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While men's hoops, Penn stay away, other six Ivies play

The men's basketball team has seen the scores: Princeton loses at Kansas by 15, and the Jayhawks then blow out Penn by 46. The Tigers fall to Lafayette at home in overtime, while the Quakers defeat the Leopards, 80-76, at the Palestra.

Still, while comparing non-conference scores can be a fun pastime for fans, Princeton's players realize that, come February, they will mean nothing. The Tigers know that Penn will be as tough as always.


"We pay attention a little bit to what they do," sophomore center Chris Young said. "[but] for the most part, all of us just sort of worry about what we do."

Besides,when it comes to surprising early-season scores, Princeton and Penn cannot hold a candle to what has taken place among the other six Ivy teams.

"I guess that surprise is that Harvard won both games [against Dartmouth Dec. 15 and Jan. 8]," Princeton head coach Bill Carmody said. "This is without Clemente – they managed to win both games. The fact that they beat Dartmouth is surprising."

Indeed, the Crimson's performance without forward Dan Clemente has been one of the league's major stories thus far. Clemente was Harvard's only experienced scorer coming into the season, but just before its first game against the Big Green, the Crimson learned that its star would have to miss the rest of the campaign with an injury.

Still, Harvard managed a 66-59 win over Dartmouth in that first contest, then repeated the feat almost a month later with a 48-43 victory in Hanover, N.H.

Bottom's up

The Crimson has managed a 2-2 record in Ivy League play so far, but even that surprisingly strong mark cannot match the performances turned in thus far by the three other projected bottom-feeders – Columbia, Brown and Yale. The Elis and Bears, under the guidance of new coaches James Jones and Glen Miller, respectively, posted home sweeps of Harvard and Dartmouth in their initial forays into conference play last weekend. Columbia also began its Ivy schedule with a win – trouncing Cornell, 75-58, Friday.


With the exception of Penn and Princeton, the Lions are the only team in the Ivy League that has made any noise outside of conference play this season. Columbia was predictably thrashed at Duke, 99-52, Nov. 23. Still, the Lions hung tough in a 59-52 loss to Lafayette Nov. 20 and gave the scare of a lifetime to Big East foe Seton Hall Dec. 13.

"Columbia's playing real well," Carmody said. "They had Seton Hall – they should have beaten them."

With the Lions joining Brown, Yale and Harvard in posting surprisingly strong results early this season, one team has been shockingly left behind.

Despite returning four starters and conference Player of the Year candidate Shaun Gee, Dartmouth's season started inauspiciously, with the Big Green winning just three of its first five games. Things have completely bottomed out since then, with Dartmouth having now lost six of its last seven and sitting with an 0-4 Ivy mark. Guard Greg Buth, who lit up the Ivy League from three-point range last year, has seen his percentage from that distance plummet to an abysmal .275.

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Before the season started, Ivy League prognosticators were fairly unified: Penn and Princeton would be challenged for the top spot by resurgent Dartmouth. Cornell would also make some noise, while Yale, Brown, Columbia and Harvard would fight to stay out of the cellar.

The results so far, however, have reflected a common theme – expect the unexpected. The Tigers and Quakers will try to buck that trend and avoid the Ivy upset bug when they begin conference play Jan. 28.