Palestra, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Record: 22-8, 12-2
The Crimson may only have two losses in league play, but most Games in the Ivy seem to come down to the wire. That’s what happened in this Tournament last year when Harvard fell as the 2-seed in the semis. This one should be a little different, although Harvard narrowly beat Cornell in the first two Games it played this season. The hope for Harvard is that it draws Yale in the final because Penn was one of the teams that it split with this season. As seen in records, Penn was the only team close to Harvard and all signs point to those teams meeting in the final. The Crimson are still an extremely young team that is thriving off a top recruiting class from a year ago. Seth Towns is one of the best players in the league and can stretch the floor as a power forward. He’s one of five underclassmen in the starting lineup. In fact, Harvard only plays two juniors and zero seniors.
Record: 17-12, 12-2
As said above, Penn’s advantage in this Tournament is experience with seniors Darnell Foreman and Caleb Wood, as well as playing on its home cOurt (Palestra). The Quakers hope that Foreman’s experience will be the difference in a Tournament like this. However, they lost the tiebreaker and have to play Yale once again, a team they split with in the regular season. They most recently fell to Yale on the road 80-79 after a last-second basket. The problem for Penn is that it isn’t a great shooting team with no relevant players above 40% from deep. A lot of its success is based around defense and getting easy looks in the paint. Still, Penn has been a more consistent team than everyone but Harvard this season and with seniors leading the way, it’s reasonable to take the Quakers to go all the way.
Record: 16-14, 6-8
The interesting thing about Yale is that its offense finished below average this season, yet went on a huge run scoring at least 80 points in its last Four Games, including the win over Penn. Riding that is good enough reason to back the Bulldogs as an underdog to win this Tournament, although they’re another team with little help from seniors. In that last win over Penn, they went just 4-of-17 from deep while Penn was 10-of-20 and still found a way to win through drawing fouls. On the downside of that, Penn was ahead for most of that Game and will be at home in this Tourney. The improved offense is something to take note of, but the two times Yale played Harvard (likely Championship opponent) this season it failed to Scoremore than 52 points in both contests.
Record: 12-15, 6-8
You know how lopsided a league is when the Fourth-best team has a losing record in league play. That being the case, the Big Red still could possibly upend Harvard. In the first two meetings, the Crimson won by just three and then in double overtime. If you want to bet on Cornell to win this Tourney, go ahead, but it probably won’t be fun.
Harvard has the easier Schedule, but with this being in the Palestra, a lot of money will come in on Penn. In the end, Harvard probably has the most talent that’s only going to grow the next couple seasons. But if you prefer betting on senior point guards and more experience, Penn is probably the way to go.