Penn needs win over Harvard, help to make Ivy League Tournament

Penn needs win over Harvard, help to make Ivy League Tournament

There is one night left in the Ivy League regular season and Penn men's basketball still has a fighting chance at a berth in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. But the Quakers will need some help. 

As a recap, the tournament will have four teams and be hosted at the Palestra next Saturday and Sunday. Princeton, Harvard and Yale are locked in as the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, respectively. From there, only Cornell is eliminated. Penn and Columbia are tied for fourth place at 5-8 while Dartmouth and Brown are 4-9.

On Saturday, Penn hosts Harvard, Dartmouth travels to Princeton, Columbia is on the road at Yale and Brown faces Cornell in Providence. 

The Quakers lost an extremely costly game to Dartmouth on Friday night, while Brown beat up Columbia. Penn was swept by the Big Green for the first time since 2009 and just the second time since 1959. If Penn had won, all the Red and Blue would have needed was a win over Harvard or, perhaps more likely, a Yale win over Columbia. 

Now there are only two scenarios that get Penn into the Ivy tournament and both involve a victory over Harvard. The game is a literal must-win. (There was a scenario that had Penn getting into the tournament with a 5-9 record, but Cornell's loss at Yale on Friday night ended it.)

Scenario A
1. Penn beats Harvard
2. Yale beats Columbia

Scenario B
1. Penn beats Harvard but Columbia beats Yale
2. Cornell beats Brown
3. Princeton beats Dartmouth

For an explanation of all the tiebreakers involved in Penn topping Columbia in this scenario, see my post from Friday morning

Yale beating Columbia in New Haven isn't too tough to imagine, so perhaps the most difficult part is the actual Penn win over Harvard. However, a bit of luck and history are on the Quakers' side. On the luck side, the Crimson played a grueling game at Princeton on Friday night and need to travel to the Palestra with nothing to play for in terms of seeding. In terms of history, the last time Penn lost at home to Dartmouth (2013), the Quakers responded by beating the eventual Ivy champion Harvard the next night.

In their meeting up in Cambridge earlier this year, the Quakers raced out to an early lead but eventually lost to the Crimson, 69-59. If they want any chance of postseason glory, they'll have to reverse that result on Saturday night ... and get a little bit of help.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.