Checking in on the… Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on January 16th, 2009

David Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

Let’s see … what to report from the Ivy League from the last two weeks. Hmm. Cornell beat a team by 54 points. That’s fun – even though they did it to Division III Ursinus. What else? What else? Oh! Yale and Columbia both added to the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s record 50-game Division I losing streak. Good for them. And … I think that’s about– oh wait, I almost forgot! Harvard had probably its greatest win in school history while providing the Ivy League with its best moment in quite some time. That’s probably the big story of the week, right?

NBC Sports)
Amaker and Harvard Celebrate the Win Over BC (photo credit: NBC Sports)

When Harvard (9-6) pulled off that shocker over Boston College last week, however, it seemed like there were two overriding sentiments: One was that since B.C. had just beaten then-No. 1 North Carolina, then Harvard should be the new No. 1 team in the land. And two, how ’bout that Tommy Amaker, huh? While I agree that Harvard is the best team there ever was or ever will be, I am hesitant to heap all of the praise entirely on Amaker. Instead, I would like to take a moment to praise former coach Frank Sullivan, a very good man who had little success at Harvard but whose lasting legacy might be leaving the program with Jeremy Lin. Granted, Amaker has brought in a very talented freshmen class, and has probably instilled a newfound belief into his players, but Lin is simply playing at another level right now. Against Boston College, the junior guard scored a game-high 27 points while dishing out eight assists. Here are some highlights of Lin schooling the Eagles.

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Amaker as Harvard Savior?

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2007

Amaker Somewhat lost amidst the coaching carousel of the last few weeks was the story that Tommy Amaker, recently ousted after six years at Michigan, was taking the head coaching job at Harvard. Consensus among the talking heads seemed to accept the notion that Amaker’s experience and recruiting acumen would translate into significant success in Cambridge. Why?

In ten years of head coaching experience at Seton Hall and Michigan, Amaker has earned only one NCAA appearance (in 2000 at Seton Hall). To be fair, he has managed six NIT appearances, including a championship at Michigan in 2004. But mediocrity, in the form of a 177-138 overall record, has been the only true consistency of Amaker’s college coaching career.

Granted, mediocrity at Harvard might be cause for celebration, considering that the Crimson’s last coach, Frank Sullivan, was 178-245 during his tenure, and the last time Harvard was invited to the NCAA Tournament was in 1946. However, overcoming the Penn/Princeton stranglehold on the Ivy League championship – one of the two schools has won the last 19 NCAA bids for the league – may be too much to ask for a coach who could not capitalize on the outstanding resources that Michigan has at its disposal.   

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