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Men's Basketball Preview for March 8-9

Princeton's Will Barrett

Complete Men's Basketball Weekly Release in pdf format

Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- It is rare that the final full weekend of the Ivy League men's basketball season is not chalked full of storylines.

This final Friday-Saturday back-to-back of this season is no exception.

Princeton (16-9, 9-2 Ivy League) moved into the top spot in the standings, thanks to a weekend sweep and consecutive losses by Harvard (17-9, 9-2 Ivy) to open the month of Madness. The Tigers now enter this weekend with their sights on a conference-best 27th Ivy League title. Though senior forward Ian Hummer (16.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) has been Princeton's unquestioned leader throughout the season, the Tigers will need juniors T.J. Bray (9.4 ppg, 3.6) and Will Barrett (9.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg) to continue their solid play to soldier their squad through the gauntlet of three-straight road battles to close the regular season.

Eight times in Ivy League history, Princeton has had its last three games of the Ivy slate on the road. Only twice (1986-87 and 1997-98) has Princeton gone 3-0 in those games. In 2001-02, the Tigers were victorious at Columbia and Cornell before losing at Penn. In 2010-11, Princeton won at Dartmouth, lost at Harvard and won at Penn. Princeton has not swept the Yale-Brown trip since 2009-10.

Harvard's story is far from over heading to the final weekend. The Crimson must bounce back from its two-game slide to keep the pressure on Princeton and keep the potential alive of a title share  and one-game playoff to determine the League's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

The Crimson is back in the friendly confines of Lavietes Pavilion for its final two games against Columbia (12-14, 4-8 Ivy) on Friday night and Cornell (13-16, 5-7 Ivy) on Saturday evening in a game to be televised live on the NBC Sports Network. Harvard is 18-1 against Ancient Eight opponents at home over the past three seasons, including a perfect 5-0 mark this season.

Brown (12-14, 6-6) has potential postseason aspirations on its mind as it closes the season at home against Penn (8-20, 5-6 Ivy) on Friday night and Princeton on Saturday night. The Bears have been a bear to deal with as of late, reeling off three-straight wins and four wins in their last six games. Senior guard Matthew Sullivan (14.2 ppg, 4.3 rig) and junior guard Sean McGonagill (13.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.9 apg on the perimeter) to go along with sophomore center Rafael Maia (10.8, 7.3 rpg) and freshman forward Cedric Kuakumensah (7.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.3 bpg) down low as given Brown a solid inside-outside game that has the team in striking distance to finish .500 or better for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Yale (12-17, 6-6 Ivy) finds itself in a similar position with a shot to cap the year on a three-game winning streak and post its 12th-consecutive, top-half  finish in League play. The Bulldogs have swept the Princeton-Penn home weekend four times during James Jones' tenure as head coach at Yale, including last year. Keys to repeating that sweep rest in the hand of senior guard Austin Morgan (11.1 ppg), who is third in the nation in free throw percentage at .908 (89-of-98) and sophomore forward Matt Townsend, who has been the Bulldogs' offensive catalyst as of late, pouring in 14.7 ppg on 65.4 percent shooting from the field in his last three games.

Penn's script this year has not been as head coach Jerome Allen would have liked, but his Quakers can create a dramatic conclusion that may have affects across the League when the team welcomes Princeton to The Palestra on March 12. Freshman guard Tony Hicks has been simply outstanding over Penn's last four games, averaging 23.8 points per game and shooting 55.6 percent (35-of-63) from the field in that time.

Penn (8-20, 5-6 Ivy) at Brown (12-14, 6-6 Ivy)
Date: Friday, March 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: Pizzitola Sports Center • Providence, R.I.
Television: myRITV
Penn-Brown Series: Penn leads, 102-21
Last Meeting: Penn 71, Brown 48 • 2/9/13 • Philadelphia
Live Stats | Video
Penn Game Notes | Brown Game Notes

Columbia (12-14, 4-8 Ivy) at Harvard (17-9, 9-3 Ivy)
Date: Friday, March 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Columbia-Harvard Series: Columbia leads, 94-75
Last Meeting: Columbia 78, Harvard 63 • 2/10/13 • New York
Live Stats | Video
Columbia Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes

Cornell (13-16, 5-7 Ivy) at Dartmouth (7-19, 3-9 Ivy)
Date: Friday, March 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Cornell-Dartmouth Series: Cornell leads, 103-102
Last Meeting: Cornell 79, Dartmouth 56 • 2/10/13 • Ithaca, N.Y.
Live Stats | Video
Cornell Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Princeton (16-9, 9-2 Ivy) at Yale (12-17, 6-6 Ivy)
Date: Friday, March 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: John J. Lee Amphitheater • New Haven, Conn.
Princeton-Yale Series: Princeton leads, 144-83
Last Meeting: Yale 69, Princeton 65 • 2/9/13 • Princeton, N.J.
Live Stats | Video
Princeton Game Notes | Yale Game Notes

Cornell at Harvard
Date: Saturday, March 9 – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Television: NBC Sports Network
Cornell-Harvard Series: Cornell leads, 90-73
Last Meeting: Harvard 67, Cornell 65 • 2/8/13 • Ithaca, N.Y.
Live Stats | Audio
Cornell Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes

Princeton at Brown
Date: Saturday, March 9 – 6 p.m.
Location
: Pizzitola Sports Center • Providence, R.I.
Princeton-Brown Series: Princeton leads, 97-26
Last Meeting: Princeton 63, Brown 46 • 2/8/13 • Princeton, N.J.
Live Stats | Video
Princeton Game Notes | Brown Game Notes

Columbia at Dartmouth
Date: Saturday, March 9 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Columbia-Dartmouth Series: Columbia leads, 107-96
Last Meeting: Dartmouth 60, Columbia 57 • 2/8/13 • New York
Live Stats | Video
Columbia Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Penn at Yale
Date: Saturday, March 9 – 7 p.m.
Location: John J. Lee Amphitheater • New Haven, Conn.
Penn-Yale Series: Penn leads, 146-71
Last Meeting: Yale 68, Penn 59 • 2/8/13 • Philadelphia
Live Stats | Video
Penn Game Notes | Yale Game Notes

Princeton at Penn
Date: Tuesday, March 12 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Palestra • Philadelphia
Princeton-Penn Series: Penn leads, 123-104
Last Meeting: Princeton 65, Penn 53 • 1/12/13 • Philadelphia
Live Stats | Video
Princeton Game Notes | Penn Game Notes