Harvard and Yale have a lot of similarities. Both are among the nation’s least experienced teams, looking nothing like the squads that played in the last Palestra playoff two years ago. Both rely on athletic, highly touted underclassmen, and their best days are still ahead of them. But as they enter the first Ivy League Tournament, the rivals are going in very different directions. Continue reading
With the 14-game Ivy League season fully in the books, it’s time to unveil our picks for the individual awards. This was the most wide-open year I can remember in several categories, so if you think we’re wrong, you’re probably not the only one. Continue reading
Last Week in the Ivy League: Princeton survived a pair of scares to stay perfect. Harvard ended Yale’s two-year win streak in New Haven. After homages to The Palestra, the “ZombieQuakers” finally rose. And we reached the halfway point of Ivy play, which means it’s time for our annual per-possession rankings: Continue reading
If you looked closely at Lee Amphitheater Saturday night, you could see into the future. And you didn’t even need a Delorean to do it.
Harvard ended Yale’s 22-game, two-year long home winning streak in impressive fashion, 75-67, before a sellout crowd that was into the game from the opening tip. The Crimson (14-7, 6-2, identical to Yale) were led by freshman Bryce Aiken with a career-high 27 points. Like most freshmen, Aiken has had some growing pains this season, but Saturday his full array of talent that ACC and Big East schools wanted was on display: shooting, getting to the rim, putting opponents on skates (as the kids say these days), even a four-point play from the corner that was huge in the Harvard victory.
Aiken, of course, is just one piece of a freshman class that includes Chris Lewis, Justin Bassey, and Seth Towns (who all started Saturday while Aiken did not). Sophomore Corey Johnson added 12 points for Harvard as well.
It was every Columbia fan’s recurring nightmare: Siyani Chambers was dribbling down the left-hand side of the court as the final seconds ticked away. And as he took a three from the left wing, the crowd at Levien Gymnasium collectively held its breath. Continue reading
Tommy Amaker has taken Harvard – a program where basketball success was not only non-existent, but largely unfathomable – to four NCAA Tournaments, actually winning games in two, over the last six seasons. Prior to last season, he had led the Crimson to six straight 20-win seasons, five consecutive Ivy League titles, and a 59-15 league record.
So while no one is immune from any questioning or criticism of his methods or substitution patterns, certainly Amaker has more than earned the benefit of the doubt.
But coming off a 14-16 (6-8 Ivy) season, where the Crimson lost seven of eight conference games at one point, Harvard still looks to be a work in progress. It was picked second in the Ivy League largely due to a heralded recruiting class, but mixing and matching the new guys with the veterans has proven problematic with only five players allowed on the court at one time per current basketball rules.
What Happened Last Week: Games started, but not before a season-changing injury. Yale upset another pack of Huskies despite missing two top players. Princeton fell short at BYU, and Harvard lost to Stanford on the other side of the world. Penn and Columbia looked like playoff contenders. Continue reading
The first four times Harvard’s season began with a “Crimson Madness” showcase, it ended in the NCAA tournament. But at the fifth annual event last Friday night, with only one of last year’s top six scorers in uniform, the mood was more speculative than celebratory.
With the 14-Game Tournament officially wrapped (even though a 15th game is still pending), it’s time for our panel of me, John, and Ray to announce our Ivy League individual awards. Continue reading