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.

NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for NBA draft, agents, more

AP Images

NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for NBA draft, agents, more

INDIANAPOLIS — College basketball players who participate in the NBA combine and go undrafted will be allowed to return to school and play as part of sweeping NCAA reforms in the wake of a corruption scandal.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors have adopted numerous proposals, including changes to the enforcement process for rules violations and allowing NCAA-certified agents to work with college basketball players who test the waters in declaring for the NBA draft. 

Agents will have at least a limited place within the NCAA structure when it comes to college basketball.

The NCAA's rule changes include allowing players to work with an agent while declaring for the NBA draft. College players would have to request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee on their draft prospects. The rules would also allow elite high school players to work with an agent if the NBA removes its one-and-done rule.

The agent would have to be certified by the NCAA no later than August 2020. Until then, agents certified by the NBA players' union would qualify.

Agents would be allowed to cover minimal expenses such as meals and transportation tied to meetings or workouts with pro teams. The agent's work would stop if the player enrolls in or returns to college.

The changes reflect the recommendations made in April by the Rice Commission.

The Rice Commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was formed in response to an FBI investigation into payments from shoe companies to coaches for steering players to certain schools.

The NCAA is also adopting changes it hopes will improve its enforcement process when handling cases of rules violations.

The policies adopted by the NCAA's Board of Governors and Division I Council include the appointment of independent groups to handle and resolve complex cases. That was one of the recommendations from the Rice Commission appointed in the wake of an FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball.

The changes also allow the NCAA to accept during investigations outside information that has been "established by another administrative body or a commission authorized by a school." The NCAA says that will save time since investigators would no longer have to independently confirm information outlined by other agencies or outside investigations.

In addition, school presidents and athletics staff will be required to commit "contractually" to cooperate fully with investigations.

The process to adopt recommendations for NCAA reforms from the Rice Commission was a swift one by the governing body's standards.

In a teleconference with reporters Wednesday, Georgia Tech president and Board of Governors chairman Bud Peterson said those changes would "normally take us about two years through the governance process."

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

USA Today Images

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.