The “Bracket” section has been updated.
In the two-year history of the four-team Ivy League tournament known as Ivy Madness, there have been two champions, two teams occupying the top two seeds and two teams that have made both championship games.
This season, Princeton and Penn are in a familiar position as the top two seeds — with identical records — and they’ll look to make their third straight championship game this weekend. In both previous tournaments, the No. 1 seed walked away with the victory.
Defending champion Princeton won the tiebreaker for the top seed this season, fighting back from a 2-2 start in Ivy League play to win ten games in a row. They’re led by two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Bella Alarie, who averaged 24.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in conference play — the only player in the Ivy League to average a double-double.
Penn, on the other hand, is on the conference’s second-best winning streak — four games, started after its Feb. 26 loss to Princeton — and looks to take back the title after losing it to Princeton last season. The Quakers’ standout center, Eleah Parker, comes in at fourth in conference play in scoring and second in rebounding.
But Harvard could be an interesting wild card. The only other team to make all three editions of Ivy Madness, the Crimson’s records against Princeton and Penn were used as the tiebreaker between those teams. Harvard lost to the Tigers twice, but managed to go 1-1 against the Quakers, giving Princeton the high seed.
The Crimson did play Princeton close both times, losing 75-71 and 61-58. They also went to overtime both times against Penn, grabbing an 80-72 win in double overtime before falling 75-70 in single overtime. So it’s not a stretch to say that Harvard could use some postseason magic to play spoiler this time around.
Along with four-seed Cornell — which is making its first Ivy Madness appearance after emerging from a three-team tiebreaker — all four teams in this tournament lead the Ivy League in nearly every statistical category, with each leading at least two.
In such a quick-fire tournament, consistency and dominance are of the essence. Can anyone use these take down Princeton and Penn, or are the two destined to meet in the championship for the third straight year?
When: Saturday, March 16; Sunday, March 17
Where: John J. Lee Amphitheater, New Haven, CT
How to view: ESPN3 (semifinals), ESPNU (final)
Princeton led from start to finish in the first semifinal, decisively beating Cornell 68-47 to advance to the championship. Penn also had a routine outing in the second semifinal, scoring at least 20 points per quarter en route to a 91-62 win over Harvard.
No. 1 Princeton Tigers vs. No. 4 Cornell Big Red
Saturday, March 16, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN3
No. 2 Penn Quakers vs. No. 3 Harvard Crimson
Saturday, March 16, following previous game, ESPN3
Behind Most Outstanding Performer Bella Alarie’s 25 points, Princeton pulled away from Penn in the fourth quarter to take the tournament title, 65-54. It’s the Tigers’ second straight NCAA bid and their eighth in 10 seasons.
No. 1 Princeton Tigers vs. No. 2 Penn Quakers
Sunday, March 17, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU