On Nov. 20, Princeton went to Lehigh and muddled its way through a mediocre performance, eventually getting nipped at the wire by a seemingly more motivated Lehigh team, 76-67. There were plenty of excuses to be had: the Tigers had just flown back from Utah and a season-opening loss to BYU, they had a poor shooting night, they were trying to figure some things out. Continue reading
Historians like to talk about the moments that changed the world, the ripple effect of small pieces of time and seemingly small twists of fate that eventually led to something much larger.
Sports are a microcosm of life, at least sometimes. So consider this: with 2:33 left in Saturday’s first Ivy League Tournament (ever) semifinal, a red-hot Ryan Betley lined up for an open three-pointer. At the time, he was 7-9 from the field, 2-3 from behind the arc, and the shot looked good from the time it left his hand.
Already leading 57-53 and with The Palestra crowd ready to explode, it might have been the fatal blow to the game and Princeton’s NCAA Tournament hopes, despite a 17-game win streak and a perfect 14-0 conference regular season record. It have turned the heat up on an already ready to boil debate about the merits of the Ivy Tournament and the now kinetic rather than potential inequities that lie within it.
You might be surprised to find out that no one truly knows who the Murphy actually is behind Murphy’s Law, and there are plenty of tenured Ivy League professors who would be happy to debunk it for you with evidenced-based research.
Now the karma police? That might be another story.
Regardless of what supernatural forces you think guide the universe, the optics of the race for the final spot of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament devolving into chaos are quite striking. Two decades after every other conference in America figured it would take the money and attention that a conference final on national television brings, the Ivy League finally comes kicking and screaming to the table next week at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
Yale has had plenty of opportunities to make excuses this season if it wanted. Loss of three starters (all post players) to graduation? Sure. Preseason Ivy League Player of the Year Makai Mason (who only scored 31 in an NCAA upset of Baylor last March) gone with a broken foot in the preseason? Yeah, that works. Teams and opposing crowds taking aim at the current kings of the Ivy League? Why not? Letdown after finally breaking through to the NCAA Tournament after 54 years? Could make a case.
Except Yale doesn’t just not want to hear it, they’re taking those potential alibis and shoving them down the throat of the Ivy League in 2016-17. With a hard-fought, but impressive 87-78 win at Columbia, the Bulldogs are not only 4-1 in conference play, but if it gets a win Saturday night in Ithaca over Cornell, would be 5-1 with six of their remaining eight regular season contests in the friendly confines of Lee Amphitheater, where all the Bulldogs have done is won 21 straight games.
If you’re surprised that Yale looks like it will be in the Ivy League hunt once again until the end, they’re not. And they’re curious why you would be.
Two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Justin Sears is gone. Brandon Sherrod is no longer in a Yale uniform. Neither are Nick Victor, Khaliq Ghani, and, yes, Jack Montague. Continue reading
Makai Mason sat recounting in amazement people he did not know recognizing him on streets and in places he rarely frequented last Saturday night after Yale began its 2016-17 campaign with its annual “Blue Madness” exhibition for its fans. Continue reading
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Most economists and game theorists are adamant that “house money” is a fallacy. No matter how much of a run you’re on or how much you have exceeded what you started with, it makes no sense to risk what you have blindly with little hope of increasing your lot. Continue reading
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.”
With the Ivy League’s 14-Game Tournament fully complete, it’s officially awards season. Here are our picks for the Ancient Eight’s individual honors, determined by our esteemed panel of Ray, John and me. If you think we’re wrong, tell us why! Continue reading