Cornell fought off another desperate Princeton rally on Friday night for another three-point win over the Tigers and followed it up with a drubbing of Penn to clinch a share of the Ivy League title over the weekend.
The NCAA bid, however, will have to wait until Friday.
The Big Red sit two games up in the loss column over Harvard and Princeton with two games to play, meaning that garnering the league’s invitation to the Big Dance is all but a foregone conclusion at this point. A win at Brown on Friday or at Yale on Saturday would do it, or any loss by the Crimson and the Tigers (there will be at least one next weekend as the two teams close the season with each other).
Now the question for Cornell turns to seeding. More specifically, what will a RPI of 47 and SOS of 188 pull from the committee. While the Big Red’s 11-3 road record and 3-0 neutral mark will certainly help it, the team that could bolster Cornell’s resume the most would be Harvard. With the Crimson hanging on to the 99th spot in the RPI, the Big Red boast a 3-3 record against the Top 100. If Harvard splits next weekend, it will be a toss up to stay in the Top 100, while it would rise into the 80s with a sweep. Thus, Cornell will likely be big Crimson fans next weekend, hoping to avoid the fate that would come with showing a 1-3 record against the Top 100 to the selection committee. At the end of the day, that could be the difference between a winnable 5/12 game and relegation to the automatic bid line of 13. There are still way too many variables to be able to project seeding for sure (conference tourney upsets, for one), but what is certain is that Harvard staying in the Top 100 would be huge for the Big Red’s hopes.
THE OTHER POSTSEASONS
After a disappointing 3-2 league start, Harvard has taken six of its last seven contests to move to 20-6 on the season – the first 20-win season in school history.
Now, the Crimson is on the verge of its first postseason berth since 1946, possibly in the NIT, but more likely in the CBI or CIT. Harvard would likely need to win both next weekend and get the accompanying RPI boost into the 80s in order to merit NIT selection (and would need few automatic qualifiers to eat up NIT at-large spots).
After a weekend split, Princeton sits around 140 in the RPI, which likely would put it on the wrong side of the postseason bubble. The Tigers’ best non-conference win was at RPI No. 195 St. Joseph’s and overall Princeton is just 2-6 against the RPI Top 200. The Tigers really need to sweep the final weekend and add another win over Harvard to feel secure in their postseason fate. A split would likely make the CBI and CIT announcements tense times in Princeton.
KNEE-JERK POWER RANKINGS
For the third-consecutive year, the Big Red survived the Ivy gauntlet and took home the league title.
Finally getting healthy and returning to the form that led it to a school-record 11 non-conference wins.
Answered questions at Columbia after dropping two straight to Brown and Cornell. Will get a chance to re-claim second on Saturday.
One of the league’s hottest teams, went 4-2 in its last six games with three road wins in four tries.
The Bulldogs haven’t looked great since falling to Harvard in overtime at home two weeks ago, but still has a good chance to finish tied for fourth.
Completed the season sweep of the Quakers, but will likely need at least one win at Yale or Brown to close the season to avoid finishing seventh.
The Quakers started the weekend in solo fourth, but after a pair of losses fell the whole way to sixth with both Harvard and Princeton still left on the schedule.
The win over the Lions aside, this might be the worst Ivy League team since the Columbia team that got Armond Hill fired.