Three times under head coach James Jones Yale has beaten Penn and Princeton back-to-back at home. It would behoove the Bulldogs to make it four times this weekend.
The Elis (13–5, 3–1 Ivy) will host Penn (11–9, 3–0 Ivy) tonight and then Princeton (10–9, 1–2 Ivy) tomorrow to kick off the final 10-game stretch of the season.
Since the Ivy League champion and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament is determined based on the best record during the 14-game Ivy League schedule, players realize there is little room for error.
“We don’t think Harvard’s going to drop that many [games],” guard Sam Martin ’13 said. “Anything less than 12–2 isn’t going to win the League.”
He added that regardless of the records of the two teams, the Penn and Princeton weekend is traditionally a challenge. Historically the numbers back Martin up: the Bulldogs are a combined 149–288 against the Quakers and Tigers.
Penn and Princeton, who have won at least a share of 46 of the 55 Ancient Eight basketball championships, have continued their success this season. The Tigers in particular have won several big games, defeating Rutgers in New Jersey 59–57 on Dec. 7 and then traveled down to defeat Florida State 75–73 in triple overtime on Dec. 30.
Both teams have plenty of talent on the court, and Jones said that limiting both teams’ stars would be key.
“Both teams have one extremely good player,” Jones said. “Penn has two … We have to make sure we limit them.”
Tiger forward Ian Hummer is averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Quaker point guard Zack Rosen is averaging 18.8 points and an Ancient Eight-high 6.2 assists per contest. Rosen — one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award — is aided on the court by his fellow senior and forward Tyler Bernardini ’12.
Despite the challenges presented by the Quakers and Tigers, the Bulldogs are looking forward to getting back on the court following a disappointing showing last weekend. The Elis fell to archrival Harvard 65–35 and only just scraped out a 62–52 win against last-place Dartmouth the next night. Forward Greg Mangano ’12 said that the Bulldogs are ready for redemption.
“They’re two of the top teams in the League,” Mangano said. “It’s a chance to prove that we just played bad last weekend.”
Jones did find one positive in last weekend’s loss to the Cantabs — the fans.
“We played a disappointing game,” Jones said. “But even at the last [basket] we made, [the fans] were still cheering.”
The Bulldogs tip off against the Quakers tonight at the Lee Amphitheater at 7 p.m.