Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Delaney on the Start of the Ivy Season

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
January 5, 2010

It sneaks up at us every time this year, the annual Ivy League opener. Harvard and Dartmouth meet Saturday afternoon in Hanover (and the women's schedule commences with Penn at Princeton).

On Jan. 15, Cornell visits Columbia and Yale visits Brown. On Jan. 22, three Ivy men's games are scheduled (Brown @ Yale, Dartmouth @ Harvard and Columbia @ Cornell). Not until Friday, Jan. 28 do all eight teams simultaneously take the court for the first of those much-loved Friday-Saturday weekends (Yale @ Penn, Brown @ Princeton, Cornell @ Dartmouth, Columbia @ Harvard).

The league has the night off, which allowed time for a little dissection. Fan of Ken Pomeroy's website? While important to note that the Pomeroy rankings are, unlike the RPI, not used by the NCAA selection committee come March, there are many out there, including myself, who like to stay on top of the rankings week to week, day to day, as a measured gauge for where things stand. For me, it's a supplement and a great tool for debate, but not a be-all end-all. I remain an "eye-test" evaluator in basketball, for good or evil.

That said, here's a few Pomeroy nuggets for the readership to dwell on as the 14-game tournament nears:

— For reasons of clarification, Ken Pomeroy ranks every team in Division I based on a number of mathmatical factors. When discussing opponents, I like to break up classifications in groups of 50 (1-50, 51-100, 101-150, etc.).

— Cornell is 3-10. As of Monday, it's Pomeroy ranking was 214.

— Ivy rankings: Princeton (109), Harvard (111), Penn (205), Yale (208), Cornell (214), Columbia (225), Brown (262), Dartmouth (305).

— Princeton has played the toughest Division I schedule so far, with its 14 opponents averaging a Pomeroy ranking of 156.0.

— Cornell ranks second in schedule strength when judged by this metric, with opponents averaging 158.2. The rest of the Ivy is ranked as such (excluding D-III opponents): Penn (168.9), Harvard (172.8), Yale (174.3), Dartmouth (195.3), Brown (210.9) and Columbia (220.4).

— Cornell and Princeton are tied for the league lead with most top-150 opponents (7). Cornell is 1-6 against those teams (Syracuse, Seton Hall, Minnesota, St. Bonaventure, Bucknell, Wofford, Buffalo). Princeton is 4-3 (Duke, Central Florida, Rutgers, Tulsa, James Madison, Bucknell, Siena).

— Penn has played the most top-50 opponents (3): Pittsburgh, Villanova and Kentucky. Brown has played zero.

— Cornell is 2-5 against teams ranked between 101-200. Harvard is 1-0, Yale is 0-3, Brown is 1-3, Penn is 2-0, Princeton is 4-1, Columbia 2-2 and Dartmouth is 1-4.

— Cornell is 1-2 against teams ranked 201 and above. Harvard is 5-0, Yale is 4-1, Brown is 4-3, Penn is 3-2, Princeton is 4-1, Columbia is 5-2, and Dartmouth is 3-3.

— Yale's November win over Boston College remains the league's best victory.

— Cornell's loss to Binghamton is the league's second-worst loss, bested only by Longwood's win over Columbia on Nov. 20. Yuck.

— Columbia has played the most teams ranked 301 and above (4). Penn has played three. No other Ivy has played more than one.

Cornell's final non-league game is 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Stony Brook. If you have time, I recommend doing a double-dip by scooting over to The Bulb at IC for a 4 p.m. tip, Ithaca vs. St. John Fisher. Those two teams will be worth the admission.


Anonymous said...

Marist and Manhattan tend to be ranked lower in the combined RPI services (Sagarin, Pomeroy, and CollegeInsider) than either Binghamton or Longwood.

IMO, Penn's losses to these two decidely sub-300 RPI teams rank as the worst performances by Ivy teams this year. Princeton gets its chance at the lowly Red Foxes (who play like the Redd Foxes) tonight. I think we can trust the Tigers to take care of business.

On the bright side, Yale's W at BC stands for the moment as the League's best win. Harvard has their annual shot at BC tonight to add to the League's luster. Donahue is lifetime 13-7 against Harvard and 5-1 against Amaker. Let's see if that trend holds up.

Anonymous said...

It might not be mentioned a lot, but Delaney does a great job of following the league - always insightful, asks great questions, etc.

Listening to the pre-season call, he was the most engaged of those that follow the league.

BTW, the pre-season call mentioned that the pre-conference call is on the 11th. Typical for the Ivy site, there is not mention of the upcoming call.

This should be an interesting season - lots of changes since October, and the league is much more competitive. There are going to be several players and teams that make an impact that were not even on the radar at the start of the season, and the level of coaching seems to get better each year.

Every opponent has gotten better:


1. Princeton - returning it's core, several quality wins, have played more Ivy games that have mattered than any other team. The most dangerous Ivy to face in the tournament - nobody will want to play them.

