Four Thoughts On The NIT Bracket

The NIT bracket is out. I did alright projecting the bracket this season, missing just two teams (Stanford and BYU), both of which I thought had a good shot of being in the field. I had 17 teams seeded exactly correct with another nine within one line. Overall I finished right in the middle of the pack among an extremely competitive field of five NIT bracketologists this season. Continue reading

#2 Penn 68, #1 Harvard 65: Quakers Are Dancing Again

For one of the league’s traditional powers, Penn’s last decade was utterly forgettable. The Quakers went 10 seasons without a title or an NCAA tournament appearance, the longest such streak in program history, finishing above .500 only once in that span. But that era fully closed on Sunday, when Penn beat Harvard, 68-65, to punch its ticket back to the Big Dance. Continue reading

Everything Comes Together For UMBC

Like many of Shaka Smart’s recruits after his Final Four run, Jairus Lyles came to VCU with many stars next to his name and national rankings not usually associated with mid-majors.

But the 2013-14 campaign was mostly frustrating for Lyles, as he scored only 13 points all season. Lyles decided – like many players – that he would like to have a chance to be on the court more than not, so he transferred to Robert Morris, joining up with what would have been an NEC powerhouse. After his first semester there, though, he missed home (Silver Spring, Md.) and he left that program without ever suiting up in a regular season game.

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Ivy League Tournament Mini-Preview: #1 Harvard vs. #2 Penn

After a downright weird regular season, the Ivy League Tournament has given us a very normal final: #1-seed vs. #2-seed, co-champion vs. co-champion, Player of the Year against the presumed runner-up. Harvard and Penn split the season series, with each team winning in its home gym — and the rubber match will be at The Palestra, making the Quakers a small favorite on paper. Continue reading

#2 Penn 80, #3 Yale 57: Quakers Roll Into Ivy Final

Penn throttled Yale from start to finish on Saturday, cruising to an 80-57 win in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal. The Quakers are now 40 minutes from their first NCAA tournament bid in 11 years, and everything is lined up in their favor heading into tomorrow’s championship game — the culmination of three years of improvement under Steve Donahue. Continue reading

#1 Harvard 74, #4 Cornell 55: Juzang, Crimson Outshoot Big Red

When he was a freshman, Christian Juzang watched all of Harvard’s first-ever Ivy League Tournament game from the bench. As the team’s fourth-string point guard (and the least-heralded of seven rookies in the Crimson’s nationally ranked recruiting class), Juzang didn’t play a meaningful minute in league play, and he could only watch as his team’s NCAA tournament hopes were dashed in an upset loss to Yale. Continue reading