Recapping the news from a historic week in Ivy League basketball: Continue reading
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Like many other seniors in March after a loss that ended their collegiate careers, Brandon Sherrod fought back tears on the postgame NCAA Tournament podium as he was peppered with questions that ranged from inane to sentimental.
However, in Sherrod’s case it was tough to tell whether they were tears of sadness or joy. Knowing Sherrod and his story, I’m going with the latter.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Yale may have a $23 billion endowment (second to Harvard nationally), and if we were playing the Game of Life (still available at a store near you, I think), they would certainly be far from a cute underdog we love so much this time of year.
But if you’re around college basketball enough, you know a big-time program with the budget of a Central American country when you see one. And Yale ain’t it.
James Jones has had about enough of questions about the expulsion of captain Jack Montague. Which is somewhat understandable given that he has finally reached the pinnacle of his professional life, putting Yale, yes Yale, in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1962, and thereby drawing some national attention to the rest of his stellar record at a program that was struggling mightily before he got there a LONG time ago, at least in coaching terms.
But with every new development, and with very little transparency to be had from Yale, new questions develop. This week it was revealed that the sexual misconduct incident (described suspiciously as “unconsented-to sex”, according to Yale’s side at least) actually happened back in the fall of 2014, with the accuser coming forward a year later, just before this basketball season was to begin. Montague, predictably, has now sued Yale, over the process designed to protect everyone’s anonymity, but failing miserably on that front.
“I’ve been a head coach at Yale for 17 years,” Jones said Wednesday. “This is the first time we’ve made the tournament since 1962. We are one of the best defensive teams in the country. We are one of the best rebounding teams in the country. So I think that’s a great story. And I’d like to tell that one going forward. If anybody has any questions around those types of things, I’d love to answer those questions.”
Earlier this week, we published our picks for the Ivy League individual awards, and the conference announced its official selections. But I’ve been compiling shot location data for every team throughout Ivy play, which has allowed me to hand out some new extra-special bonus awards. These are the trophies that aren’t awarded in primetime, the small font that scrolls by before the commercial break. Presenting, the Shotties. Continue reading
As far back as last August, Yale coach James Jones said he wasn’t thinking about the gut-wrenching way in which the chance for his program to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 53 years was ripped from their clutches on a cold Saturday night in the forests of New Hampshire.
When Yale opened the 2015-16 season by destroying Fairfield, Jones reiterated that last year was gone, these were different players. But as Ivy League play was finally about to begin in January, really, you must be haunted by last year still, James?
PRINCETON, N.J. – Upon arrival at Dartmouth’s Leede Arena last Friday night, always helpful Yale Sports Information contact Tim Bennett came over to inform me that Jack Montague was not with the team for the weekend for “personal reasons”. I asked a couple of cursory questions, but that was it.
Odd, I thought. Montague had started 52 straight games and was the captain, a big deal at Yale, which only chooses one for each sport (and has a long history of doing so), meaning that Montague beat out Justin Sears for the coveted position. Personally, I had gotten to know him a bit over the last three years and before the Bulldogs went to Australia for the summer, chatted with him at length about his summer trip to Croatia and Serbia for his history class (secretly, I’m a history nerd when not chasing college basketball games in the winter).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There was a time not long ago when the vaunted Yale offense was not so vaunted. In their last two games before Christmas break, the Bulldogs put up 0.94 and 0.89 points per possession in losses to Illinois and USC.
Yeah, those are BCS schools, you say? Well, in the game after finals, Yale posted 0.97 ppp against Central Connecticut, who has spent some time at No. 351 in KenPom this season and whose defense has been in the bottom five in efficiency nationally all season. The Bulldogs still won that game handily and were in the other two thanks to its defense, tops in the Ivy League last season, and by all accounts, the backbone of its Ivy challenge this season.
What Happened Last Week: The top three contenders looked the part: Columbia stayed perfect, thanks to an Alex Rosenberg buzzer-beater. Yale did the same, but not without a scare from Princeton. Cornell got a surprising road sweep, while Harvard crashed and burned. Continue reading