2. Penn - the arrogance never left, but the swagga has returned. Less pressure on Rosen. Solid depth. Tradition.

3. Harvard - tons of talent. Underclassman are a year from hitting stride and putting distance between them and the rest of the league. You can lose with the best talent.

4. Yale - the bigs (Mangano and Kreisberg) will make a difference. Decent guard play makes this team an true inside-outside threat.

5. Columbia - could get real hot with an inside force. Must get off to a good start on the first two Saturdays of the season. Cannot just key on Agho - others have and will continue to contribute.

6. Brown - similar to Columbia. But, one or two players away from being a top team in the conference.

7. Dartmouth - will move up as Cormier gets the system and recruits in place. Can really surprise a few teams this year. Will be a tough Saturday away game.

The Big Red are the biggest question mark and can be anywhere from 4th to 8th. Improvement throughout conference play will tell the tale.

The longest tournament in college basketball starts on Saturday.

mrjames said...

Venue should probably be considered here. Home losses carry a much stiffer penalty than road losses and I tend to give about a 50-75 spot leeway when judging the two against each other.

Dartmouth's loss at home to New Hampshire or Yale's home loss to Sacred Heart are probably the two worst losses. You could throw some of the 300+ road losses in after that (COL at Longwood, COR at Binghamton, PENN at Marist and Manhattan) before circling back around to COR (N) vs. UNH and Brown at home against Army.

Judging by wins and losses alone misses the point a little bit though. For instance, Harvard's performances at Bryant and at home versus Monmouth could probably crack the league's Top 15 worst performances of the season list despite ultimately being wins. Same goes for COL at home against Bryant.

Anonymous said...

Cornell, 10-4, tied second place.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I sensed much less entropy in our team despite the buffalo loss. I think the guys are calming down and the backcourt at least have found their rhythm. If Osgood and Coury can also find their rhythm and Johnny chucks in a trey or two, I honestly don't know what will happen. We were desperate for the team to become cohesive by conference play, but parts of the team are cutting it awfully close.

Secondly, despite Mr. James's mockery of it, I too recently noticed that Chris Wroblewski's stats have becoming surprisingly good. He has slowly crept up to 42% 3-point shooting and has always performed well in assists and steals, plus regularly scores in the double digits. I'm sure mrjames has some fancy bunch of statistics that he feels disqualifies Ski, but coaches probably don't look at those kinds of things. If you watched our recent games, all you saw was Peck, Ski, and Ferry being ridiculously in sync, despite the rest of the team's struggles. Peck has never let down since Syracuse, although even regular POWs Maddox and Wright have had up and down games.

q'nis said...

Wrobo's current stats are better from a pure numbers standpoint than anything Lou ever did. Lou's sophomore POY season read 13.0, 4.2, 3.6. Wrobo's 14.4, 3.5, 6.2 is seriously impressive looking at it in that light. I know Lou had more weapons around him getting stats, but pretty awesome nonetheless.

I'm really not sure what to make of this team's chances in the IVY. There seems to be enough talent for a 10-4 record, but there doesn't seem to be any offensive flow or chemistry. I think 7-7 is more realistic at this point, but with such an inexperienced team, things could quickly change.

Anonymous said...

My predictions:

1. Princeton
2. Harvard
3. Penn
4. Yale
5. Columbia
6. Brown
7. Dartmouth


- Also can’t rate Cornell. Not scared, honestly just don’t know.

- Princeton solidly first, Harvard a very distant second. Harvard has been blown out by every decent team they’ve faced and let an awful lot of questionable teams get close. So has Princeton, but they've beaten very good teams.

- Penn, Yale, and Columbia: true enigmas. Penn is just wildly inconsistent, but Bernardini’s comeback might be trouble. Until a couple of weeks ago, Yale played good teams tough and blew out weaklings (except those w/ former Ivy assistants as coaches). Is their recent losing streak due to a slump or is it an implosion? Columbia has had an easy schedule but IMHO only one bad game (Longwood). They played the toughest teams on their schedule close, leading LaSalle and St Johns for large portions of the game and taking Bucknell down to the wire.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Stakes are high for Princeton to win. This team is led by 2 seniors-- Marvaides and Maddox. PU takes a bit of a step back next season. Harvard returns everyone, so they'll be in the mix again next year. This is the year Princeton MUST win.

mrjames said...

Wroblewski could win the Ivy POY award. It's usually focused on league play more than the whole year, so he could go out and win it - especially if Cornell contends this year.

I believe the comment was regarding his status at the present. At present, he is not a POY candidate. He's played one great game, a few very good games while the rest were below average to stinkers.

The last two games fall in the great and very good category, so maybe he's turning a corner, but at this point, I would not consider his resume to be one of a POY contender.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

The voters don't think that way.

Anonymous said...

Maddox, Rosen, Wright.

Front runners right now.


The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Throw in Marvaides and Wroblewski.

Gotta think this is Wright's award to lose.

This is the first year of his career that he is healthy.

Anonymous said...

