Checking in on… the Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2009

checkinginon

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

POWER RANKINGS

  1. Cornell (6-2): The two-time defending champs have done a very nice job navigating a tricky non-conference schedule thus far.
  2. Harvard (6-1): Off to its best start in 25 years, the Crimson will look to keep the momentum going against some brutally tough teams.
  3. Columbia (3-3): Considering the Lions have already faced two Big East squads, a .500 record is nothing to scoff at.
  4. Princeton (2-4): Tigers have dropped four straight but should have better days on the horizon.
  5. Brown (4-5): Bears haven’t beaten anyone of note but have shown a lot of fight in a few of their losses.
  6. Penn (0-5): Injuries to key players and inconsistent play are again coming back to bite the Quakers.
  7. Yale (3-5): Bulldogs’ schedule hasn’t been as difficult as some of the other Ivy teams.
  8. Dartmouth (1-5): Big Green’s lone win has come against a poor Hartford team.

COOKED RICE: The story in the league right now has to be Harvard, which with its rout of Rice on Wednesday is off to its best start since 1984-85 (though in that season three of its first eight wins came against non-Division I opponents). Keep in mind, Harvard has never won an Ivy League title – and stealing the crown from Cornell this season will be a monumental task. But Tommy Amaker’s bunch may be, according to the Boston Herald, the best mid-major in New England, which sounds like a compliment.

SEEING RED: I’ll let Ithaca Journal ace reporter Brian DeLaney catch you up on Cornell because he knows more than me and he claims he can slap his hand against a backboard (debatable). One of his messages: Cornell is so loaded this season that it doesn’t even have to play well to win at lot of times. Sounds about right.

FOOTE IN BUCKNELL’S MOUTH: In Cornell’s latest win, 7-foot center Jeff Foote was a man among boys, getting career highs in points (28) and rebounds (18).

YALE DRAMATICS: So you’re saying not only did Yale win its last game in the final seconds but it also did so on a dunk? They are an Ivy League team, right? It just doesn’t add up – at least until you see the 48-46 final score. (In all seriousness, Alex Zampier is proving to be one of the best players in the league. He not only leads the Ancient Eight in scoring, he also assisted on the aforementioned game-winning slam.)

PHILADELPHIA MARATHON: Because of its involvement in the Philly Hoop Group Classic, Brown hasn’t had much time to rest. The Bears have already played roughly twice as many games as Penn, including a stretch of three in four days (though one was against Division II University of the Sciences). Their last loss in the Philly Hoop Group Classic was to Siena, which is coached by Penn grad Fran McCaffery, who in my opinion is proving to be one of the best coaches in the country.

SPEAKING OF PENN: This is not the start the Quakers wanted. Being 0-5 is troubling on its own, but even worse are the injuries to key starters Andreas Schreiber and Tyler Bernardini. With those two out, Penn was doomed in a double-overtime defeat to Delaware (especially when guys started fouling out) and then in a loss to Drexel when neither team made a three-pointer. Seriously, neither team made a three.

GO, AGHO: Columbia sophomore guard Noruwa Agho (say that 10 times fast) has claimed two straight Ivy League player of the weeks. He’s averaging a shade below 20 points per game this season. An even better sign for the Lions is that when Agho was held in check against Lehigh, Patrick Foley and Brian Grimes led the way with 21 points apiece, career highs both. Don’t sleep on Columbia.

ECHENIQUE TORCHES PRINCETON: Greg Echenique, who at one time was a hot name in Penn recruiting circles, had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Rutgers past Princeton on Thursday.

LOOKING AHEAD: Harvard has an insanely tough schedule coming up, heading to UConn, Boston College and Georgetown for its next three games. Cornell also has some more tough games, starting this weekend against St. Joe’s, while Brown makes a long trip to Minnesota on Saturday.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: I say Harvard wins at least one of these three upcoming games. I also predict Penn gets in the win column before the new year. Maybe.

rtmsf (3720 Posts)


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