Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Around the Rim with Brian Delaney and the Ithaca Journal

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
December 14, 2010

In the Ivy

* Mathematically proficient fans of Ivy League men's basketball are abuzz with the league's current position in conference rankings by three reputable, metric-driven websites.

Entering Monday, CollegeRPI.com had the Ivy League ranked as the 10th-best conference, out of 33 conferences, through five weeks of play. Ken Pomeroy's rankings had the Ivies at No. 16, while Jeff Sagarin's evaluation system at USA Today had the Ivy League at No. 13.

Regardless of disparity, all three are eyebrow-raising numbers for a league that doesn't offer athletic scholarships. As the season wears on and conference games begin, the Ivy rankings will naturally drop. But the numbers indicate the league is deep, talented and projecting to be very tough.

Princeton and Harvard are potential top-100 teams, and Yale's upset over Boston College -- now 8-2 and with wins over Maryland, Providence, Indiana, Texas A&M and California -- is carrying some additional weight.

* Princeton's Kareem Maddox and Columbia's Noruwa Agho shared Ivy League player of the week honors Monday. Maddox, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, scored a career-high 31 points in Sunday's 82-78 double-overtime victory over Tulsa.

Agho, a 6-3 shooting guard, had two stat-stuffing efforts last week in Columbia wins over Wagner and Bryant.

* In the Tulsa win, Princeton made 27 field goals, but had just seven assists. That's a strange sight for a Princeton team, but also a telling one.

In recent years as the Tigers transitioned from the Joe Scott mess to Sydney Johnson's rebuilding effort, an opponent could find success by simply defending the Princeton Offense well. Take away those back doors and defend the 3 well, and you'd position yourself for a win.

Now, the Tigers are individually talented enough to beat you in more ways. Johnson has players who can take a broken play and make something out of it. One of those is emerging star Ian Hummer, a 6-7 sophomore forward who leads the team in scoring (15.5 points per game), rebounding (6.7 per game) and field-goal percentage (.615).

* Dartmouth is showing improvement under new coach Paul Cormier.

Through eight games last year, the Big Green was 2-6 with a win over a Division III team. This year, Dartmouth is 3-5 with wins over Division I programs : Hartford, Colgate and Army.

* For Cornell (2-6), which has been off since Dec. 4 for final exams, the six remaining non-league games are an opportunity to get on a roll before the Ivy schedule kicks in on Jan. 15.

Cornell visits Binghamton on Saturday, hosts Bucknell on Monday, and will play two games at the VCU Tournament on Dec. 29-30: vs. New Hampshire, and vs. either VCU or Wofford. After that, it's home games against Buffalo and Stony Brook before the league title defense begins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FWIW, Cornell is the highest ranked 2-win team in D-1. Siena is right there with them.

Time to make that difficult opening stretch pay dividends.

Let's go, Red!