With the men’s basketball season in full swing, here’s how the other seven Ancient Eight teams are faring in non-conference play.
In the off-season, Brown suffered two key losses with the departure of leading scorer Desmond Cambridge to the transfer portal and 2018-19 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Obi Okolie to graduation. The Bears did retain some top talent, most notably senior guard Brandon Anderson and junior forward Tamenang Choh. Those two have led the way for Brown in non-conference play, with Anderson averaging 23.3 points per game and 46.3 percent field goals made and Choh scoring 13.7 points and pulling down 8.4 rebounds per game. The Bears started the season on a three-game winning streak but have lost three of their last four and sit at 4–3.
Columbia’s off-season was a mix of good news and bad news. On one hand, the Lions’ guard Mike Smith, who scored 17.6 points per game as a sophomore before missing most of last year with an injury, has returned. On the other hand, Gabe Stefanini, their leading scorer last year, will miss significant time due to off-season foot surgery, and Patrick Tapé, their second leading scorer, decided to sit out the season to pursue graduate transfer options next year. Columbia has played a tough non-conference schedule featuring games against ACC opponents Wake Forest and defending national champion Virginia and Big East opponent St. John’s. After starting the season 1–5, the Lions have rebounded to win two of their last three.
Entering the season, Cornell faced the unenviable task of replacing guard Matt Morgan, the leading scorer in program history and second leading scorer in Ivy League history with 2,333 points. To make matters even more difficult for Cornell, head coach and Princeton alum Brian Earl ’99 also lost 2018-19 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year candidate Steven Julian and a handful of other rotation players to graduation. Junior forward Jimmy Boeheim has stepped in to fill some of the void by averaging 18.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, but the Big Red have still struggled through seven games. After opening the season with a win over Binghamton, the Big Red have lost six straight games.
The Big Green’s outlook took a hit immediately prior to the season when the news broke that guard Brendan Barry, who shot 45 percent from three and averaged 13.2 points per game last year, would miss the entire season with a hip injury. Nonetheless, Dartmouth has gotten off to a strong start in non-conference play. They began the season with an upset win over Buffalo and have since raced out to a 5–2 record, though they have yet to face a power conference opponent. Dartmouth has received contributions both from returners like forward Chris Knight, who led Dartmouth in scoring last year, and guard James Foye, who shot 47 percent from three last year, and from newcomers like guard Trevon Ary-Turner, who transferred from Weber State and has averaged 8 points per game.
If they stay healthy, Tommy Amaker’s Harvard squad has the potential to be one of the most talented Ivy League teams in recent memory. The Crimson roster features a plethora of former highly touted recruits, including 2017-18 Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns and former Ivy League Rookie of the Year award winners Bryce Aiken and Noah Kirkwood. While Towns has yet to appear in a game this season due to injury, Aiken leads Harvard in scoring with 21 points per game. Harvard has had an up-and-down non-conference schedule leading to its current 5–4 record. Most recently, at the Orlando Invitational, the Crimson beat Texas A&M and nearly upset No. 5 Maryland before falling 80–73 and losing a consolation game to the University of Southern California.
Penn’s non-conference slate has been something of a roller-coaster. The Quakers’ resume so far includes wins over power conference opponents like Alabama (SEC), Providence (Big East), and University of Central Florida (American), but it also includes baffling losses to traditionally less-successful basketball programs like Rice and Lafayette. Penn’s leading scorer has been first-year Jordan Dingle, who’s managed to score an average of 17.3 points in his first seven games as a Quaker. Penn has also seen strong starts from the always-consistent AJ Brodeur, who’s averaging 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds, and guard Ryan Betley, who’s scoring 13.6 points per game after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
The defending Ivy League champions lost a slew of players from last season’s NCAA tournament squad. In addition to Miye Oni, last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year who was selected in the second round of the NBA draft, the Bulldogs graduated Alex Copeland, Blake Reynolds, and Trey Phills, all starters from last season. Yale has managed to get off to a strong start to the season anyway. They boast a 6–3 record, and two of those losses were single digits in road games against power conference opponents Penn State and Oklahoma State. Yale’s most effective scorers have been forward Paul Atkinson and guard Azar Swain, who are scoring 17.6 and 14.9 points per game, respectively. Forward Jordan Bruner has nearly averaged a double-double with 10.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.