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Username Post: Ivy Race        (Topic#22584)
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5556

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
02-04-19 11:56 AM - Post#275023    

Interested to hear people's thoughts. Here's what the data says in terms of Top 4 odds (from Bart Torvik's site - he doesn't break ties, so these odds are a bit overstated, as they'll include ties for fourth in which case one or more teams would still miss the tourney:

Yale - 99%
Harvard - 98%
Princeton - 96%
Brown - 64%
Penn - 55%
Dartmouth - 17%
Cornell - 5%
Columbia - 1%

I generally agree that there are really three tiers here:

Harvard, Yale, Princeton

Harvard still needs to sweep this weekend to feel good (the back end of that schedule is absolutely brutal). Meanwhile, Yale won't be favored by fewer than 3 until the last weekend of the season. And unless Princeton gets swept this weekend, it's gotta feel great.

All three of these teams can shift their focus to the title hunt if they can get to 5-1 coming out of the weekend, but 4-2 or worse and the focus should remain on making the Ivy tourney.

Penn, Brown

Huge pivot point this weekend - including both Friday AND Saturday, as the winner on Friday night will then have a chance to get closer to sealing the tiebreak on Saturday night. If we look at the expected top three teams (Harvard, Yale, Princeton), Brown's already 0-for-3 on "top win" opportunities that are huge in the tiebreaker, including no chance at Yale, which is most likely at present to be the top team. Penn is just 0-for-2 - no chance at nabbing one from Princeton - and could get a likely insurmountable one on Saturday.

Even though Brown isn't likely to be an underdog again until the final weekend of the season, and Penn should only be once more after this weekend, it's hard to see a team rebounding from 1-5 this year. A desperate Saturday night from Friday's loser could end up keeping that team in the race and buying it a key chip in the tiebreaker race.

Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth

Columbia and Cornell may be favored in one more game the rest of the way. They'd need to consistently pull upsets to even stay in the race - a split this weekend is enough to stay alive, per se, but realistically, it's over.

Dartmouth could easily sweep this weekend to get to 3-3, but with just two home games left, it's hard to see Dartmouth going 4-4 or even 3-5 to build on that to get to 7-7 or 6-8. And if the Big Green splits this weekend or worse, it's definitely over with the slate Dartmouth has left.

 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22436

Reg: 11-21-04
Re: Ivy Race
02-04-19 01:37 PM - Post#275038    
    In response to mrjames

Seems on target to me....all because Penn took the foot off of Cornell's neck when it had the Red about to be blown out in the first half and never regained the flow. If Penn goes 7-3 the rest of the way, they will get the spot, but any team that can lose to Cornell and beat Columbia by 2 can lose to anyone (say, Monmouth). What a schizophrenic team.

I am not optimistic.

 
Streamers 
Postdoc
Posts: 3884
Streamers
Loc: NW Philadelphia
Reg: 11-21-04
02-04-19 02:51 PM - Post#275043    
    In response to palestra38

What can you say about a team that seems equally capable of winning in NH and losing at home to Dartmouth?

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4935

Reg: 11-22-04
02-04-19 03:21 PM - Post#275045    
    In response to Streamers

I know this kind of goes against a long history of the Ivy always having one or two dominant teams, but I still think we’ll see a lot of parity this year — including from Yale.

Regardless, Penn goes from #5 with an uphill climb to #4 and in good shape simply by winning Friday. Obviously I’d feel better at 4-0, but we control our own destiny up to 2nd place.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5556

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
02-04-19 03:48 PM - Post#275049    
    In response to SomeGuy

That's something that I'm really watching closely. Over the past three years, 6-8 has been good enough for solo fourth. And the reason for that is the top three teams.

The more games those teams lose to the rest of the league, the more likely that 7-7 (or even 8-6) will be required. Over the past three years, the top three teams have lost 9, 9 and 7 games combined. Subtract the six that they have to lose to each other, and that means they dropped 3, 3 and 1 to the field. If you look at the three years before that it was 11, 12 and 13 and 7-7 or 8-6 did it.

Now, there's a corollary here that really crappy performance from the bottom teams can push up the wins required for fourth, but we haven't had a really crappy team in like 5 seasons now.

So far this season, through close to 30% of games, the top three teams have 1 loss against not the top three. Pace that out and that comes to 3.5 losses for the season, which would put us more in that 6-8 for fourth place range.

 
penn nation 
Professor
Posts: 13424

Reg: 12-02-04
02-04-19 03:58 PM - Post#275051    
    In response to mrjames

Hard to handicap Princeton without knowing the extent of Cannady's suspension and Llewellyn's injury.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4935

Reg: 11-22-04
02-04-19 05:46 PM - Post#275064    
    In response to mrjames

I think the back of the league is a lot stronger than it has ever been. I don’t think we’ve had a season with 5 top 200 teams, let alone 6. Only 2 teams last year were above where Dartmouth is right now in KenPom.

