Despite sharing Ivy title last year, men’s basketball second in Ivy poll

The men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the Ivy League by the 2002-03 Ivy League Men’s Basketball preseason poll, released Tuesday on www.ivyleaguesports.com. The poll compiled votes from 16 sports reporters who cover Ivy League athletics. The University of Pennsylvania was ranked first.

The Bulldogs finished a close second to Penn, which also was picked by CNN/SI to win the Ivy League. Yale garnered just seven fewer points than Penn and was the only team aside from Penn to secure any first-place votes. Yale received 116 points and 5 first-place votes; Penn earned 123 points and 11 first-place votes.

The Elis were ranked third in CNN/SI’s poll, behind Princeton. Princeton was ranked third in the Ivy League poll, followed by Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Columbia and Dartmouth.

Yale, Penn and Princeton shared the Ivy League title last season in a three-way tie, each finishing with a 11-3 league record. Yale was ranked fifth in last season’s preseason league poll. Princeton was picked to finish first and Penn third.

Captain Chris Leanza ’03 had mixed feelings about the poll. Considering Yale’s dramatic improvement over the last few years, Leanza said, he felt good about being picked for second place.

“I remember when I came here, we weren’t even in the top half of the league,” he said.

But Leanza also said not being ranked first would serve as motivation to work harder.

“It gives us a little extra incentive,” he said. “People still consider us the underdogs.”

Yale returns last season’s entire starting lineup to the court this season, which begins at Oklahoma State University on Nov. 22.

–Keane Shum

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