Harvard, Yale, Princeton form Ivy League big three

By Greg Peterson  (VSiN.com) 

November 11, 2017 01:59 AM

The Ivy League had a conference tournament for the first time, and the NCAA Tournament representative remained the same as it would have had the league kept things status quo as Princeton won the tournament after a 14-0 record in conference play.

The Tigers have a few players to replace, but much of last year's core is back and the team has a sustainable style that makes it easy to replace Steven Cook, Spencer Weisz, Henry Caruso and Hans Brase. Princeton committed the fewest turnovers of any squad in D-I basketball last season, allowed the ninth-fewest points per game, and allowed the fewest offensive rebounds of any team in the nation.

Junior guard Devin Cannady recorded 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, and the team also returns 6-foot-5 guard Myles Stephens, who averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds and nailed 39.5 percent of his 3s.

The Tigers should be toward the top of the conference once again. Their style of play and the solid recruiting of coach Mitch Henderson should have Princeton back above the 20-win plateau and in position to win another conference crown.

Harvard had represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament in four straight years from 2012 to 2015, winning two first-round games in that time, and is hoping the recruiting of coach Tommy Amaker can get the team back on the big stage.

The team went 18-10 last season and found two players to build the future around in Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns. The two were freshman but were the team's only two players who averaged more than 10 points per game and both proved to be good 3-point shooters. Those two being so young is a big help because it will be difficult to replace point guard Siyani Chambers, who did a wide array of things for Harvard.

As far as the interior is concerned, sophomore Chris Lewis will be the main post presence after averaging 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 65.2 percent from the field. It helps that Justin Bassey also played in the paint a lot as a freshman despite being 6-foot-5. He has the potential to be the biggest matchup nightmare in the conference, ss he hit over 40 percent of his 3s last year while getting 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds.

With 6-foot-3 freshmen Mario Haskett and Reed Farley entering the program as rated recruits, Harvard should be the favorite to win the conference with all of its firepower.

After making the NCAA Tournament in 2016, Yale managed to follow it up with a solid 18-11 season. The program has accrued enough talent to be a perennial contender in the Ivy League.

The Bulldogs expect to get the biggest addition of any team in the conference with star junior guard Makai Mason back in the fold after missing the entire 2016-17 season due to injury. He poured in a career-high 31 points in the NCAA Tournament upset of Baylor. Mason will rejoin the team with Alex Copeland and Miye Oni joining him in the starting lineup after both led the team with 12.9 points per game apiece.

The Ivy League outlook is very similar to what it has been for the past few years with Harvard, Yale and Princeton separating from the rest of the pack.

Greg Peterson’s Ivy League forecast:

1. Harvard  

2. Yale    

3. Princeton  

4. Pennsylvania    

5. Columbia  

6. Dartmouth    

7. Cornell   

8. Brown

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