For the 18th straight season, Yale will finish in the top half of the Ivy League. Miye Oni lifted the Bulldogs (7-5) to an 83-73 victory at Columbia (5-7) on Saturday, continuing one of the Ancient Eight’s most remarkable streaks and clinching a spot in the four-team conference tournament. Continue reading
One of the benefits of having nearly two decades of experience in charge for Yale coach James Jones is to let other people do the worrying about his team for him.
Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were 2-4 in Ivy League play and appeared to have a very good chance of missing the Ivy League Tournament, despite the fact Yale was picked to win the conference in preseason. Injuries to Makai Mason and Jordan Bruner changed those plans a bit, but Jones and Yale have finished in fourth or better in Ivy play for an amazing 17 straight seasons.
Yale freshman Paul Atkinson picked up his second foul five minutes into Friday night’s game in Albany, and as per James Jones’ custom, Atkinson was immediately banished to the bench for the rest of the half.
Except who to replace him with? What would have been the starting center – sophomore Jordan Bruner – is out for the year with a knee injury. Fellow sophomore Austin Williams, who played sparingly last season but is it at least 6-foot-8, 235 pounds, is out as well. Replacing the likes of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod is obviously darn near impossible, but recent history has shown that last year’s No. 5 Sam Downey was also extremely underappreciated.
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