Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the first time in Ivy League men's basketball history, Harvard has been selected as the preseason pick to win the 2011-12 League title by panel of 17 media representatives.
The 2011-12 Ivy League men's basketball season sets up to be an exciting one as the Player of the Year and four of the five players on each of the first and second teams earning All-Ivy honors return for their respective teams for the upcoming season.
Harvard (23-7, 12-2 Ivy League in 2010-11) received 16 of the 17 first-place votes totalling 135 points. The Crimson earned the top spot leading into this season after finishing last year as co-champions with Princeton (25-7, 12-2 Ivy) and participating in the Postseason National Invitation Tournament for the first time in program history. Harvard had been voted second in the preseason poll three times previously (1988-89, 2005-06 and 2010-11).
The Crimson returns 12 players from last year's team, including senior co-captain and reigning Player of the Year Keith Wright, who has been honored on every preseason all-conference team. Wright, who led Harvard with 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season, has also been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.
Princeton and Yale (15-13, 8-6) tied for second in this year's poll with 103 points each with the Bulldogs receiving the other first-place vote.
Yale will be led by senior forward Greg Mangano, who became just the third Yale player and sixth Ivy League player to earn a spot on a USA Basketball roster when he played in the 2011 World University Games this summer. Mangano averaged 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in six tournament games for a USA team that finished fifth. Last season, he was the first player in Yale history to average a double-double for the season since Chris Dudley (17.6 ppg, 13.3 rpg) in 1986-87 and the first Ivy player since Harvard's Kyle Snowden (15.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg in all games, 14.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg in Ivy games) in 1995-96.
Coming off its League-leading 26th Ivy title and 24th NCAA Tournament appearance, Princeton returns four starters that include junior center Brendan Connolly, senior guard Douglas Davis, junior forward Ian Hummer and senior forward Patrick Saunders. Patroling the Tigers' sidelines this year will be first-year head coach Mitch Henderson, a 1998 Princeton alumnus whose celebratory leap following the 1996 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA has been part of Princeton and NCAA lore ever since.
Penn (13-15, 7-7 Ivy) finished in the top four in the preseason poll for the 19th-consecutive year with a fourth-place selection with 90 points. The Quakers return three starters and 10 letterwinners overall from last year, headlined bytwo-time first-team All-Ivy selection , and 2007-08 Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Brown (11-17, 4-10 Ivy), featuring no seniors and the reigning unanimous Rookie of the Year in sophomore guard Sean McGonagill, was picked fifth with 62 points. McGonagill tickled the twine often for the Bears in his rookie season, averaging 11.8 points per game.
In its second year under head coach Bill Courtney, Cornell (10-18, 6-8 Ivy) finished sixth in the poll with 52 points. The Big Red sports four returning starters, led by senior guard Chris Wroblewski, on a squad that won six of its final nine contests, including a sweep of Penn and a win over Yale.
Columbia (15-13, 6-8 Ivy) placed seventh in the poll with 50 points while Dartmouth (5-23, 1-13 Ivy) rounded out the voting in eighth place with 17 points. The Lions feature the League's top returning scorer in senior guard Noruwa Agho, who averaged 16.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 2010-11. The Big Green has its hopes on moving up the Ivy standings on a young team supported by six freshmen and senior guard/forward, who has played in every game (66) since arriving on the Dartmouth campus.
2011-12 IVY LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-Place Votes in Parentheses