Coming into the season, Penn men's basketball had high hopes. Pundits picked the Quakers to finish second in the Ivy League, and they finished with two first-place votes in the Ivy League preseason poll. Yet 11 weeks into the regular season, Penn sits at 7-7, with a resume consisting of two conference losses to Princeton and a stinging loss to Saint Joseph's. With conference play heating up, here's how the rest of the Ivy League men's basketball teams stack up.
1. Yale (13-4, 1-0 Ivy)
Losing Miye Oni to the NBA draft was supposed to set Yale back significantly, but the Bulldogs have quietly put together a strong non-conference record. They have won 12 non-conference games, but they have close losses to high caliber teams like North Carolina and Penn State, both of which have been nationally-ranked at times this season. Junior forward Paul Atkinson and junior guard Azar Swain have put up big numbers for the Elis, and their convincing win of Brown only solidifies their status as top dog in the Ivy League.
2. Harvard (12-4, 1-0 Ivy)
The Crimson were the preseason darlings of Ivy sports columnists, but they haven't completely lived up to expectations. Harvard played a close game against then-No. 5 Maryland, but they also lost to two lower-level teams in Buffalo and Northeastern. This team is significantly better when Bryce Aiken plays, but the guard has only suited up seven times this season, and 2018 Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns is out for the year. If Aiken gets healthy and freshman Chris Ledlum continues to improve, though, this team has a chance to make a run to the NCAA Tournament.
3. Princeton (6-8, 2-0 Ivy)
The Tigers got off to a rough start, but they are starting to play their best basketball when it matters most. Princeton started the year 1-7 before rattling off back-to-back wins against Penn to start 2020. Ryan Schweiger has been extremely impactful in his third year of action, while highly-rated recruit Jaelin Llewellyn has steadily improved his shooting marks as the season has progressed. If the Tigers can stay hot from downtown, they could make some noise in March.
4. Penn (7-7, 0-2 Ivy)
No one expected Penn to be in the middle of the pack, but the Quakers just haven't played well as of late. They still have impressive wins against Alabama, Providence, and UCF, but bad losses to Lafayette, Rice, St. Joe's, and Princeton have the Red and Blue sitting at .500. Senior forward AJ Brodeur continues to lead the Quakers with 17.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, but freshman guard Jordan Dingle has cooled off a bit after a hot start to the season. Luckily for the Red and Blue, there is still plenty of time for Penn to improve their defensive play and climb back up the Ancient Eight standings.
5. Columbia (6-11, 1-0 Ivy)
Freshman guard and Pennsylvania native Jack Forrest recently helped the Lions start off conference play strong with a convincing victory over Cornell. The Lions have struggled in non-conference play, though they did play Wake Forest close in a 65-63 loss. It will be interesting to see how they continue to adjust without star guard Gabe Stefanini in the lineup for the foreseeable future.
6. Dartmouth (7-9, 0-1 Ivy)
The Big Green finished at the bottom of the Ivy League last season, posting a 2-12 record in conference play. This year, they have gotten off to a better start, with a dominant win over Buffalo and close losses against Vermont and Harvard. Junior forward Chris Knight continues to be the focal point of the Dartmouth offense, but the Big Green have a deep bench and could be a dark horse candidate to sneak into the Ivy League Tournament.
7. Brown (7-7, 0-1 Ivy)
The Bears didn't get off to a great start in conference play, falling hard in the second half against Yale. Brandon Anderson has stepped up big for Brown this season, averaging 19.1 points per game. His scoring is crucial for a team that is last in the Ivy League in shooting percentage and that is looking to replace Desmond Cambridge, who transferred this season to Nevada.
8. Cornell (3-11, 0-1 Ivy)
Nothing has gone right for the Big Red, a team that is struggling to cope with the loss of all-time leading scorer Matt Morgan. Cornell struggled mightily on the offensive end in its conference-opening loss against Columbia, fitting for a team with just two players averaging over 10 points per game. Jimmy Boeheim — the son of the legendary Syracuse basketball coach of the same name — has been the lone bright spot for the Big Red, and they will surely rely on him heavily down the stretch.
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