbed by many as the likely runner up, but by others out of the upper division entirely. Penn is probably the most egregious offender, as some think the Quakers could steal second, while others have them in a fight to avoid seventh.

The purpose today is not to rank the teams, but rather to provide some starting points for thinking about each Ivy team and the league as a whole, which should help better prepare you, the reader, for establishing your own preseason hierarchy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Great Unknowns

Penn is the epicenter of this debate.

Senior point guard Zack Rosen is on pace to become the second most productive Ivy player of the past 10 years. Flanking him are fifth-year senior Tyler Bernardini, a streaky but at times lights out shooter who can add value at both ends of the court, and sophomore Miles Cartwright, an uber-athletic slasher who could vault to All-Ivy status if he could hold onto the ball a little better.

Even if you like the Quakers' returning depth at the guard position behind those three stars, there are two gaping holes at the four and five left by the graduation of Jack Eggleston and Conor Turley. Internal candidates do exist - the ever fragile Mike Howlett and sophomores Fran Dougherty and Cameron Gunter - but the true hope rests on the shoulders of heralded freshmen forwards Greg Louis and Henry Brooks.

How reasonable is that expectation, though? Brooks is the 19th most highly rated recruit of the past 10 years. Louis is 43rd most highly rated over the same span. Both are in the top 10 percent of the over 400 recruits from that timespan. But do the ratings even matter?