Harvard was only blown out by UConn, and it wasn't any worse than Princeton's loss at Duke. At George Mason they were without Casey, who's a huge wildcard in this whole thing because if he plays like he did down the stretch last year, Harvard's probably the favorite. Wright/Casey/Webster is probably the best scoring trio in the conference right now, and Rivard looks like a lock for ROY. Only question is that they're young and less experienced than the Princeton team, which could give them fits defensively. It's a two team race in my eyes for now.

Anonymous said...

By my recollection Ski has had a u-shaped performance; he did great when he came back from injury(that time when he made the honor roll), then he had a bad stretch, then he came back.

And of course, the definition of bad varies; bad for Ski is decent for most people. Most of his so-called "bad" games meant he had 13 or 14 points but went 1 of 5 from the arc or something, kinda like how "bad" for Witt meant 12 points instead of 24. Ski has had only had 2 single digit games (8, 9 pts at Cuse, BU), which is about as much as the other likely POY candidates have had.

Anonymous said...

I think Rivard and Cartwright might be neck-and-neck for ROY. Rivard relies heavily on treys, Cartwright seems to have a more varied arsenal.

welcome to the future said...

First Team
* Peck
* Wrobolewski
* Maddox
* Wright
* Casey

Second Team:
* Rosen
* Marvaides
* Agho
* Mangano
* Hummer

Honorable Mention
* B. Curry
* D. Ferry
* Rivard

Order of Finish
* Princeton
* Harvard
* Cornell
* Penn
* Columbia
* Yale
* Brown
* Dartmouth

Coach of Year
* Johnson

Player of Year
* Peck

Newcomer of Year
* Ferry

Anonymous said...

Also, there are actually a whole bunch of frosh averaging from 9 to 12 ppg right who have a POW and an honor roll appearance or two under their belts and shouldn't be considered out of the running just yet, like Brown's McGonagill and a couple of the Columbia frosh. Rivard has been more consistent than the rest lately and certainly seems poised to pull away from the pack. Frankoski mostly contributes treys but so does Rivard. McGonagill is his team's starting pg, a huge responsibility for a freshman, and is doing well averaging 9 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. And Cartwright already has three POWs.

Anonymous said...

Wow, welcome to the future may be stuck in the past, but if his/her predictions hold true, at this point, it would be a tremendous season for the Red.

Would love to see Peck explode....Ferry has been a great addition.

Anonymous said...

Rivard dropped 23 on BC tonight, very impressive win for the Crimson.

Anonymous said...

Re: Harvard over BC III.
Sloppy ball handling by the Eagles plus dead-eye FT shooting by the Crimson doomed the Eagles.

Great job, Harvard! Best Ivy non-conference WIN of the season.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Yale beat these guys as well.

Princeton's win at Tulsa is also of note.

Coach D has lost three games this year to teams that last year's Cornell team beat 5 times.

Anonymous said...

Actually not sure I would move Harvard up in my projections despite BC. I watched BC vs Harvard last year and said the same thing: BC was playing like they were afraid to lose. Not saying they won't beat us; just saying I still think they're a distant second.
If there's any lesson from this, it's that we better practice our FTs and try to reduce our fouling. Harvard shoots real well and fouls real little. Their lack of foul trouble is what got them out of Bryant alive. They still had fouls to give and kept fouling Bryant til their time ran out.

Anonymous said...

I like Cornell's chances against any Ivy League team. I am not saying Cornell will win every league game, but there is not such a huge disparity in talent between Cornell and other Ivy teams that Cornell could not make a run. Plus, its different in league play. The stakes are higher, and the rivalries are more intense, so you can't really look at non-league games and start predicting and comparing. So many Ivy League games come down to getting a stop or converting on a key possession or just making free throws. Look at Cornell v. Princeton (A) last year.

For Cornell, the bottom line is that guys have to guard better, make shots and make plays. You can scheme and coach all you want, but players still have to make shots and show the mental toughness necessary to win games.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what our chances are.
Last year we saw how Princeton started out awfully and coalesced by conference season. This year, we saw how Laurent Rivard started awfully and got better as time wore on. But Courtney never seemed to decide on a bench rotation so zero people on our bench have improved; they still look like highschoolers out there.

About 60% of our remaining disorder would be reduced if Aro & Coury have indeed improved and Groebe comes back from injury AS HIMSELF. I've liked what I've seen from Coury for 3 games now and I hope Aro's foul trouble vs Buffalo was an aberrant thing given he was a monster the two games prior to that. Groebe on a good day means our bench is 6-11 not 1-11. Then hopefully among the rest (PMac, Johnny, Gatlin, Tarwater) Courtney can make his mind up and the couple of people he chooses will get enough practice to get better before we're too far into the conference season to have control over own destiny.

Anonymous said...

An unfortunate quirk of league scheduling finds both the Big Red and the Lions on the road for five of their first six games.

For teams such as these, who are young or are still working on "finding themselves," playing their first pair of back-to-backs on enemy courts may cause the season to get out of control early on.