Around the Ivies: Men’s Basketball
1. Penn (19–7, 9–1 Ivy)
Tied for first atop the Ivy League, Penn has benefitted this season from a balanced approach — the Quakers have the 3rd best offense and the 2nd best defense. The Quakers have a desirable blend of veteran experience with seniors Darnell Foreman and Caleb Wood and youthful talent in sophomores Ryan Betley and AJ Brodeur, who lead the team in scoring with 14.5 and 12.6 PPG respectively.
2. Harvard (14—11, 9—1 Ivy)
Tied for first place in the Ivy with Penn, Harvard has overpowered conference opponents with its stifling defense. Long and athletic, the Crimson lead the Ivy League in defense by a wide margin, allowing for just 61.8 PPG. If point guard Bryce Aiken, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, returns from injury, Harvard will become even stronger. As its 2016 recruiting class — ranked No. 11 in the nation by ESPN — matures, the Crimson will be a force to reckon with in the conference for years to come.
3. Yale (12—14, 5—5 Ivy)
There exists a wide gap between the cream of the Ivy League crop and the rest of the conference. Yale has been consistent throughout the season but has been unable to pull away and secure an Ivy League tournament bid. Sophomore guard Miye Oni has developed into a leader for the Bulldogs, averaging 14.8 PPG. Yale will also benefit from the recent return of Makai Mason, who led the team to the NCAA tournament in 2016 but hasn’t played since due to injuries.
4. Brown (11—12, 4—6 Ivy)
Brown, which finished tied for last in the Ivy last season, has improved its prospects this season with a pair of young, high-scoring guards. Sophomore Brandon Anderson has averaged 17.8 PPG and freshman Rookie of the Year contender Desmond Cambridge 17.5 PPG, including a game-winning three-pointer against Princeton.
5. Cornell (10—13, 4—6 Ivy)
Also a basement dweller last season, Cornell has found itself in the thick of the race for a top four conference finish and an Ivy League tournament bid this season. Junior guard Matt Morgan has carried much of the load for the Big Red this season. Morgan leads the Ivy League in scoring with 22.6 PPG and is one of the most prolific three-point shooters in the conference.
6. Columbia (7—16, 4—6 Ivy)
Despite a less than stellar showing in nonconference play, Columbia has remained in the Ivy League race. As Princeton discovered Saturday, the Lions can score the basketball — they lead the Ivy League in offense with 77.5 PPG in conference play. Sophomore guard Mike Smith leads the team offensively with 17.1 PPG. Columbia is also the only Ivy League team to have topped Harvard this season.
7. Dartmouth (6—17, 2—8)
Dartmouth began its Ivy League schedule slowly, losing its first seven conference games. The team has won two of its last three but is still a long shot to finish in the top four and make the conference tournament. Dartmouth has a balanced offensive attack, with five players averaging between 10 and 12 PPG.