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.
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.
ALL-IVY FIRST TEAM
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.)
ALL-IVY SECOND TEAM
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.)
PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
MAKING A LIST
Best frontcourt: Harvard
Best backcourt: Penn
Coach on the rise: Penn's Jerome Allen
Coach on the hot seat: None
FACTS AND FIGURES
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