Ivy League Conference Report - First Six
College basketball is approaching
the end of the early season games and is about to enter the conference season.
Which means everyoneís favorite high profile, low skills league is about to
commence with the smart kid-on-smart kid beatdowns. Thatís right, Iím talkiní
about the Ivy League, the Ancient Eight, the Last Amateurs, Black Mamba, or the
Ocho. Whatever you call it, itís about to hit the fan in it. But to see whoís
got the momentum heading into the league games, letís look back on what happened
in the first month and a half.
'''Team With The Best Six
Okay letís be honest. Thereís not much to pick from here.
Only three teams are at .500 or better as of today, but none of them have been
incredibly impressive. League favorite Cornell is 4-3 after playing no defense
against Bucknell last night. Losing to the Bison by double digits is pretty bad,
as this is not the Bucknell of two years ago, but losing to Colgate at home is
worse. Brown is 5-4 and doesnít have any bad losses. They did get crushed by
Michigan on the road, but that was before Michigan realized that they suck (and
subsequently lost to Harvard). However, they donít have anything special in the
win column either. The Bears won on the road against Northwestern, or as I call
them, Michigan lite, and beat Quinnipiac in overtime. Then thereís Dartmouth, who
is at 5-5 after getting pounded by Quinnipiac last night. In the other column,
the Green have a road victory over Colgate, a one point win against Vermont, and a
blowout against the Webster College Fighting Emmanuelle Lewises. In the end, Iím
going to have to go with '''Dartmouth''' as the team of the first six weeks.
With five wins, theyíre already more than halfway to equaling last yearís
'''Team With The Worst Six Weeks'''
Thereís a weird
coincidence going on with the teams at the bottom of the league table.
Apparently, the Ivy League schools with the worse records played more high profile
games and better teams. Who knew? Anyway, of the five teams with losing records,
Columbia, at 4-6, has some not-too-bad wins over Delaware State and Wagner,
despite being de-stroyed by Albany. And, unlike Cornell so far, theyíve also
played most of their games on the road. Yale, at 3-6, has no impressive wins and
most of its losses have come against very good teams. The one that wasnít so good
came against Boston U., as it happened in a sport not played on ice by people with
mullets. So the Jones brothers can relax, their teams are still in good shape
going into league play. Harvard, meanwhile, isnít doing so well. Sure, they were
predicted to finish towards the bottom of the league with Dartmouth, but their
early schedule isnít nearly as tough as some of the other teams and theyíre still
only at 4-9 so far. In the first year of Tommy Amakerís giant step backwards, the
Crimson have lost to several teams its conference rivals beat (Lehigh, Long
Island, Vermont, and Boston U) making for a horrible start to the season. Amaker
did get some matter of revenge in a double digit home win over Michigan, and that
has saved everyoneís least favorite school from having an atrocious start to the
So now weíre down to the traditional powers, who have a combined 6
wins at this points in the season. Sure P & P play much tougher schedules than
every other team in the Ivy due to their high profiles, but each has at least one
terrible, horrible, no good very bad loss. Princeton is 2-8 with all their losses
coming in the last 8 games. Granted, some of the losses were to very good teams
(Duke and Seton Hall) and some pretty good teams (Rutgers and Arizona State). The
rest, however, you might not want to talk about. Losses to Penn State,
Evansville, and worst of all, a loss to Division II Chaminade in the last place
game of the Maui Invitational. It was only Chaminadeís fifth win in the history
of the tournament. However, Chaminade was playing on their home court and
Princeton was playing for the third straight day after losing to Devils both Blue
and Sun. Which is why '''Penn''' receives the title of worst start to the
season. Sure, they won tonight to improve to 4-7 after beating Elon tonight, and
their schedule has been tough, including a home loss to North Carolina. However,
there was another team that Penn lost to at home that isnít quite as good as the
Tar Heels. Thatís right, the Penn Quakers, the class of the Ivy League for the
past three plus years, lost on their home court to Howard. Let that sink in.
Howard, a team that is routinely in the bottom of the MEAC, a conference that is
routinely in the bottom of the conference RPI, beat Penn in Philly. Unlike
Princeton regarding Chaminade, Penn has no excuse for falling to Howard. Iíd say
that hopefully the Quakers can pull it together come the new year, but I donít. I
hate them, and I hope they continue to fail.
'''Player of the First Six
This title comes down to a battle between two tweeners:
Dartmouthís Alex Barnett and Cornellís Ryan Wittman. They are numbers 2 and 3 in
the Ivy League in scoring at 16.0 and 15.3 points per game respectively. In terms
of rebounds, Barnett pulls down an average of only one rebound a game (6.7 to 5.7
rpg). They both have high field goal percentages (52.7% for Barnett, 54.2% for
Wittman). Now hereís where they differ. Barnett leads the Ivy League in blocked
shots with 17 for an average of 1.89 a game. Quite impressive for a guy whoís
only 6-6. But Iím giving this award to '''Ryan Wittman''' for two reasons.
One, I already gave Dartmouth an award earlier and I feel I need to share the
love. And two, Wittman has been unstoppable from beyond the arc. Heís shooting
54.8% from three point range, which leads the league. And before the Bucknell
game, he was shooting 60.6% from three. In addition, he leads the league in three
pointers per game with 3.28. The next closest, Brownís Damon Huffman, only
averages 2.67. Oh yeah, and going back to three point percentage, Wittman is 15th
in the country in that category, leading such big names as Oregonís Malik Hairston
and Oklahomaís Tony Crocker. Now thatís how the Ivy does it.
There are a few more non-conference games before the Ivy
League season really gets underway. Here are the ones to keep an eye on, complete
with snarky comments.
'''Cornell at Syracuse, 12/22'''
battle of colors. Now that Navy finally beat Notre Dame, this could now be the
most lopsided rivalry in college sports. The Orange just became a very young team
after losing Eric Devendorf, and they have been quite unpredictable this season,
losing to two A-10 schools in UMass and Rhode Island. But donít expect an upset.
Just wait until lacrosse season. Or, now that Greg Robinson was inexplicably
given another year as Orange football coach, Cornell could beat them there
'''Columbia at Villanova, 12/22'''
The Lions could make a
statement here, but wonít.
'''Yale at Kansas, 12/29'''
nothing to do with the game or even basketball, but did you ever see that picture
of Mark Mangino with Obie, the Orange Bowl mascot? Here it
'''Dartmouth at Siena, 12/31'''
Siena beat Stanford, but lost to
Cornell. Letís see if the Green can match the Red.
'''Cornell at Duke,
The Crazies will need the weeks off to cope with Dukeís loss to Pitt
and the loss of Dick Vitaleís unequivocal love for the year.
Heh heh. I wonder what Longwoodís nickname is. Oh waith,
I know, itís '''[censored by editor]'''.
So that wraps up the Ivy
League so far. Unfortunately, it looks like whoever wins this year will be sent
to the play-in game vs. Alabama A&M come tournament time. Oh, well. Iíll see you