Return Of The Ivy League

by Ben Burns

For many schools, the new year has coincided with the start of "conference play. " Teams from the Ivy League are among them. Yale's game vs. Columbia was supposed to be the first Ivy League game in 666 days. What happened? Typically, it got postponed. The Lions finally got things going against Princeton, on Friday, January 7th.  Naturally, after nearly two years, much has changed. Let's take a look at some of the early contenders/pretenders for 2022. 

The Tigers have had a few down years. That will change in 2022. They're already 2-0 in conference play and their 12-3 overall record is best in the Ivy League. Two of those three losses were very close, too. They've beaten the likes of Oregon State and South Carolina. The young Princeton players have matured. They're the early frontrunners for the league title. 

Any conversation about the Ivy League needs to include the Bulldogs. The defending league champions are deep, talented and well-coached. The poor non-conference record can be taken with a grain of salt, as it included the likes of St. Mary's, Auburn and Seton Hall. Due to postponements, they have yet to play a conference game. 

Games against teams like Villanova, Florida State and  Arkansas have the Quakers ready for Ivy League action. They're already 2-1 within the conference. Coach Donahue is excited about his team and they should be in the mix the entire way. 

The Bears don't have as strong a backcourt as any of the three above teams. However, they're arguably better up front. Tamenang Choh, one of the best rebounders in the conference, does much of the heavy lifting. He averaged 13.2 ppg and 8.1 rbg in 2019/20. He's started every game the past two seasons. Choh is complemented by Jaylan Gainey. The 6-9 senior is the reigning Ivy League defensive player of the year. While the Bears are off to a 1-2 start within the league, a tough non-conference schedule should serve them well. 

HARVARD The Crimson are usually near the top of the conference but this may not be their year. While they have talent, they're also inexperienced. Prior to the season, coach Amaker commented: "I think it's going to require for us .. to be incredibly patient .... It's just going to be like you're starting over in every way with the program."

CORNELL I don't expect the Big Red (1-2) to compete for the league title this season; I successfully played against them in their 14-point loss against Penn. However, I'm giving them an honorable mention due to their impressive 10-2 ATS overall record. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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