Penn men's basketball dropped two conference matchups in New England this past weekend, setting the team back heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. If the season ended today, the Quakers would miss the Ivy Tournament for the first time in team history. Here's how Penn stacks up against Ivy competition this week.
1. Yale (20-6, 8-2 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 1
Coming off of their second conference loss of the season to Penn, the Elis survived a double-overtime scare against Cornell on Friday night, 81-80. Junior forward Paul Atkinson actually had two chances to ice the game in the first overtime period, but he bricked both free throws. Luckily, freshman guard August Mahoney drove to the rack and finished strong with two seconds left to push the Bulldogs over the top. Yale handled Columbia, 83-65, on Saturday, and they can clinch an Ivy Tournament berth with a win over Penn this Friday or a win over Princeton on Saturday.
2. Harvard (18-7, 7-3 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 4
The Crimson are one of the hottest teams in the Ancient Eight, and they picked up two big wins this past weekend. On Friday, Harvard edged Princeton, 61-60, in a game that went down to the final play. They continued their strong play on Saturday, topping Penn, 69-65, despite trailing the Quakers by six at halftime. Sophomore guard Noah Kirkwood scored 30 points over the weekend, and senior forward Chris Lewis stepped up big for the Crimson. Harvard travels to Columbia and Cornell this weekend, needing one win and one Penn loss to clinch a tournament berth.
3. Princeton (12-11, 7-3 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 2
Splitting each of their last three weekends, the Tigers have cooled off after a 4-0 start in Ivy play. Princeton dropped their third conference game of the season to Harvard on Friday — a game the Tigers bungled on the final play of the game. Princeton turned it around on Saturday, edging Dartmouth, 65-62. Though the Tigers haven't clinched an Ivy tournament spot yet, they are in good shape because they hold the tiebreaker over Penn. Princeton travels to Brown and Yale this weekend, and they can clinch a tournament berth with two wins.
4. Brown (13-10, 6-4 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 5
The Bears are on track to make their first Ivy League Tournament, where they're hoping to punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1986. This past weekend, the Bears left the door open for Penn to sneak back into the tournament, though; despite easily handling Columbia, 72-66, Brown shot a lowly 25.9% from the floor in a 63-45 loss to Cornell. The Bears host Princeton on Friday, but their biggest game of the season is at home on Saturday against Penn. A win over the Quakers would clinch Brown their first tournament berth in team history, as long as the Rhode Island side doesn't lose out and Penn doesn't win out.
5. Penn (13-10, 5-5 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 3
Nothing went right for the Quakers this past weekend. Not only did Penn fail to pick up a road win in New England, but other conference results mean that the Red and Blue will be fighting for their lives this weekend. The Quakers play a crucial game against Yale on Friday night, but their most consequential matchup will be at Brown on Saturday. Penn dropped their first matchup against the Bears, 75-63, despite leading by double digits at halftime. Two wins this weekend would be ideal, as it would put the Quakers in control of their own destiny going into the final week of the season. If they beat Brown and lose to Yale, they're still in good shape because they will own the tiebreaker over Brown. If they lose both games, the Quakers are all but eliminated from conference play: they would need Harvard to go 2-2 the rest of the way and lose to Yale.
6. Dartmouth (10-15, 3-7 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 6
The Big Green picked up a huge win over Penn this weekend — their third straight win — but fell in the closing seconds against Princeton on Saturday. There is still a highly-unlikely scenario in which Dartmouth makes the tournament. To get there, Dartmouth would have to win out, Brown would need to go 1-3 but beat Penn, and Penn would need to lose an additional game.
7. Cornell (6-17, 3-7 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 7
Despite some lucky breaks, Cornell dropped a double-overtime game against Yale in the final seconds on Friday night. Fortunately, they were able to recover quickly and dominate against Brown on Saturday. The Big Red aren't technically eliminated from the Ivy tournament either, but they would need to win out. They would also need Brown to finish no better than 1-3 and Penn to finish no better than 2-2 the rest of the way. This will be a tough task for a team that is 0-13 on the road.
8. Columbia (6-20, 1-9 Ivy)
Last week's rank: 8
The Lions are playing for pride with four games remaining, as Columbia was eliminated with two losses this weekend, extending their losing streak to nine. The team's 10% conference winning percentage is the lowest in Lions' history since 2003.
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