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February 15, 2013

Men's Basketball Preview for February 15-16

Complete Men's Basketball Weekly Release in pdf format

Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The focus on this weekend of Ivy League men's basketball may mostly center around the Saturday night showdown on the NBC Sports Network at Lavietes Pavilion where Harvard and Princeton meet for the first time this season.

However, this back-to-back installment of "The 14-Game Tournament" has multiple matchups that will have major impacts going into the stretch run to claim the conference crown and the League's automatic bid for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

Sophomore guard/forward Wesley Saunders lead Harvard (13-7, 5-1 Ivy League) into the weekend coming off a career-high 27-point performance at Columbia on Feb. 10. He has been a workhorse for the Crimson all season, averaging 37.3 minutes per game which ranks fourth among the Ivies. Saunders tops the League in scoring (16.8 points per game) and is second in field goal percentage (.560, 117-of-209).

Princeton (11-8, 4-1 Ivy) comes in looking to sweep the Dartmouth-Harvard road trip for a third time in five seasons. Senior forward Ian Hummer continues to lead the team and has been getting support from two younger Tigers -- sophomore forward Denton Koon (10.2 ppg), who led the team in scoring in both games last weekend, and freshman forward Hans Brase, who has averaged 8.0 ppg as a starter over the past 10 games.

Before those two teams meet on Saturday, the Friday night slate offers intriguing matchups for each as Princeton plays at Dartmouth (6-14, 2-4) and Harvard plays host to Penn (5-17, 2-3 Ivy). The Big Green has found some success as of late, winning two of its last three games. Much of that has come from head coach Paul Cormer's squad finding their collective stroke from the field. Over the past nine games, Dartmouth has shot 45.2 percent from the floor. In the team's first 11 games, the Big Green connected at a mere 36.0 percent.

Penn has its sights on putting together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Junior guard Miles Cartwright seems to have regained his offensive rhythm, posting a career-high 27 in the Quakers' win over Brown on Feb. 9. He has also returned to form at the free throw line having gone 85-of-93 (.914) over his last 19 games and hit on his last 26 in a row dating back to the Jan. 23 Temple game.

The foursome of games involving Columbia and Cornell against Brown and Yale also provide critical contests in the title conversation as the Ivy slate reaches the midway point.

Friday's game with Cornell (11-12, 3-3 Ivy) and Yale (9-14, 3-3 Ivy) pits two evenly matched teams looking to break their tie in the standings. Both teams are averaging an identical 66.3 ppg with the Bulldogs allowing 66.7 ppg and Big Red allowing 69.0 ppg. Each team will need big performances on both end of the floor to create some separation in the middle of the pack.

Senior forward Errick Peck has been a presence down low for the Big Red as of late, after averaging 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals in his last two games. Yale has seen contributions from numerous players as six Bulldogs have averaged at least 9.0 ppg in the team's last two games. One of the key contributors has been freshman forward Justin Sears, who returned to the lineup from injury and averaged 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in Yale's road sweep over Penn and Princeton.

Columbia (10-10, 2-4) and Brown (8-12, 2-4) enter the weekend hoping to have big weekends to make moves up the standings. After a four-game slide, the Lions got back into the win column with a 15-point victory over Harvard on Feb. 10. Head coach Kyle Smith is going to need his sophomore guard Steve Frankoski, who dropped a career-high 27 points in the win, to remain hot from the field and keep the Lions' paws in the Ivy title hunt. Brown is going to need another strong two-game set from its big man, sophomore center Rafael Maia, who tops the League in rebounding (7.4 per game) and is ninth in scoring (11.1 ppg).

Columbia (10-10, 2-4 Ivy) at Brown (8-12, 2-4 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 15 – 7 p.m.
Location: Pizzitola Sports Center • Providence, R.I.
Television: myRITV
Columbia-Brown Series: Columbia leads, 67-62
Last Meeting: Brown 94, Columbia 78 • 2/25/12 • Providence, R.I.
Live Stats | Video
Columbia Game Notes | Brown Game Notes

Cornell (11-12, 3-3 Ivy) at Yale (9-14, 3-3 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 15 – 7 p.m.
Location: John J. Lee Amphitheater • New Haven, Conn.
Cornell-Yale Series: Cornell leads, 109-103
Last Meeting: Yale 71, Cornell 40 • 2/25/12 • New Haven, Conn.
Live Stats | Video
Cornell Game Notes | Yale Game Notes

Princeton (11-8, 4-1 Ivy) at Dartmouth (6-14, 2-4 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 15 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Princeton-Dartmouth Series: Princeton leads, 142-61
Last Meeting: Princeton 85, Dartmouth 61 • 2/25/12 • Hanover, N.H.
Live Stats | Video
Princeton Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Penn (5-17, 2-3 Ivy) at Harvard (13-7, 5-1 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 15 – 7 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Penn-Harvard Series: Penn leads, 128-34
Last Meeting: Penn 55, Harvard 54 • 2/25/12 • Cambridge, Mass.
Live Stats | Video
Penn Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes

Cornell at Brown
Date: Saturday, February 16 – 6 p.m.
Location: Pizzitola Sports Center • Providence, R.I.
Cornell-Brown Series: Cornell leads, 72-45
Last Meeting: Cornell 69, Brown 63 • 2/24/12 • Providence, R.I.
Live Stats | Video
Cornell Game Notes | Brown Game Notes

Columbia at Yale
Date: Saturday, February 16 – 7 p.m.
Location
: John J. Lee Amphitheater • New Haven, Conn.
Columbia-Yale Series: Columbia leads, 122-100
Last Meeting: Yale 75, Columbia 67 • 2/24/12 • New Haven, Conn.
Live Stats | Video
Columbia Game Notes | Yale Game Notes

Penn at Dartmouth
Date: Saturday, February 16 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Penn-Dartmouth Series: Penn leads, 147-56
Last Meeting: Penn 57, Dartmouth 54 • 2/24/12 • Hanover, N.H.
Live Stats | Video
Penn Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Princeton at Harvard
Date: Saturday, February 16 – 7 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Television: NBC Sports Network
Princeton-Harvard Series: Princeton leads, 128-40
Last Meeting: Harvard 67, Princeton 64  • 2/24/12 • Cambridge, Mass.
Live Stats
Princeton Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes