Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sports Network Previews the Ivy League

Below, an Ivy League preview from The Sports Network. Be sure to also check out The Cornell Basketball Blog's Index of 2010-2011 Season Previews and see what the other pundits are predicting for this year.

OUTLOOK: With three-time defending champion Cornell suffering significant losses, the Ivy League is now wide open for the taking.

Princeton is one of the frontrunners for the title with several talented returnees, while Penn could make the biggest jump following an injury riddled campaign.

Harvard, surprisingly, is in the mix fresh off a record campaign and Brown could be considering the dark horse with a young but talented roster.

Columbia, Yale and Dartmouth aren't expected to be contenders in 2010-11, with several holes to fill.

CONFERENCE CHAMPION: Cornell

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: 1. Princeton, 2. Penn, 3. Harvard, 4. Brown, 5. Cornell, 6. Columbia, 7. Yale, 8. Dartmouth.

TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS:

PRINCETON - Sydney Johnson has the Princeton program on the rise and that was evident in last season's success when the Tigers went 22-9 overall and 11-3 within the Ivy League. The Tigers even reached the semifinals of the CBI and with three starters back in the fold, Princeton is now a favorite to win its first Ivy League title since 2004. The Tigers boast one of the top backcourt tandems in the conference with the return of Doug Davis (12.7 ppg) and Dan Mavraides (11.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg), while Patrick Saunders (5.1 ppg), Kareem Maddox (6.2 ppg) and Ian Hummer (6.9 ppg) give Princeton some options in the frontcourt.

PENN - The Quakers are ready to return to their glory days under head coach Jerome Allen, who took over after Glen Miller was let go in December. Allen went just 6-15 as an interim following Miller's release, but the poor record was mostly due to a depleted roster. Penn lost a few players to injury, but now fully healthy, the Quakers should be ready to compete for an Ivy League championship. Leading the charge is scoring champ Zack Rosen, who tallied 17.7 ppg and 4.4 apg last season. If Tyler Bernardini can stay healthy, he will join Rosen to help form one of the elite backcourt tandems in the league. Jack Eggleston is another important player for the Quakers and he produced 13.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg a year ago.

HARVARD - The Crimson is coming off a historic campaign, winning a school- record 21 games and making a postseason appearance (CollegeInsider.Com Tournament) for the first time since 1946. Head coach Tommy Amaker has obviously done wonders for this program and he should have Harvard competing for its first-ever Ivy League title this season. The biggest issue for Amaker is replacing Jeremy Lin, who did it all with averages of 16.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 4.5 apg last season. Fortunately, the Crimson has options to pick up the slack and that includes Kyle Casey, who turned in 10.4 ppg and 5.1 rpg on his way to Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors. Keith Wright (8.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Christian Webster (8.8 ppg) are two other player expected to make an even bigger impact this year.

BROWN - The Bears could be ready to take the next step under head coach Jesse Agel, as they return four starters and welcome in a strong recruiting class. Peter Sullivan leads the returnees after averaging 12.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg and he should be in line for an even bigger campaign. Tucker Halpern (8.1 ppg) and Andrew McCarthy (6.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) are expected to build off solid freshman campaigns, while Garrett Leffelman (7.5 ppg) and Adrian Williams (5.7 ppg) should improve with a little more consistency.

CORNELL - Bill Courtney takes over the head coaching duties at Cornell and he has a tall task ahead of him considering the Big Red have won the last three Ivy League titles. Four starters are also gone from last year's Sweet 16 club, so Courtney will have an even more difficult time keeping Cornell atop the Ivy League in 2010-11. Chris Wroblewski (8.9 ppg, 3.1 apg) is the most well known of the returnees and he will now be asked to take on a bigger role. No other player welcomed back even averaged 5.0 ppg, so the rest of the roster will be made up of new faces.

COLUMBIA - Kyle Smith steps in as head coach of Columbia this year and he is hoping to end the Lions' current streak of 17 straight seasons with a losing Ivy League record. Noruwa Agho (16.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg) is Smith's top returning option, while Brian Grimes (7.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Asenso Ampim (7.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) are two other weapons at his disposal. Plenty of experience exists for the Lions to improve on their five league wins from a season ago.

YALE - James Jones has consistently turned out competitive teams, but the Bulldogs could struggle this season without a big time scorer on the roster. Michael Sands (10.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the team's best hope to become a premier player, while Greg Mangano (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Porter Braswell (6.0 ppg) should be steady contributors.

DARTMOUTH - The Big Green faced all sorts of adversity last season and crumbled with a dismal 1-13 finish in the Ivy League. Helping to rebuild the program now falls on the shoulders of Paul Cormier, who coached the Big Green from 1984-91. Cormier welcomes back four starters, but none of which even averaged double figures. Ronnie Dixon (9.3 ppg) and Clive Weeden (5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) are two of the returnees hoping to turn this team around, and they will receive help from David Rufful (7.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and Jabari Trotter (6.5 ppg).

2 comments:

BigRed1965 said...

It's curious that this preview identifies 3 or more players on each Ivy team EXCEPT for Cornell, where only Wroblewski is mentioned. Was the writer unaware that Cornell has some other good talents, especially Peck, Wire and Coury? In any case, the 3-time defending champion program deserves more thorough attention!

Anonymous said...

Rankings like this only show that sportswriters aren't thinking very hard... not because they don't have Cornell taking the league, but because they don't acknowledge that players like Wire, Peck, and Coury also had serious playing time last year.

Cornell finishes, at worst, #3 in the league.