Although the Penn men's basketball team is the preseason favorite to win the Ivy League championship for the third straight year, the Quakers stand to face stiff competition from a number of teams. "Everybody is going to make some noise this year," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think each game will be very tough, and I think anybody can step up and have a good season." Here's a closer look at the Ancient Eight. Brown Coach: Glen Miller 1999-2000 record: 8-19, 4-10 Ivy Key returning players: So. F Earl Hunt; So. F Alaivaa Nuualiitia; Jr. G Jesse Wood; Jr. F Josh Meyer Outlook:Brown has not defeated the Quakers since February 1991, a span of 18 consecutive games. That could all change this year with the return of sophomores Hunt and Nuualiitia. Hunt ranked second in the league in scoring last year at 17.0 points per game, while Nuualiitia put up 13.3 ppg and 6.6 rebounds per game. The Bears also welcome back forward Shawn Etheridge, who was the team's top scorer going into last season but missed much of the '99-'00 campaign with a broken foot. In the backcourt, the Bears will rely on Wood, who sank 51 three-pointers last season. Point guard Omari Ware is probably Brown's best athlete and should start. "Brown made a significant impact in the Ivy League last year and should continue that this year," Dunphy said. Columbia Coach: Armond Hill 1999-2000 record: 13-14, 7-7 Key returning players: Jr. F Craig Austin; Jr. F Joe Case; Jr. F/C Mike McBrien; So. C Chris Wiedemann. Outlook:Columbia looked to have all five of its starters returning, but a preseason injury to senior guard Treg Duerksen dashed those hopes. Still, the Lions have a formidable team led by Austin, who was the first Columbia player to be named first team All-Ivy since 1993. Austin averaged 14.2 points per game and will be joined in the frontcourt by Wiedemann, who tallied 10.2 ppg last year, and Case, who grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game. The backcourt is now weaker without Duerksen, but juniors Victor Munoz and Derrick Murphy, who split time at point guard last season, will both play now. "It's a shame about Duerksen," Dunphy said. "But they still have one of the better players in the league in Austin, so he'll be able to help them compete." Cornell Coach: Steve Donahue 1999-2000 record: 10-17, 3-11 Key returning players: Sr. F Ray Mercedes; Jr. F Greg Barratt; Jr. G Wallace Prather; Sr. G Kevin Cuttica; So. G David Muller Outlook: If one team might have an advantage over Penn, it could be Cornell. That's because first-year coach Steve Donahue was the Quakers' assistant for 10 seasons. "I think Cornell will be improved," Dunphy said. "I think if those guys buy into what coach Donahue is teaching, they will have a good team." Donahue inherits the last-place team in the Ivies, but with four of their top players returning, the Big Red should improve. Mercedes leads the way. Last season he led the team in points at 14.8 per contest. Prather anchors the Big Red backcourt. He was second on the team in scoring last season with 12.7 points per game and first in assists and steals with 3.4 and 2.0 per game, respectively. Muller, who averaged 4.9 points per game last year, will join Prather at guard. Dartmouth Coach: Dave Faucher 1999-2000 record: 9-18, 5-9 Key returning players: Sr. G Greg Buth; Jr. G Flinder Boyd; Sr. F Ian McGinnis; Jr. F Vedad Osmanovic Outlook: Dartmouth will miss graduated forward Shaun Gee and his 18.1 points per game, but the Big Green expect big things from McGinnis at center. He led the nation in rebounding as a sophomore with 12.2 per game and is third all-time with 768 boards at Dartmouth. The Big Green might have the best backcourt in the league. At point guard, Boyd tallied 6.96 assists per game, which was good for 11th in the nation. At the other guard position, Buth will try to improve upon his 16.9 points a game average to make up for the departed Gee. "Dartmouth is going to be improved," Dunphy said. "I don't think you're going to see Dartmouth go 5-9. The fact that they lost Gee is one thing, but I like their first five guys." Harvard Coach: Frank Sullivan 1999-2000 record: 12-15, 7-7 Key returning players: Sr. F Dan Clemente; Jr. G Andrew Gellert; So. G Elliott Prasse-Freeman Outlook: Of all of the Ivy teams, Harvard gave the Quakers their biggest scare last season, as the Crimson lost by only one point when the teams met in Boston last February when Clemente's buzzer-beater attempt bounced away. The Crimson will be strong again this year despite losing two big scorers in Tim Coleman and Damien Long. Clemente was named first team All-Ivy last season even though he missed 11 games with a detached retina. His 18.6 points per game would have led the Ivy League, had he not missed those games. Harvard also boasts the league assists leader in Prasse-Freeman and steals leader in Gellert. "Harvard has some really good perimeter guys," Dunphy said. "I like how they approach the game." Princeton Coach: John Thompson III 1999-2000 record: 19-11, 11-3 Key returning players: Sr. G C.J. Chapman; Jr. G Ahmed El-Nokali; Jr. G/F Eugene Baah; Jr. F Nate Walton. Outlook: When Michael Jordan and Matt Langel graduated in May, Princeton seemed to have an inside track on the league title. But then something went terribly wrong at Old Nassau. Instead of losing just Mason Rocca to graduation, first team All-Ivy center Chris Young left to play pro baseball and guard Spencer Gloger transferred to UCLA. All of a sudden, the Tigers went from being a sure title contender to being a team with a lot of question marks. On the bright side, guards Chapman and El-Nokali should provide some stability in the backcourt. Last season, Chapman put up 8.0 points a game while El-Nokali tallied 6.9. Chris Krug returns after missing a year in the frontcourt, and he will be joined by Nate Walton, who averaged 4.4 rebounds per game during the '99-'00 season. "I don't think you can ever discount Princeton just because of who they are and the winning tradition that they have," Dunphy said. Yale Coach: James Jones 1999-2000 record: 7-20, 5-9 Key returning players: So. G Chris Leanza; Sr. C Neil Yanke Outlook: The Elis are the Ivy League's youngest team, welcoming six newcomers. But Yale might have lost its chance at contending for a title when Onaje Woodbine decided to quit the team to pursue his studies. However, Leanza and Yanke might lead this team to surprise some in the league. Last season, Leanza averaged 12.3 ppg, while Yanke pulled down 7.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Isaiah Cavaco missed most of last season but had a good sophomore campaign and looks to contribute this year. Freshmen Matt Minoff and Paul Vitelli could see early action in the backcourt if Cavaco should falter. Sophomore forward Bill Parkhurst is the only other Eli besides Yanke and Leanza to have seen significant action last season and is expected to have a good year.Comments powered by Disqus
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