Coming into the Ivy League season, everyone was talking about Harvard and Princeton. The teams had lost a combined just seven games, and had picked up solid wins along the way.
The other two teams in the mix were Columbia and Yale, both of whom had put together solid non-conference seasons. Tonight Harvard (6-1) was able to grind out a tough win vs. Yale (4-3), and Princeton (6-0) demolished Columbia (3-4).
After having a solid season last year in which they went to the CIT (College Invitational Tournament), the Crimson have been able to play even better this year despite losing their best player, Jeremy Lin, to the NBA. They are 11-0 at home this season after barely escaping vs. Yale tonight, 78-75.
The win improved them 6-1 in the conference and they are playing really well in the middle of what is always a great conference battle.
The Ivy League is the only college basketball conference without a conference tournament. This means that the winner of the regular season will go on to the NCAA tournament. The past three seasons it has been Cornell. However, they are unlikely to repeat after losing their first five conference games to start the Ivy season.
Harvard is one team that has never won the conference, and they have a very good shot at that this season. The Crimson sport exactly zero seniors on their squad, meaning they will be the team to beat not only this year, but likely the next two seasons as well.
Princeton is not like Harvard. They are one of the most experienced teams in the league. Most of their more talented players are either juniors or seniors. The Tigers stayed competitive in the Ivy race last year but were unable to take down Cornell during their two meetings.
This season, things have been going differently.
They took down Harvard in their first meeting and had to grind out a win against Yale at home. Tonight, they took apart Columbia and held the best offensive team in the league to a pathetic 46 points while scoring 76 for themselves.
Tomorrow, Harvard will play Brown, a team that they should beat without too much trouble, the same can be said about Princeton's trip to Cornell. However, Princeton should be cautious. Cornell won their second game in a row after taking out Penn tonight in overtime.
Penn has had their last three games go into overtime and have lost all three after starting the season at 3-0.
Harvard and Princeton won't meet until the last weekend of the season, on March 5th. That will be the last regular season game for Harvard, while Princeton will play Penn the following Tuesday. Should the teams tie for the lead in the standings, a one-game playoff will ensue at a neutral Ivy League court.
This should be a great final few weekends of Ivy League basketball.