Ivy League Notes and Quotes

January 28th, 2011
With Ivy League become fully joined so to speak this weekend it's a good opportunity to take a look at the league to this point in the season. CHN writer Jon Teitel compiled some quotes from the coaches' midseason media teleconference a couple weeks ago, and those will be combined with notes and evaluations of each of the Ancient Eight. This weekend's schedule:

Friday, January 28th
7:00 PM Brown at Princeton
7:00 PM Cornell at Dartmouth
7:00 PM Columbia at Harvard
7:00 PM Yale at Penn

Saturday, January 29th
6:00 PM Cornell at Harvard
6:00 PM Yale at Princeton
7:00 PM Brown at Penn
7:00 PM Columbia at Dartmouth

Harvard (13-3, 2-0)
It's been a good season thus far for Tommy Amaker's Crimson, who boast wins over Boston College and Colorado not to mention a three-point loss at Michigan. Expected to be one of the contenders to win the league, Harvard has lived up to that status despite Kyle Casey missing four games due to injury. Freshman guard Laurent Rivard has been one of the reasons as to why, averaging 12.6 points per game. Forward Keith Wright leads Harvard in both scoring (14.3) and rebounding (8.3), and with four players in double figures Harvard is a difficult team to slow down offensively. Harvard leads the Ivy League in assists per game as well.

Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson on Harvard: "Harvard and Penn are the most talented teams from top to bottom, but everyone is playing good basketball."

Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier on Harvard: "I hope Harvard is the most talented team we face all year, because they are really, really good."

Columbia (11-5, 2-0)
The Lions have also gotten off to a good start, winning both meetings with Cornell to begin league play with a 2-0 record. As expected Norwua Agho has been the lead option offensively, averaging 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Kyle Smith's squad is the best rebounding team in the Ivy League, boasting a margin of plus-6.8 rebounds per game. Columbia's best non-conference victory may be a 74-71 win over Maine, who currently leads America East. Next up for the Lions is that trip to Harvard on Friday night, a significant step up in competition despite Cornell's status as three-time defending league champions.

Head coach Kyle Smith: "Noruwa Agho has been playing great. I have been really impressed with how he passes the ball, as he has changed from a scorer to a playmaker. It is hard to rebound when you are hurt and playing on back-to-back nights, but we have been emphasizing it in practice."

Yale (9-7, 2-0)
James Jones' team has won four straight, most recently sweeping a pair of games from Brown over the last two weeks. Center Greg Magnano has already won or shared three Player of the Week awards while Austin Morgan has one to his credit as well. Freshman Jeremiah Kreisberg has started six games, even winning the Rookie of the Week award for his play last week. Three Bulldogs average double figures, and just like their bitter rival they also own a victory over Boston College this season. Yale visits Penn and Princeton this weekend.

Head coach James Jones on Magnano: "Greg Mangano has been real important for us on both offense and defense: drawing double-teams, making good decisions, etc. It is kind of hard to say whether Greg is best big-man in conference, but if he is not the best then he is one of the best. "

Princeton (12-4, 0-0)
The Tigers have yet to enter league play but they've done a solid job of navigating their non-conference schedule. Forwards Ian Hummer and Kareem Maddox have both played well, each showing off the talent to earn postseason honors in the form of one of the All-Ivy teams. Four Tigers average from 13.1 to 13.8 points per game with Hummer and Maddox being two; the others are guards Dan Mavraides and Douglas Davis and the two forwards are also in the top five in the league in rebounding. Tops in the Ivy League in field goal percentage, Princeton also ranks well in the league with regards to both field goal and three point percentage defense. They get Brown and Yale this weekend, with the latter possibly being a big one if the Bulldogs arrive at Jadwin Gym 3-0 in league play.

Head coach Sydney Johnson on Ian Hummer: "Ian Hummer has gotten more comfortable this season, and has always had the enthusiasm."

Penn (6-8, 0-0)
Penn may have taken on the most ambition non-conference schedule, playing the likes of Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Big 5 rival Villanova, and while they didn't win any of those contests the experience of playing such competition could help them in league play. Zack Rosen and Jack Eggleston lead the way offensively and freshman guard Miles Cartwright has been a good addition to the rotation. But the Quakers will need to improve defensively if they're to contend as they're last in the Ivy in field goal percentage defense (47.3%) and sixth in three-point percentage defense (35.7%). Penn is also sixth in rebounding margin, meaning that they'll need to help out Eggleston (8.1 rpg) in this area as well. Conference play opens with a tough battle tonight as they host Penn at the Palestra.

Head coach Jerome Allen on Rosen: "Zack Rosen does everything for us, and is a great leader both on and off the floor. He wants to be coached and wants to get better."

