Ivy League Basketball Season Preview

Story posted November 3, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

The smartest conference in all of college basketball has produced quite the buzz over the past few seasons with the implementation of a four-team conference tournament starting in 2017. Since then, there have been three different winners in the past three seasons.

The trio of Harvard, Yale and Penn have made the postseason tournament each of the past three years alongside Princeton who made it twice and Cornell who made it once.

With that being said, let’s dive into some previews of the contenders for the Ancient Eight for this upcoming season:

Harvard Crimson

2018-2019 Record: 19-12

Key Losses: None
Key Returners: Christian Juzang, Danilo Djuricic, Justin Bassey, Seth Towns, Noah Kirkwood, Bryce Aiken

The projected Ivy League favorites are back to avenge its back-to-back losses in the tournament championship game and have the firepower to take the league by storm.

The Crimson return virtually every player in their starting lineup along with forward Seth Towns, who missed the entire 2018-2019 season due to an injury. Towns was also the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year.

Bryce Aiken was the team’s leading scorer with 22.2 points per game last season and his return will be huge for a Harvard offense that averaged just under 72 points per game. Aiken was also named a Lou Henson All-American and a unanimous selection for first-team All-Ivy League.

Harvard also returns 2019 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Noah Kirkwood, who averaged 11.1 points per clip while shooting over 46 percent from the field.

If Tommy Amaker’s club can cleanup some things on the defensive side of the ball while still maintaining their aggressive nature, the Crimson should be going dancing once March comes.

Penn Quakers

2018-2019 Record: 19-12

Key Losses: Antonio Woods, Max Rothschild
Key Returners: AJ Brodeur, Devon Goodman, Bryce Washington, Michael Wang

The return of first-team All-Ivy forward AJ Brodeur will help the Quakers pick up right where they left off from an offensive standpoint. Brodeur scored an average of 17.6 point per contest last season and is one of the most prolific scorers in the Ivy League.

The loss, however, of Woods and Rothschild shouldn’t prove to be too detrimental as Devon Goodman and Bryce Washington will be able to step up on both sides of the ball.

Goodman and Washington are two fundamentally sound guards that really make their presence felt on the court as the two were first and third in 3-point shooting percentage at .398 percent and .375 percent respectively.

Michael Wang will fill that void for Rothschild as a player with a strong feeling for the frontcourt due to his experience playing for the Chinese National Team over the summer.

If the Quakers can fill some of the holes on offense and defense quickly and effectively, watch out.

Yale Bulldogs

2018-2019 Record: 22-8

Key Losses: Miye Oni, Alex Copeland, Blake Reynolds
Key Returners: Jordan Bruner

The defending tournament champions, fresh off of an NCAA Tournament bid, will have virtually start fresh as the top three scorers in Oni, Copeland and Reynolds have all departed New Haven.

Oni was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 58th pick in this past NBA draft and his rights were eventually traded to the Utah Jazz. The strong bodied guard averaged just over 17 points per game and was a force in the paint.

Jordan Bruner is the top returning scorer for the Bulldogs and will have the weight on his shoulders once the season begins. Bruner led in blocks last season with an average of 1.5 per contest while also adding 10.4 points per game

Do not be surprised if this team take a massive step back this season.

Princeton Tigers

2018-2019 Record: 16-12

Key Losses: Myles Stephens, Devin Cannady
Key Returners: Richmond Aririguzoh, Jaelin Llewellyn

Replacing Devin Cannady and his 18.2 points per game average will be a main focal point for this Princeton squad which relied heavily on his offensive and defensive presence.

Myles Stephens was also a force in the paint and behind the arc that the Tigers will need to replace. He shot 34.8 percent from the 3-point land for his career and averaged 11.7 points as well.

Richmond Aririguzoh is expected to be one of the more dominant players in the Ivy League this season. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound center is a bully in the paint and picks up the loose change when needed.

If the Tigers can fill the void of Cannady while still getting solid production from Aririguzoh and a few other players including Jaelin Llewellyn, the men from Old Nassau could be a sleeper this season.

 


Christopher Hess is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.