By Richard Kent
Updated: November 10, 2005
CONNETICUT–This is fast becoming a coaches’ league.The Jones brothers,James and Joe could have gone to many places after successful stints as assistants but they wanted the Ivies.The purity.Joe Scott left Air Force to return to his alma mater and Fran Dunphy continues to stay at Penn despite his ability to leave for other jobs.This year there is more parity than ever before.At least 6 teams can win it all and get the automatic NCAA bid.Well let’s take a look:
Penn-how can you not pick them first.They return 4 starters and play one of the toughest schedules in the country.The frontcourt is one of the best anywhere with Steve Danley,Mark Zoller and Eric Osmundson.The Palestra is a huge homecourt advantage.
Princeton-It is easy to count them out because they lost their two best players and have had some dissension preseason.But Scott is a great coach and he has the kids that he recruited and performed well for him last year.True they only had 6 Ivy wins but they were much better at the end of the season.Luke Owings is a great player and he has a young but talented supporting cast.An NCAA bid is not out of the question.
Cornell-Who?This traditional Ivy doormat is actually good.Lenny Collins may be the best player in League.He is a forward who may play at the next level.That Columbia-Cornell trip on the weekends is really rough for most Ivy League teams and the only one that doesn’t have to do it is Cornell.They could be the beneficiaries this year.
Yale-James Jones.He can coach.Casy Hughes.He can play.Sam Kaplan.He can drill it.The Elis may be back to the form that led them to an NIT win over Rutgers a few years back.
Columbia-Joe Jones is another great coach.And James is his brother.He has started to stockpile talent in Morningside Heights.Start with Ben Nwachukwu at 6-9.He is a true center and the Lions have had few of them.Look for them to compete for the Ivy League title.
Brown-Glen Miller is a good coach with a UConn lineage.Jason Forte is gone but Luke Ruscoe returns and so does his 10.3 ppg.Depth is a problem but talent is not 1-5.
Harvard-What a frontcourt.The problem is that the backcourt is thin.The point guards are freshmen and you know what Al McGuire said about first year players.But they will only get better as the season progresses.Frank Sullivan is in his 15th season in the Ivies and he knows the League well.Look for harvard to compete in January.
Dartmouth-Probably the only team that can’t win it.But they are a tough place to play at and Marlon Sanders can play.They will win some at home.
Sure the Ivies don’t give scholarships but they find a way to get talent.Look for the OOC wins to mount this year and a real battle for the title into March.The League is that strong top to bottom.