Allen on Cartwright: "Miles Cartwright has done a tremendous job of blending in with the group on both ends of the court."

Allen on their early-season scheduling: "We do not schedule games to learn lessons. We schedule them to win. We are just trying to establish our identity on the defensive end, regardless of who we are playing. Our three games against Top 10 teams taught us that every possession counts."

Brown (7-9, 0-2)
Brown opened up league play with two games against Yale, dropping both by a combined 13 points, most recently falling 59-51 in New Haven last weekend. Four players average at least 9.4 points per game with senior Peter Sullivan's 13.6 leading the way. Sophomore Tucker Halpern has raised his scoring average three points this season and is shooting higher percentages from both the field and three. Brown's been a middle of the pack team in many of the major statistical categories, which could be an explanation for their current record. But they're also the worst three-point shooting team in the league, and they'll need to become more proficient in that department if they're to finish league play with a solid record. They'll visit Princeton and Penn this weekend, with the latter possibly being the better choice in regards to which game the Bears can win to earn a split.

Head coach Jesse Agel on his rotation: "It takes a village for us to be good. We do not have one specific guy who will carry us. When we win, we usually have 5-7 guys who play very well. It excites me that we still have not hit our peak yet, as we are getting better in every practice."

Agel on Sullivan's change in role: "Peter Sullivan has become more of a facilitator during the season, which is why his free throw attempts have gone down. He is still getting into the lane, but is just kicking it out to an open man once he gets there."

Cornell (4-12, 0-2)
The reigning three-time defending Ivy champs dropped a pair of tough games to Columbia in the beginning of their quest for a fourth crown, and their non-conference slate may have been a bit ambitious given the coach and roster turnover. First-year head coach Bill Courtney has a team that's finally approaching good health and in Chris Wroblewski one of the better guards in the Ivy League. Cornell is second in the league in three-point percentage but just seventh in overall field goal percentage (just 41.5% of their points come on two-point shots). Cornell visits Dartmouth tonight in a matchup of two 0-2 teams in league play and with Harvard on Saturday night the game against the Big Green becomes that much bigger.

Head coach Bill Courtney on Wroblewski: "It has been an adjustment for Chris Wroblewski, as he hurt his ankle early on and was a role player last year, but as of late he has been terrific."

Courtney on the season to date: "We have had some ups and downs, which were expected after losing so many seniors from last season, but we are as healthy as we have been since the start of the season. We have learned a lot about our strengths and weaknesses, both as players and coaches."

Dartmouth (4-12, 0-2)
In their first season under Paul Cormier the Big Green have struggled offensively, ranking at or near the bottom of the Ivy League in many of the major statistical categories. R.J. Griffin, David Rufful and Jabari Trotter all average nine points per game to lead the way but it's tough to win games consistently when as a team you average less than 59 points per game. It also didn't help matters that senior point guard Ronnie Dixon has missed the last six games with a broken hand, and the date of a possible return remains to be seen. Dartmouth's two league games came against Harvard, most recently losing by nine at Harvard last weekend. Just like Cornell the Big Green could have Friday's contest circled as an opportunity to get into the win column conference-wise.

Head coach Paul Cormier on Dixon: "Ronnie Dixon is an important asset to our team. He was starting to have a real good season before breaking his hand last month. One of our biggest weaknesses is shooting, as we seem to be rushing some of our shots. If we are not risking any further injury to Ronnie, we will put him back in there. He is a senior who deserves all the minutes he can get, but he will be out for the bulk of the season. He is only going to be able to play for 1/3 of the season, so it is a real shame."

Player of the Week History

11/15 F Keith Wright (Harvard)
11/22 G Christian Webster (Harvard) and G Austin Morgan (Yale)
11/29 Wright
12/6 F Ian Hummer (Princeton)
12/13 G Norwua Agho (Columbia) and F Kareem Maddox (Princeton)
12/20 Maddox
12/27 G Zack Rosen (Penn)
1/3 G Chris Wroblewski (Cornell)
1/10 Agho and C Greg Magnano (Yale)
1/17 Agho and Magnano
1/24 Magnano

Rookie of the Week History

11/15 G Miles Cartwright (Penn)
11/22 G Sean McGonagill (Brown)
11/29 Cartwright
12/6 G Laurent Rivard (Harvard)
12/13 G Steve Frankoski (Columbia)
12/20 F Gediminias Bertasius (Dartmouth)
12/27 Cartwright
1/3 Rivard
1/10 F Dockery Walker (Brown)
1/17 Rivard
1/24 F Jeremiah Kreisberg (Yale)