Despite just three conference game played, this past weekend of Ivy League men’s basketball added more chaos (and excitement!) in the 14-game quest to reach the inaugural Ancient Eight tournament in March. After examining the effects of this weekend’s games on each team’s chancing of the Ivy League tournament, it’s clear that meaningful basketball will be played on the final weekend of the regular season.
On Friday night, Yale bested Brown on the road, overcoming a twelve-point halftime deficit to beat the Bears 75–74. This result has significant implications for both teams. The loss drops Brown’s chances of reaching the Ancient Eight tournament to just 19.9 percent; had the Bears upset the Bulldogs, they would’ve been the frontrunner for the tournament’s fourth and final spot, and Yale would have all but no remaining chance to snatch the conference’s No. 1 seed. With the victory, the Bulldogs have increased their playoff odds to nearly 97 percent.
Harvard took care of Dartmouth at home in an 82-68 rout on Saturday. This result, however, does little to affect either team’s playoff probabilities: The Crimson, at 93.3 percent, have all but secured a playoff spot, while the Big Green (1.9 percent) need a miracle to reach the Ancient Eight Tournament.
Cornell inserted itself into the race for fourth place on Saturday by upsetting Columbia on the road, 67-62. The Big Red increased its expected win total by 0.8 wins while decreasing Columbia’s expected win total by that same margin. With the loss, the Lions drop from the frontrunners for the fourth seed to co-favorites with Penn.
This is the Ivy League though, Cornell’s and Brown’s statement performances, show that they’re not afraid to take on the conference’s powerhouses. In this year’s Ivy League there’s only one thing for certain: it’s going to be a crazy race to the finish.
— Luke Benz, Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group President