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Friday, January 28, 2005

Ivy Hoops Prognosis (And Predictions For This Weekend)

I've watched Princeton play three times in person and once on TV, I've seen Penn on TV a few times, and I've read reports about some of the other Ivies, so here's my updated Ivy hoops prognosis, in a very summary format (and click here for my exhaustive (and exhausting) post before the season about what I thought was going to happen):

1. Princeton.

Why they will win? Veteran leadership from returning first-team all-Ivy players Will Venable and Judson Wallace, as well as better outside shooting from soph SF Luke Owings and frosh SF Noah Savage. Junior PG Scott Greenman is about as clutch down the stretch as anyone in the Ivies, and the Tigers go about nine deep, and they play killer defense.

Why they might not? Foul trouble at the center and PF position, an injury there, or an epidemic of horrid shooting behind the three-point line. So-so rebounding also could hurt them in a key game.

2. Penn.

Why they could win the league? SF Tim Begley is one of the league's best (and perhaps even the best "Princeton-type" player in the league). 2G Ibby Jaaber is a real talent, F Mark Zoller has an extremely high basketball IQ, and soph center Steve Danley looks to be one of the most improved players in the Ivies. Penn has height, depth at the 4 and 5, and they can be deadly from behind the three-point line. They also rebound well. Talent abounds, but it hasn't totally jelled yet. If it jells, look out.

Why they might not? Penn hasn't won a league title under Fran Dunphy without a PG who can penetrate and create off the dribble. PG Eric Osmundsen is a solid PG, and he is a good shooter, but he's not a penetrator. Penn is thin at guard, and they are a little bit short on ball handling and could suffer against pressure from the opposing team. The inside players consist of three sophs and 1 junior, and they haven't proven a ton in key games just yet. Jaaber also hasn't played that well, given all the expectations, and if he doesn't step it up, he leaves Penn without a key option. Penn won't win if they don't develop a first option on offense. Begley looked to be the guy, but he's stepped back a bit lately. Lastly, when they don't shoot the three well, they look like a lost team.

3. Brown.

Why they might win it? PG Jason Forte is the returning Ivy Player of the Year, and Brown's supporting cast has proven better than many expected.

Why they might not? Until the Bruins play consistently well at both ends of the court, they will not win a title. Their defense always has been suspect, and they couldn't even win the league even when they had three first-team all-Ivy players (Forte, Earl Hunt and Ala Nuaatiliaa). They need to clamp down more on defense to win it all.

4. Columbia.

Why they might win it? They are the flavor of the season, they have some good players in Kravic and Preston, and they have a whole new attitude.

Why they might not? They're new to the Ivies' first division, and even if they get off to the start that Cornell did last year (which is doubtful), the Ivy men's hoops gravity pull that is Penn and Princeton will bring them back down to earth. Hard.

The rest:

5. Yale. Tons of talent (Edwin Draughan, Dominick Martin, Casey Hughes) but somehow the coaching style of James Jones has caused the Elis to regress. They have played some decent teams awfully tough this year, but come Ivy play they might well falter. Last year, they shot horribly from behind the arc. This year, what might befell them? On the other hand, this is the last hurrah for Draughn and PG Alex Gamboa, and with senior guards, lightning might strike. Given how rarely lightning strikes where you want it to, however, Yale will have to play consistently well over the next 7 weeks to be in contention. Easier said than done, especially given how frequently Jones substitutes players.

6. Cornell. A confounding team, one that seems to recruit well but then not to play well. Big Red could surprise, but it says here that after some seasons of hope they're a second-division squad.

7. Harvard. Decent big guys in Brian Cusworth (injury prone) and Matt Stehle, but guard and wing players seem to be a problem. Frank Sullivan can coach when he gets decent talent, but he hasn't been getting it enough in Cambridge.

8. Dartmouth. Long time gone from the Ivies' first division, and coach Terry Dunn knows full well (as should his recruits, who should get plenty of PT upon choosing Dartmouth) that he needs more talent to compete in the Ancient Eight.

This weekend's games should prove to be tough matchups for Penn and Princeton. Tonight, Penn hosts Yale and Princeton hosts Brown. Tomorrow night, vice versa. My predictions:

Friday

Penn 75 Yale 73
Princeton 58 Brown 50

Saturday

Penn 84 Brown 81
Princeton 62 Yale 52

For what it's worth. Penn sometimes can look smoother on offense than Princeton, but Princeton seems to be playing defense on a higher plane. Lastly, the difference between teams isn't all that great, and it wouldn't surprise me if one of the visitors gets a road win this weekend, but that's always easier said than done. Both Penn and Princeton are fresh and healthy, and both are playing with confidence.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sports Junky said...

I agree,

I love College Hoops. and recently I have bought stock in it. Not like real stock on Wall street, but a stock market that is strictly for sports.

You have seen it? Its pretty cool. You buy issues for your favorite teams and you make real money. Not like a fake stock simulator. I cash out Dividends each time the team wins. Also I can sell my team stock when the price goes up.

check it out if something like this interests you.
heres a link http://allsportsmarket.com
you can log in and check it out for free..

They just released IPOS for College Hoops this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

Hope that helps
-Erik

2:41 PM  

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