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Around the Ivies: Harvard and Yale emerge on top of men's table

Halfway through the gauntlet that is Ivy League regular season men’s basketball, Harvard and Yale stand at the top of a competitive table. As teams start to find their identity — for better or for worse — here is how the Ancient Eight rank:

  1. Harvard (20-4 overall, 7-1 Ivy League): First team all-Ivy League swingman Wesley Saunders alongside point guard Siyani Chambers feature in a talented offensive backcourt that can more or less enforce its will upon the rest of the league. The Crimson has the second hottest offense in the league, averaging almost 73 points per game. Cambridge has been a citadel, save for the upset home loss to Yale.
  2. Yale (13-9, 7-1): The Bulldogs sit a close second in this ranking. A 74-67 win at Harvard two weekends back and a tight 66-65 overtime win over Princeton showed this team’s resiliency and ability to execute. Offensive rebounding appears to be the strength of this team, with forward Justin Sears ranking third in the league with 7.0 boards per game. They will host the Crimson two weekends from now in a game that could decide the league’s champion.
  3. Brown (13-9, 5-3): Freshman forward Leland King provided 15 points in just 20 minutes in a losing effort against Princeton. His weekend performances won him league Rookie of the Week honors. The backcourt is solidified by Sean McGonagill, who ranks just behind Princeton’s senior point guard TJ Bray in points per game with 17.8. Strong forward play makes Brown one of the best rebounding teams in the league. Additionally, the Bears keep their opponents to the lowest shooting percentage in the league.
  4. Columbia (15-10, 4-4): 34 points from Co-Player of the Week and forward Alex Rosenberg helped push the league-leading Crimson to two overtime periods. The Lions could not pull off the home upset, however. Their offensive and defensive shot percentages are around the league averages, so it’s not surprising that this team sits at .500.
  5. Penn (6-15, 3-4): The Quakers are unable to shake opposing three-point shooters, as opponents have converted 50 of 134 attempts from beyond the arc. That equates to a league-worst 37.3 three-point percentage by their opponents. On the positive side, 6’ 11”  center Darien Nelson-Henry ranks fifth in the league in rebounds per game and first in shooting percentage, though he only plays 20 minutes per game in conference.
  6. Princeton (14-7, 2-5): An inability to consistently boxout and secure rebounds has been a fairly constant problem for the Tigers. Additionally, a decidedly unremarkable record in close games this season may come down to either bad luck or late-game nerves. TJ Bray ranks first in assists and points per game, and he limits turnovers to 1.8 per game. In any case, the highly-touted Tigers are seeing their championship hopes slip away.
  7. Dartmouth (9-13, 2-6): The Dartmouth men have slipped severely of late. After an impressive 2-2 start, including a home overtime win over Princeton, the Big Green has dropped four consecutive matchups. A wild comeback at Cornell failed to result in a victory. Despite its best efforts, this squad will not be competing seriously in a competitive league.
  8. Cornell (2-20, 1-7): In 25 consecutive games against Division I opponents, Cornell’s squad has lost 25. All that changed when the Big Red managed to put up a 15-point lead on Dartmouth at home and hold on to win 70-67. Sophomore guard Noah Cressler managed 17 points against both Dartmouth and Harvard.
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