Now, Yale and Harvard are considerably stronger than Penn and Harvard last year, too, but I think the depth will wear on everybody.

The other question is whether the Princeton start holds up. If you look at it based on who has won so far, yes, the top 3 teams have only lost one game to teams outside the top 3. But that’s arguably circular. If you look at it based on what kenpom or similar systems would predict coming in (or even now if we started over), the top teams would include Brown and Penn, and you could argue there has been a lot more carnage. I think those types of results will hit Yale and Princeton as we go.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5556

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
Ivy Race
02-04-19 06:50 PM - Post#275068    
    In response to SomeGuy

I'm most bullish on Yale at this point, primarily because six of their next eight are at home, and they've been very consistent. Anything less than 7-1 would probably be a disappointment. The two toughest remaining games are the final weekend when they should be long-since clinched the tourney they host.

I don't trust either of Harvard or Princeton yet - the Tigers less so of the two.

Princeton's offense has been terrible, and there doesn't appear to be an easily correctable element or reversion to the mean candidate in the bunch. This team is close to last nationally in FG pct at the rim, eschews 2pt Js and without Cannady has no consistent 3pt threats. While I think it'll do better than 0.90 ppp the rest of the way, I find it hard to believe it's going to get to 1 pop. That means you have to buy a defense that is currently holding opponents to a Top 50 FG pct at rim despite having an anemic block rate and one that is holding oppts to 20% shooting from three in league play.

I think the regression hits Princeton hard and fast, but it has enough home dates left for it to be hard to miss the tourney from here.

Harvard's story is a bit different. Turnovers are still a massive issue offensively, creating a drag on what has been an otherwise credible output. Giving away 25% of possessions each game isn't going to work, though. It will cause Harvard to drop some head-scratchers if it continues. What's more is that Harvard has been playing the 3pt lottery hard defensively in Ivy play (oppts are at 44.4% 3PA/FGA). That lottery already burned Harvard in Hanover and it's unlikely Harvard can avoid a repeat moving forward. That's bad news for a title chase (where dropping random games is hurtful) but good news for the tournament chase (where only losing random games still keeps you on solid footing to be top 4).

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3844

Reg: 02-04-06
02-04-19 07:15 PM - Post#275070    
    In response to mrjames

The flip side of Princeton's offensive struggles is that they've gotten more second-chance points than usual (for them) and managed to get to the foul line a decent amount. Meanwhile, Aririguzoh is scoring with great efficiency in the low-post area. Presumably, some of the open threes are eventually going to fall in for Much and Desrosiers, which will help. But Princeton is running out of options at PG if Llewelyn is out for any number of games and if Cannady can't return. I love me some Morales, but not for 35+ minutes per game.

And let's be clear--the Tiger defense has been fairly suffocating at the rim and at the arc over the last four games, to the point that opposing players are spooked even on the rare chances where they get a good look from three or underneath the basket. It's been pretty premeditated, as opponents are getting pull-up jumpers off curls and ball screens on a lot of possessions and hitting them OK. The big improvement is that the typical defensive possession now looks like the best ones did during the OOC and for much of last year. Don't know if they can keep it rolling, and Yale looks like a very difficult team to stop, but it's pretty refreshing for those of us who've been tearing our hair out over the porosity of Princeton's D.

 
bradley 
PhD Student
Posts: 1212

Age: 70
Reg: 01-15-16
Re: Ivy Race
02-04-19 08:28 PM - Post#275082    
    In response to mrjames

Your thoughts make good sense with the caveat that so far, this season, conference and non-conference play, has been somewhat crazy for several teams with ups and downs so who knows what awaits us. For example, the Tigers can go in several different directions dependent on Cannady status and injuries and the same applies to several other teams regarding injuries plus how the proverbial ball bounces. Nothing is guaranteed although it seems like Yale followed by Harvard are the safest bets for IvyMadness if one cares about IvyMadness.

I am sure that a lot of future conversation will be if team x can finish 7-7 or 8-6 to secure the 4th slot vs. who will actually win the IL regular season but it is what it is.

The IL regular season is like a slug fest and the survivor who wins the title has achieved something special. The 4th place team has also done something although not quite sure what it is.

 
PennFan10 
Postdoc
Posts: 2400

Reg: 02-15-15
02-04-19 08:41 PM - Post#275086    
    In response to bradley

This is great stuff. Thanks Mike and all, really enjoy reading this thread.

 
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