The Ivy League became the last conference to add a postseason tournament to determine its automatic qualifier last season, but playing the four-team event may not have mattered. Not only did Princeton go 14-0 in the regular season, but the Tigers then won both tournament games to advance to the Big Dance, losing a close first round game to Notre Dame. Things are going to be a little different this season in the Ivy though.
Harvard has a lineup of players with enough experience and depth to be at-large bid worthy, though they will need to win games in November and December to get there. Don’t expect conference play to be a cakewalk, however, as Yale, Penn and Princeton all have dangerous lineups and should push the Crimson all season long. Below those top four, the bottom of the league should be better as well — as strides are being made at every school and enough talent exists that this has a chance to be a very fun season — especially with the eight teams playing for only four conference tournament spots.
Predicted Order of Finish
- Harvard – Despite only having two expected significant contributors who are juniors or seniors, the Crimson could be good enough to merit at-large consideration this season should they slip up in the Ivy League tournament. Sophomores Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns are legitimate scorers, there are multiple 6-10 players on the roster, and highly touted freshman Rio Haskett could take over the point after the graduation of Siyani Chambers.
- Yale – The Bulldogs have a handful of dangerous guards with Makai Mason back healthy joined by Miye Oni, Alex Copeland and Trey Phills. They probably have enough pieces in the frontcourt to contend as well, and should be the team to take the title if Harvard falters.
- Penn – The Quakers return four starters and get Antonio Woods back after he missed last season. Steve Donahue is in his third season in Philly and this could be the year he makes some serious noise in this conference as his team is deep and gained a ton of experience last season.
- Princeton – The Tigers won every game they played against Ivy League foes last season, and do return the backcourt tandem of Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens. However, they lost too many pieces in the frontcourt, including Spencer Weisz, to have that type of season again.
- Dartmouth – The Big Green should be much improved from last year’s 7-20 record, especially with junior Evan Boudreaux at forward and more experience and depth around him. Boudreaux is a double-double machine who finished second in the Ivy in scoring and first in rebounding last year. He could win both categories this time around.
- Cornell – The Big Red have a fascinating inside-outside pairing with Matt Morgan at guard and Stone Gettings at forward. The two combined to average over 30 points and 10 boards per game last year. Keep an eye on a freshman named Jimmy Boeheim too — his father is fairly well known in western New York.
- Columbia – The Lions will be a tough team to beat again this season, especially with Mike Smith in the backcourt, but it will be very tough for them to make up for the loss of Luke Petrasek up front.
- Brown – Despite having three starters back, the Bears lost their top two scorers from a team that only went 4-10 in Ivy League play. They are a real longshot to qualify for the Ivy League tournament this season, and a finish at the bottom of the standings would not be a shock.