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.

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Checking In On… the Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on November 20th, 2009

checkinginon

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

OFFICIALLY UNOFFICIAL POWER RANKINGS

  1. Cornell (2-0) – Convincing road wins over Alabama and UMass to start the season not only secures the Big Red’s place as the clear best team in the Ivies; it also establishes them as one of the nation’s premier mid-majors.
  2. Princeton (2-0) – Tigers take care of a good Central Michigan team on the road, before following that with a victory over Manhattan.
  3. Columbia (0-1) – DePaul may be one of the worst teams in the Big East, but the Lions’ near-win against them is still impressive.
  4. Harvard (2-0) – The Crimson’s best player, Jeremy Lin, is the man. More on this later.
  5. Penn (0-2) – It’s hard to get a good read on the Quakers, who lost to the reigning NIT champion (Penn State) and reigning NCAA semifinalist (Villanova). But early indications are not good.
  6. Yale (1-2) – Bulldogs edged by Hofstra in preseason NIT opener, but respond with 10-point with over Colgate.
  7. Brown (1-2) – Losing to Virginia Tech and Rhode Island is nothing to be ashamed about.
  8. Dartmouth (0-2) – Like most other teams in the league, Big Green starts season with two tough games, falling to Boston College and George Mason.

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Checking in on the… Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2009

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

Right now, the Ivy League is a mess. Somehow, heading into the final weekend of conference play, a Cornell team that is superior to any other in the league has yet to clinch its berth in the Big Dance (remember there’s no conference tournament in the Ivies). Somehow, Princeton – the same Princeton that started 2-8 with losses to mighty teams like Maine, Central Connecticut and Lafayette on its resume – controls its own destiny. And somehow, Yale and Dartmouth – yes, Dartmouth! – are still mathematically alive with two games to play.

Here’s the deal in simplest terms: If Cornell (9-3 league) takes care of business and beats Penn tonight and Princeton tomorrow night at home (where they are undefeated this season), then they win the league. They can also win the league if they beat Penn while Princeton loses at Columbia tonight.  But if Princeton (7-4) is able to sweep Columbia and Cornell this weekend, then the Tigers’ game Tuesday against Penn – the final game of the Ivy League season – could either make or break their chances of winning at least a share of the league title. (In the case of a tie at the top, there would be a one-game playoff between the co-champs with the NCAA berth on the line).

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Checking in on the… Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2009

David Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

A weird sequence of events happened during the Penn-Columbia game two weeks ago: Penn fans listened as the Princeton-Cornell score was announced. They learned Princeton was winning. And then they cheered. Of course, this makes perfect sense. The only way for any of the seven Ivy League also-rans to make the NCAA Tournament (or at least the play-in game) is to get through Cornell, the clear favorite to win the league. But for all of the Penn fans in the gym that night – the dozens of us – cheering for Princeton still felt dirty. That’s because for so long the Ivy League has been all about Penn and Princeton, the two storied programs that have made up one of college basketball’s best rivalries. Penn-Princeton games may not always produce the most exciting basketball (unless you love backdoor cuts and running the shot clock down to five seconds) but each contest is special because it usually determines the league champion. Over the years, the other six Ivy League teams have had as much success as Gus Johnson trying to keep his voice down in a library. Consider: Since the Ivy League’s inception in 1955, only seven times has the league championship been awarded without the Quakers or Tigers at least sharing the crown. Here’s a good YouTube video on the rivalry which highlights the 1999 game in which Penn raced out to a 29-3 lead before losing, 50-49, in a game now known at the Palestra simply as “Black Tuesday.” Six years later, however, Penn produced a miracle of its own when it erased an 18-point deficit in the final seven-and-a-half minutes to stun Princeton in overtime. I think about nine of my 10 favorite Palestra memories came from that game, and I still get chills every time I watch the highlights.

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