1) CORNELL (15-3, 2-0)
The Big Red continue to roll, dispatching Columbia by 26 on Saturday. With their RPI currently standing at 39 (ahead of schools such as Louisville, Clemson and Florida State), along with signature wins over St. John’s and Alabama, Cornell is poised to snag its 3rd straight Ancient Eight title. Will an Ivy squad step up in conference play to dethrone the defending champs?
2) HARVARD (13-3, 2-0)
It keeps looking more and more like the Crimson may be the only Ivy squad with a legitimate chance of knocking Cornell from atop its Ivy perch. Sporting an impressive RPI of 58 (ahead of such squads as USC, Arizona and Notre Dame), Tommy Amaker’s team made some noise in non-conference play, with notable wins against both William & Mary and Boston College. But the Crimson are off to a whimper in the Ancient Eight, barely squeaking past likely cellar dweller Dartmouth on Saturday.
3) PRINCETON (9-5, 0-0)
Coming off last season’s surprise 2nd place conference finish, the Tigers are looking to improve upon that showing this year. Although they have a pair of nice non-conference wins versus Lafayette and St. Joseph’s, their lack of offensive firepower is a concern. Despite low-scoring affairs being a way of life in Jadwin, scoring 46 and 45 points against Monmouth and Wagner, respectively, won’t strike fear into any of their upcoming opponents.
4) BROWN (7-12, 1-1)
The 2009-2010 Bears are a squad that is hard to pin down. On one hand, they have been surprisingly competitive against power conference opponents St. John’s and Seton Hall, taking both teams down to the wire. On the other hand, they’ve been beaten convincingly by Quinnipiac. The play of their impressive trio of freshmen (Halpern, Sullivan and McCarthy) will likely dictate which Brown team shows up in conference play.
5) COLUMBIA (6-10, 0-2)
Led by do-it-all guard Noruwa Agho, the Lions put together a very respectable non-conference performance, with notable wins versus Lehigh and American. However, they had the unenviable position of opening Ivy play with two straight games against Cornell. The results were somewhat predictable, with losses by 21 and 26 points. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier with their next game, as the Lions are hosting Harvard on Thursday.
6) YALE (7-12, 1-1)
The Elis had a less-than-impressive tour through non-conference play, picking up wins against basketball powerhouses NJIT and Albertus Magnus. Yet, there is some hope in New Haven, as Alex Zampier has been the team leader everyone expected, while junior forward Michael Sands has unexpectedly emerged as an all-Ivy candidate. Yale opened Ivy play with a 2-game split against Brown.
7) PENN (1-12, 0-0)
While the Quakers’ well-documented struggles have not lessened significantly on paper, there’s a sense that things have begun to turn around in West Philadelphia. With rookie coach Jerome Allen at the helm, the team picked up its lone non-conference win against UMBC. Averaging better than 17 points per contest, Zack Rosen has become a formidable scorer and likely All-Ivy performer. Despite this, a top-tier finish looks unlikely due to the injuries that have decimated the team’s lineup for a second straight season.
8) DARTMOUTH (4-12, 0-2)
The loss of Ivy POY Alex Barnett has left a considerable void in Dartmouth’s lineup, and no one has yet emerged as a team leader. But that seems to be the least of the Big Green’s problems. With a player revolt that led to their coach’s resignation, along with the arrests of two of its players (one had already quit the team), this figures to be a long, cold season in Hanover.