You won’t find a whole lot of All-American candidates in the Ivy League, but you will find a conference that plays games every Friday night, which is one reason the Ivy League remains popular with sports bettors. The Friday-Saturday conference schedule typically kicks in around the end of January and lasts about six weeks.
Harvard looks to be the class of the Ivy League this season, with Penn and perhaps Yale and Columbia battling for minor tournament berths.
Harvard: The Crimson have a nice little team, led by the 1-2 punch of Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken, although the weakness of the conference is another reason Harvard should hit 20 wins. The non-conference slate isn’t particularly strong.
Penn: The Quakers are a bit like Harvard, just not quite as good, but appear to be the team with the best chance to hand the Crimson a conference defeat. Early season games at Alabama, Providence and Villanova will test the team right away, but Penn looks destined for a minor tournament berth.
Yale: The Bulldogs are likely going to flirt with a .500 record and have a brutal non-conference slate that includes the likes of Oklahoma State, Penn State, Clemson and North Carolina. If it was a spelling bee, I’d like Yale’s chances, but since it’s on the hardwood, it probably means four losses for the Bulldogs.
Princeton: The Tigers aren’t what they were in the past and will have accomplished something if they can finish .500 this season. Princeton still plays tough defense, but isn’t much offensively.
Columbia: The Lions are going to start the season a bit slow, having games against Wake Forest, Virginia and St. John’s, which could come back to haunt them at the end of the season if they’re in contention for a minor tournament bid.
Brown: The Bears are probably another team who will finish within a game or two of .500 and they have plenty of winnable games to start the season, but then face St. John’s, Duke and Rhode Island in consecutive games. Duplicating last year will be a major accomplishment.
Dartmouth: Dartmouth returns all five starters from last season, although that isn’t necessarily a good thing when you consider the Big Green ended the season with an 11-19 record.
Cornell: The Big Red have fallen on tough times and it wasn’t too long ago they were the class of the Ivy League, but this year will be hard-pressed to win 10 games. Cornell does have some tough preseason games, which won’t help with the final win-loss record.
Ivy League Opening Power Ratings
|Dartmouth Big Green||71|
|Cornell Big Red||67|