The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is the best weekend of the calendar year (this is fact, not an opinion). Dozens of college basketball games with teams and players trying to make themselves a household name, even if for just the weekend. This continues our series looking at conferences and schools are most likely to represent them in the NCAA Tournament. Consider this early bracket research to find that Cinderella team that busts everyone’s bracket...except yours.
Last Year’s NCAA Participant: Princeton
Prior Years Upset Team: The Ivy League has had a number of first round upsets, the most recent was 2016 when 12-seeded Yale upset Baylor. Perhaps the most famous Ivy League win was Princeton’s upset of 4-seed UCLA back in 1996. And lastly, the Ivy League lays claim to the “closest” 16-seed upset when Princeton nearly took down Alonzo Mourning’s Georgetown Hoyas in 1989.
KenPom Rank: 135
Off Efficiency: 102.6 (233)
Def Efficiency: 99.5 (57)
eFG%: 52.1% (134)
Why are they dangerous: This team plays defense and that makes them dangerous. They currently rank 4th nationally in 3-point defense, they hold teams to under a point per possession and then they box out, getting the defensive rebound. Scoring is more a challenge. They may be one of the most efficient offenses in the Ivy League, but overall they rank 233rd nationally in offensive efficiency. When they faced Villanova earlier in the year, the game was not close. That was a long time ago, but an indication that hanging with a team of that caliber may be tough to envision.
KenPom Rank: 165
Off Efficiency: 100.0 (277)
Def Efficiency: 99.3 (53)
eFG%: 48.9% (267)
Why are they dangerous: An awfully similar profile to Penn’s. Quite good on the defensive end but struggles to score. Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken (no relation to Clay) are a couple of sophomore guards who present the most dangerous offensive explosion on the team. No real contributing seniors makes this team light on experience but a team to watch, particularly as you start prepping for your 2019 NCAA bracket.
The Ivy teams are always a little dangerous. Stereotypically they execute well and the two teams listed above are going to play defense in such a way that you are going to have to earn your points.