February is officially over, and March Madness is quickly approaching. But for the members of the Ancient Eight, they must first survive Ivy Madness if they want to make it to the Big Dance.
Penn men’s basketball has yet to clinch a spot in the Ivy League Tournament. Currently tied for fourth with Brown, Penn will head into the final Ivy Weekend competing with not only the Bears but also Dartmouth for the fourth and final spot, with none of the three teams controlling its own destiny. However, the fourth seed is very likely the Quakers' to lose, as they play against the League’s worst two teams. Here’s how Penn can make it to the tournament:
- Penn wins more games this weekend than Brown. In that case, the Red and Blue will finish the regular season with better conference records than the Bears and will guarantee themselves at least a tiebreaker over Dartmouth, giving them sole possession of fourth place.
- If Penn and Brown both go 2-0 this weekend, Penn will need Yale to win at least one of its games this weekend. By doing so, the Bulldogs ensure they will be a higher seed than Harvard, and the Quakers have a better record against Yale than Brown this season, which would give Penn the tiebreaker for record against the No. 1 seed.
- Penn splits their games this weekend against Columbia and Cornell and Brown beats Dartmouth but loses to Harvard. In this scenario, Penn and the Bears would both finish 7-7 in Ivy play, but the Red and Blue would have the tiebreaker as Brown would be 0-2 against Yale and 1-1 against Harvard, while the Quakers are 1-1 against both teams.
- If Penn splits its weekend games and Brown beats Harvard but loses to Dartmouth, the Quakers would once again need Yale to win one of its final two games to clinch the Ivy League title. In this case, Penn and Brown would once again both finish 7-7 in league play. Dartmouth could also finish at 7-7 if it defeats Yale. If so, Penn and Dartmouth would both have a win against Yale, but Brown would not. Penn would have one win against Harvard to Brown’s two and Dartmouth’s zero. As long as Yale is ahead of Harvard in the Ivy League standings, the Quakers would advance.
- If both Penn and Brown go 0-2 this week, Yale would need to beat Dartmouth. Penn, Brown, and Dartmouth would all be 6-8 in Ivy play and 2-2 against each other. As Penn has the only win against Yale and as many wins against Harvard as Brown, the Quakers advance to the tournament no matter how the Bulldogs and Crimson sit in the standings.
There is only one spot left in the Ivy Tournament. The first three have already been claimed by Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. The Tigers can only climb to the No. 2 seed, so if the Quakers do make it to the tournament, they will be playing the top seed, Yale or Harvard.
For the Bulldogs to clinch No. 1, they can either beat Harvard this weekend or beat Dartmouth and watch Brown defeat the Crimson. On the other hand, Harvard must win both of its games this weekend to clinch top seed on its home court for the Ivy Tournament.
While this uncertainty looms over the men’s team, the women’s team has already clinched its spot in the Ivy Tournament after beating Brown this past weekend. As of now, they are tied with Columbia for second place, but a lot could change after this last Ivy Weekend.
On the women’s side, Princeton has already clinched the No. 1 seed. The Tigers have had a dominant season, going a perfect 12-0 in Ivy play so far — they are definitely the team to beat. However, the Quakers have by no means secured their seeding. Here’s how it could play out:
- Penn beats Cornell and Columbia this weekend, thereby breaking its second-place tie with Columbia to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
- If Penn beats just Columbia and Yale loses one of its games, the Quakers would be 8-5 in Ivy play and would also secure the No. 2 seed in this scenario.
- If Penn loses to both Cornell and Columbia on Friday and Saturday, the Quakers would fall to third and could possibly drop all the way to fourth if Yale wins out this weekend.
In the most likely case, Penn women’s basketball will play Columbia in the first round of the Ivy Tournament in the matchup of the No. 2 and 3 seeds. However, the Quakers would face Princeton, a team that has already defeated them twice this season, if they were to fall to fourth.
It’ll be an exciting finish to the regular season for both the men and women no matter the result. Both teams will look to make a postseason run to have a chance to go dancing in March.
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