Another exciting year of Ivy League basketball has begun. Although it is too early to make any calls or predictions, many teams have already settled into the season, creating the tone for future games. With conference play still over a month away, teams have many opportunities to improve their skills and chemistry as a squad. But, here is how they are doing so far.
Princeton (3-0 overall): The Tigers have started the season emphatically: three straight wins, including a landslide victory over Lafayette 104-52. This game marked the first time since 2003 the Tigers have started a season 3-0. While the Tigers will be missing forward Hans Brase for the year due to a knee injury, the team has shown flexibility and depth in its roster leading them to a strong start.
Harvard (2-4): While the Crimson has had a slow start to the season, Harvard has much to look forward to in the coming the season. The Crimson has earned the Ivy League title each year since the 2010-11 season. If the last few years has been any indication, Harvard will continue to be a fierce competitor once conference play begins.
Yale (3-3): The Bulldogs started the season hot with a three-game winning streak. Since then, Yale has lost its last three games amid fierce competition from Southern Methodist College and Duke. Still, the Bulldogs have shown remarkable resilience and the ability to compete with strong teams. In addition, with strong performances from sophomore point guard Makai Mason, who currently ranks among the top five league scorers, Yale will pose a threat to any Ivy League competitor.
Dartmouth (1-2): Big Green earned its first victory of the season just last Sunday in a double-digit victory over LIU Brooklyn. While it is too early for predictions, Dartmouth seems poised to improve upon their fourth place finish last year. Currently, Dartmouth has two of Ivy League’s top five scorers in senior forward Evan Boudreaux, who leads the league with 18 points per game, and sophomore guard Miles Wright.
Penn (4-2): Despite two away losses, the Quakers remain undefeated on their home court, the Palestra. With an enthusiastic home crowd behind them, Penn has shown its ability to finish close games and fight through adversity. Indeed, the Quakers managed to cling onto victory over Robert Morris 76-75 in their season opener. Penn’s senior center Darien Nelson-Henry currently ranks second in points per game with 17.
Columbia (3-4): The Lions will be looking to recover after two heart-breaking losses to Longwood University, 69-70, and Fairfield University, 81-82, a loss which occurred in overtime. In fact, Columbia lost all its games this season trailing by 10 points or less. Still, the Lions rank second among the Ivies in points per game with 80.9.
Cornell (3-4): While the Big Red started the season with a difficult loss to Georgia Tech 81-116, the Cornell squad has since rebounded winning tough and exciting games including a 101-98 victory over Colgate in double overtime.Brown (1-5): During his first two seasons, senior forward Cedric Kuakumensah earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Honors. He continues his success this season averaging 9.8 rebounds per game, ranking him second in the Ivy League. With any luck, consistent defense will lead to offensive opportunities for the Bears, who look to end a four-game losing streak.