Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ivy League Season Preview from

We continue with our league breakdowns for the upcoming season; we'll work backward from league No. 32 to our top-ranked league. The breakdowns will become more in-depth as the leagues get bigger.

20. IVY
By David Fox

The Ivy League is the only Division I conference without a league tournament, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been postseason drama.

Two seasons ago, Cornell beat Temple and Wisconsin on the way to the Sweet 16; those were the Ivy's first NCAA tournament wins 1998. Last season, Cornell was out of the picture, but Harvard and Princeton took the spotlight with a race that extended beyond the regular season. Princeton denied Harvard its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946 with a 63-62 win in a one-game playoff. Princeton then put a scare into Final Four-bound Kentucky in a 59-57 loss.

The Crimson, ranked 35th, was the only team in the RPI top 40 not to make the NCAA field.

Harvard is hoping to end its tournament drought with four returning starters, including reigning Ivy player of the year Keith Wright. The Crimson also added a rare top-100 recruit for the Ivy League by signing four-star F Wesley Saunders.

But Harvard could have a different challenger for the league title. Princeton hired Mitch Henderson, a Northwestern assistant, to replace coach Sydney Johnson, who left for Fairfield. F Ian Hummer and G Douglas Davis are back, but the Tigers must replace standouts Kareem Maddox and Dan Mavraides.

Penn, which won the league seven times from 1999-2007, is starting to rebuild under Jerome Allen. The Quakers may have the league's best guard in Zack Rosen. Yale has the Ivy's longest-tenured coach in James Jones, who has been there since 1999. The Bulldogs return big man Greg Mangano, who toyed with entering the NBA draft after averaging a double-double last season.

In the bottom half of the league, Brown is a team to watch. The Bears featured the league's top freshman last season in G Sean McGonagill and add another top freshman in Brazilian big man Rafael Maia, who played at Maine Central Institute.

C Greg Mangano, Yale (6-10/240, Sr.)
F Keith Wright, Harvard (6-8/240, Sr.)
G Noruwa Agho, Columbia (6-3/220, Sr.)
G Zack Rosen, Penn (6-1/170, Sr.)
G Chris Wroblewski, Cornell (6-0/180, Sr.)

F Kyle Casey, Harvard (6-7/225, Jr.)
F Ian Hummer, Princeton (6-7/226, Jr.)
G/F Tyler Bernardini, Penn (6-6/210, Sr.)
G Brandyn Curry, Harvard (6-1/195, Jr.)
G Sean McGonagill, Brown (6-1/180, Soph.)

Player of the year: Harvard F Keith Wright
Newcomer of the year: Brown C Rafael Maia (6-9/230, Fr.)

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

Best frontcourt: Harvard
Best backcourt: Penn
Coach on the rise: Penn's Jerome Allen
Coach on the hot seat: None

New coach: Princeton's Mitch Henderson (had been assistant at Northwestern)
Regular-season winner last season: Princeton
Tourney winner last season: No league tourney
League RPI rank in each of past 3 seasons: 15th in 2010-11, 22nd in 2009-10, 30th in 2008-09
Last NCAA tourney win by a league team: 2010, Cornell in the second round as a No. 12 seed


Anonymous said...

If Brown finishes mired deep in the second division (with 10-12 overall W's) for the fourth straight year, you have to think Agel might begin to feel a little heat. There has been no upward trend.

Anonymous said...

Difficult to believe that Bernardini gets onto Team II ahead of Barbour.

Hahvahd brings back four starters? I think they bring back five starters plus their sixth man.

Best Frontcourt (by a whisker): Yale
Best Backcourt (by five miles): Hahvahd

Anonymous said...

I don't buy the head for Angel. He really hasn't been there that long. When he came in, the cubbord was bare. McAndrew and Huffman had left. Yes, Mullery was there, I know... But now he's bringing in better talent... Sean McGonigal and Stephen Albrech. Give him a shot to build. Heck, look at what Donahue did at Cornell after the amount of years that Angel was at Brown.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

His name is Jesse Agel, and right now his job is quite secure. Brown's has quietly brought in some nice talent.

People need to remember that the league favorite, Harvard, has the second most tenured staff. This is Amaker's 5th year. The first two seasons were not winning years and were consecutive 6th place finishes in the Ivy League.

It sometimes take 3+ years to get your system in place. In the case of Donahue, it took him about 6 years, but he was trying to break a Penn/Princeton stranglehold on the league.

So long as Brown doesn't come in last place, Agel's job is fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I’m not an Agel-hater and I’m not IvyHoopsOnLine (they aree with me), either. The records make my case. Look below:
Yr.. .. .CoachD.. .. .. .CoachA
0.. ..3-11 (7-20)
1.. ..2-12 (5-22).. .. ..3-11 (9-19)
2.. ..4-10 (9-18).. .. ..5-9 (11-20)
3.. ..6-8 (11-16).. .. ..4-10 (11-17)

Steve Donahue came to Cornell in Sep-2000, in the middle of the year, with no opportunity to bring in any new recruits for the season that started in two months. That makes his first year a Year 0. Jessie Agel came to Brown on a normal cycle.

For Year 1, Steve Donahue recruited Cody Toppert, Eric Taylor, and Chris Vandenburg, a trifecta that most agree would have had Cornell in the thick of things their sophomore years, if Chris had been healthy. Inspiteof Chris’s injuries, there was steady improvement. Ivy ROY Lenny Collins sure helped in Year 2. Agel had one of those in Year 3 and he went backwards. Brown has no senior class this year, representing the fruits of Agel’s first recruiting year.

As for comparison at the end of Year 3, both were 12-30 in the league, and both had lost a total of 56 games, but half of Donahue’s league wins came in Year 3. Agel regressed. Look at the non-conference schedule and you’ll find that Agel schedules lollipops and cannot beat them. Brown’s pre-season slate is loaded with pushovers again this year! Donahue was scheduling Notre Dame, Syracuse, Georgia Tech (in its Final Four year), Richmond, James Madison, LaSalle, Vermont, Bucknell (the year before they beat Kansas in the NCAA tournament), and New Mexico (in the Pit).

In Year 4, Donahue finished alone in second place in the League. What I said was that if Agel finishes deep in the second division in Year 4, his seat will get warm. If Donahue had finished 7th in his Year 4, he just might have had a warm seat, too. But, he didn’t. Does anyone out there think Agel has an Ivy first division club for 2011-12? I didn’t think so, and I agree.

A deeper examination of the way Agel’s team plays is very troubling, too. They love to play offense and do it well, but they do not hustle. Check the stat sheets. They play lousy defense and they don’t hit the boards. Until the players start doing the dirty of work of D-1 basketball, Brown is going to be a losing program, and the annual upset of Princeton is no longer going to be enough to keep Agel’s seat from getting warm.

Anonymous said...

Brown wont fire Agel, they would just not renew his contract. Remember last year Brown put out that big article out how tight their athletic budget was

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with not firing Agel. Isn't his contract up after the 2012-13 season? That's soon enough to take action.

If the Bears really want a winning basketball program (aha!?!?!), and Brown finishes sixth or seventh in the League this year, the AD just has to remember not to make the mistake of extending him. Other than a couple upsets of Princeton (not enough), he has not produced in the W/L column, where it really counts.

OTOH, if Brown goes (7-7, ~17-14) this year, that should be enough to make one rethink this.