IVY SEASON PREVIEW: Yale Trendspotting

Record: 7-12 (1-1 Ivy), 297th RPI, 285th Sagarin, 264th Pomeroy

Recent Results: defeated NJIT 79-48 (1/9), lost to Brown 75-66 (1/15), defeated Brown 71-63 (1/22)
Upcoming Games: vs. Penn (1/29), vs. Princeton (1/30), at Cornell (2/5)

Key Wins: vs. Colgate (neutral) 65-55 (11/17), at Hartford 48-46 (12/2)


Alex Zampier has become one of the most confounding Ivy basketball players. His offensive rating of 104 is only slightly above average and is only fourth among qualifying players on his own team. The efficiency has suffered primarily because Zampier’s possession usage rate of 30 percent is highest in the league by three percentage points and his percentage of total shots (34 percent) is almost five ticks higher than the second Ivy player. What is confounding is that Zampier continues to bear way too heavy a burden offensively, despite having pieces around him that can produce efficiently on the offensive end. Jordan Gibson, Michael Sands, Paul Nelson and Reggie Willhite all have floor percentages (percent of possessions that end in at least a point) above 50 percent and offensive ratings higher than Zampier’s.

Usually offensive oriented players let their defense suffer, in order to save their energy for the end of the floor on which they’re most needed. Zampier bucks that trend, however, boasting an incredibly high 56 percent stops and a steal percentage of 5.1 per 100 opposing possessions. He is a true two-way player with immense involvement on both ends of the floor – something which is relatively rare in the Ivy League.


It seems like Yale has a knack for recruiting and developing the 6’8 to 6’10, 230-240 pound post almost to the point of it being a commodity. The names have changed over the years – Dominick Martin, Matt Kyle, Sam Kaplan, Ross Morin and now Greg Mangano, Michael Sands and Paul Nelson – but the end result is the same. The Bulldogs produce these bangers in the post that can rebound and finish well as well as provide a strong defensive presence. This year is no different as Mangano, Sands and Nelson all have offensive ratings between 103 and 109 with offensive rebounding percentages between 9.0 and 11.5 percent and defensive boarding rates between 19.4 and 25.3 percent. The strong play of that forward trio has kept Yale from tripping up in the slightest over the departure of forward Garrett Fiddler during last offseason.


Yale’s reserves have contributed 41.5 percent of the team’s minutes to this point – good for 18th place nationally. The Bulldogs boast 10 players getting at least 27 percent of the teams minutes, with no one getting more than Zampier’s 68.6. Yale is incredibly deep at every position, which allows it to hang around with various levels of competition – as seen in their nine-point loss to Providence and 11-point loss to Colorado, both Pomeroy top 100 squads. Where the bench hasn’t helped, however, is in closing out big name opponents. The loss to the Friars came after Yale held substantial first- and second-half leads, and the Bulldogs have lost a few other games, where it wasn’t fatigue but the lack of firepower among the fresh legs that kept Yale from notching a tally in the win column. The Bulldogs reserves are more offensively efficient than most around the league, but have posted incredibly low usage rates, meaning that few can be relied upon to look for and want to take the big shot.


– Yale is shooting an abysmal 29.7 percent from three-point range, which ranks 306th in the nation. The poor conversion rate from long range has tanked the Bulldogs’ EFG percent, which at 45.6 percent checks in at 291st nationally. Compared to the 51.8 EFG shooting that Yale is allowing, that figure looks even worse.

– Aside from the poor shooting defense, the Bulldogs are pretty menacing on that end of the floor. Their 22.4 percent turnover rate is 82nd best in Division I, while their block and steal percentages of 11.0 and 11.6, respectively, are both in the top 100 nationally.

– Yale has played one of the weakest schedules in the country with its SOS falling outside the top 300 in the Pomeroy ratings. It has played a series of defenses, which combined, yield almost 104 points per 100 possessions, 332nd nationally. In other words, the Bulldogs have struggled to score against defenses which, themselves, have been yielding more points than average to their opponents.

Michael James

Michael James wrote 98 posts

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