Simmons: Ivy League Race Getting Tight


Over the last few weeks Harvard has been looking like an Ivy League contender. The Crimson are 8-5 overall and 4-1 in conference. In April, Harvard is 3-1, beating Cornell, BU and Princeton, while falling to Penn, who just might be the best team in the Ivy League, in overtime. They have played two ACC teams, losing to UNC by just 3 and Duke by 6.

Harvard has just one more Ivy League game to go, a 2 pm game on Saturday against Yale. Cornell will face Princeton at 1 pm on Saturday. If they both win, this will leave Cornell and Harvard tied at 5-1 in Ivy League play, but because Harvard has the head-to-head win, the seeding for the Ivy Tournament would be as follows: 1. Harvard (5-1), 2. Cornell (5-1), 3. Penn (4-2), 4. Yale (3-3).

Even if Princeton beats Cornell on Saturday, there is no way the Tigers can make the Ivy Tournament. A win over the Big Red would put the Tigers at 3-3, and even if Yale loses, putting them at 3-3 as well, Yale has the head-to-head win over Princeton. 

At the beginning of the season, I really thought Princeton had a shot to make the NCAA Tournament. They came close, but they never got that win over a solid tournament team. The closest they came was a 15-12 win over Penn in March.

The only team in the Ivy League Tournament who I don’t think could win it is Yale. Cornell, Harvard and Penn all have a shot, but I think it will largely depend on final seeding. Either way, I think the Ivy League is the most interesting situation in terms of the NCAA Tournament. There are three teams with legitimate post-season resumes and I have to believe two will get in.


My Poll

I’m pretty comfortable with those top 10, after that it continues to be somewhat of a mystery.

  1. Duke–Had them here the last two weeks, and I have to continue the trend. We now know that Luke Duprey will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, a huge loss to the Blue Devils, but in every other aspect of their game, the Dukies are charging forward. They beat Rutgers last week 17-8, and on Friday at 5 pm Syracuse will play Duke in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
  2. Loyola–Brian Shultz had a 6-goal game against Bucknell on Thursday, bringing the Greyhounds to 12-1. Loyola will have to wait until Tuesday to find out who they will play in the Patriot League semi-finals, but I’m not sure anyone believes there is any real chance they don’t win their conference tournament.
  3. Syracuse–Saturday, the Orange took back the Kraus-Simmons Trophy in their 100th matchup with in-state rival Hobart. That is five straight for the Orange who have been running on all cylinders since falling to Duke 21-7 in one of the worst losses in program history. I cannot wait for Friday, just to see how they matchup with the Blue Devils after turning their season around. I think Duke still wins but I expect it to be a much, much closer game this time around.
  4. Maryland–Big 12-8 win over Notre Dame on Saturday for the Terps. Oddly enough, because of the way the seeding matches up, UND and UMD will face each other at 7:30 on Friday for the first round of the ACCT. I think the back-to-back games is a disadvantage for Maryland.
  5. North Carolina–The 10-3 Tar Heels bounced back from their double overtime loss to Syracuse to beat High Point 12-8 on Friday. UNC will face Virginia in the ACC Showcase game Saturday. I did not see UNC missing the tournament, and because Notre Dame got in, I have to think every ACC club makes it to the NCAAT.
  6. Denver–I feel bad about putting them so far down, but this is a list of teams Denver has beaten: Air Force, Marist Canisius, Notre Dame, Penn State, OSU, Rutgers, Georgetown, ‘Nova, St. John’s, and Providence. No question Notre Dame is good, but there is not one more legit team in that group. The Pioneers are 11-2. Their first loss came against Duke, and you can’t blame them for that. Their second loss however, a 12-10 stumble to Penn is a game they really should have won if they wanted to be considered in the top 5. They play Marquette next, the winner of that game will decide the #1 seed for the Big East Tournament. If Denver doesn’t win the Big East, I would put another team in over them in the NCAAs, but I’m not sure the committee would agree.
  7. Johns Hopkins–Man, what happened against Navy this weekend? If it weren’t for Brandon Benn, who had four goals, and Eric Schneider, picking up an incredible 17 saves, Hopkins doesn’t take the 6-5 win. Don’t forget though, Navy almost took down #1 Loyola 6-7 three weeks ago. The Jays have one more game before the NCAAT, a 1 pm game at Maryland on May 3. That will be quite a game, and a very good measuring stick for post-season play for both these teams.
  8. Penn–Last week they took down Dartmouth 9-3, they’ve got four wins in a row including an 8-7 OT win over Harvard. The Ivy League Tournament will be interesting.
  9. Notre Dame–Maryland got going on a quick lead and never looked back as the Terps fell to the Irish 12-8. Notre Dame has wins over UNC and UVA, but will get a shot at redemption against Maryland Friday.
  10. Virginia–Finally the Cavaliers ended a three game skid, taking down Bellarmine 12-8. At 1-4 in the ACC, UVA will face UNC in the ACC Showcase game. With wins over Loyola, Syracuse, and Johns Hopkins (and chance at a win over UNC on Saturday) I think it would be a travesty to leave them out of the NCAAT.
  11. Yale–Four in a row for Yale against Providence, Dartmouth, Brown and Michigan. The Bulldogs have Quinnipiac and then Harvard this week.
  12. Hofstra–The Pride are 10-3 overall and after losing their first two games to Marquette and Princeton, they have gone 10-1. Their biggest win might be over Cornell two weeks ago.
  13. Cornell – The Big Red rocketed up the polls a couple of weeks ago before falling back down to earth after three straight losses. They beat Brown last weekend 14-9 and have Princeton next weekend.
  14. Bryant – This week Bryant faces Brown and Wagner, both should be wins. Bryant will almost certainly have to win the NEC conference to make it into the NCAAT
  15. Harvard – They lost to Penn in overtime, but have wins over Cornell and Princeton. Yale-Harvard is a big game this week for both teams.