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Know! Your! Foe! - Yale & Brown updates.

If you enjoyed reading last Thursday's Harvard and Dartmouth updates in our Know! Your! Foe! series we're back once more with Q&As about this weekend's opponents.

After the jump you'll find intelligent overviews by ardent Brown supporter David Wise and Ian Halpern from Ivy Hoops Online.

In their respective unique styles, both update readers on opposition Princeton split with on the road last month.

If you want to read their original takes on these teams, please check out these Brown and Yale K!Y!F! posts.

Additionally, if you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. It would be great to talk with you.

Yale update:

After Yale knocked off Princeton at the John J. Lee Amphitheatre in the first week of February, completing a home sweep of the Ps that put the Bulldogs at 5-1, the Elis took to the road to face Cornell. A wild final minute that saw four lead changes was not enough to decide a winner, and Johnathan Gray was too much to overcome in the extra period as Yale was dealt an 85-84 overtime setback.

With two losses in league play and a game still to come at Lavietes, Yale’s title aspirations looked dead in the water the next night when Columbia opened up a 21 point lead with only 11:30 left in the game. Senior captain Reggie Willhite refused to let the Bulldogs go quietly into that Harlem night though, willing his team back into the game with an astonishing performance on both ends of the floor (he has to be considered a favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award), helping hold Columbia to seven points the rest of the way and leading Yale back from the brink for a stirring 59-58 victory. His final line was five rebounds, seven steals, and 24 points, which included the game-winning lay-up with 13 seconds left.

The shocking comeback at Columbia was a catalyst for the Bulldogs, who followed the big victory with a hard-fought win at Dartmouth in a game that was won at the free throw line (Yale shot 30-33 from the stripe). The next night, Yale was more competitive with Harvard, but couldn’t completely extricate itself from a huge first-half hole, eventually falling 66-51 to the archrival Cantabs. Yale played a good game though, limiting turnovers and staying close for much of the second half. Harvard’s perimeter defense (especially Curry) and help defense is relentless though, and has taken away Yale’s non-Mangano weapons in both games this season.

This brings us to last weekend when the Bulldogs hosted the Cs. Yale moved the ball well in the first half against Columbia, getting open looks and draining them as they jumped out to a comfortable lead on the Lions on Friday night. This time though, it was Columbia’s turn to make a late charge behind Rosenberg and Barbour. Another huge game from Willhite and Mangano, who combined for 42 points, was enough to fend off Columbia’s charge as Yale got the 75-67 W. The next night, Yale came out with an emphasis on controlling the tempo and contesting every shot against Cornell. The result was the Elis’ most impressive performance to date, a 71-40 vengeance for the overtime loss in Ithaca that, combined with Harvard’s misstep against Penn, brought the Bulldogs within a game of first place at 9-3.

The turnover problem that plagued the backcourt early in the conference season has largely been resolved, with Yale averaging just 8.3 turnovers per game in their last three contests. Mangano is getting the support he needs on offense, thanks largely to the breakout season that Willhite is having, The team’s bench that seemed so thin earlier is now contributing more with Jesse Pritchard (7-10 last weekend) and Brandon Sherrod (10 pts, 6 rbs vs. Columbia) giving the Bulldogs good minutes. Austin Morgan is finding ways to contribute even on nights when his shot isn’t falling—the junior guard is 5th in the nation in free throw shooting (90.3%) and nailed all 12 of his attempts from the stripe against Dartmouth. With Mangano continuing to put up double-doubles, scoring in the paint and from three-point land, Yale has become quite the tough out in this league. Nothing tests an Ivy League team like a southern swing though, so we’ll see what this Yale team is really made of soon enough. While a sweep may be asking too much, I think the Bulldogs do manage to steal one from the Ps to get to 20 wins.

Brown update:

Brown has doubled their Ivy win total since Princeton visited weeks ago. (They won another game.) Last Saturday night, Sean McGonagill got untracked in a 28, eight rebound and eight assist performance in a game in which the Bears put up 94 points vs. Columbia. This after they played credibly against visiting Cornell the night before, due to Dockery Walker’ career night with 23 and 17. But for both McGonagill and Walker, their performance in the other weekend game was the other side of the coin – McGonagill shooting 0-8 vs. Cornell, and Walker grabbing one rebound vs. Columbia. And this has been Brown’s best Ivy weekend by a margin.

That’s how it’s gone for Brown since we last spoke. Inconsistent play, more injuries (McGonagill sitting out the D-H weekend), once-buried players regaining their form (Matt Sullivan) and once-streaking players losing theirs (Stephen Albrecht). Brown is still getting outrebounded, giving up a high shooting percentage and shooting poorly overall. The team’s best outcome has been the re-emergence of Sullivan, who has turned his shooting around and led the team several times in between their two wins. His rise has not quite offset the decline of Albrecht, who only a month ago seemed like the hard-nosed #2 threat on the offense, and now looks like he’s completely out of sorts. The other decline has been that of Andrew McCarthy – who I wrote about so admiringly last time – who has looked like he’s run out of gas. (The Columbia barrage was an exception for both guys.)

And, let’s not forget that this is the team who lost to Dartmouth, and as a result, the buzzards are now circling around coach Jesse Agel. The Brown board on has had more “Fire-the-Coach” discussion than I’ve ever seen since I’ve joined the boards.

This team is just as bad – maybe worse - than it was last time, but one thing to watch out for is a hot McGonagill. He’s coming off a torrid game vs. Columbia (that guy just likes to beat up on Columbia at home), but we all think he’s capable of that in any single game where he isn’t forced to give up the ball. Like last time, this team can be dangerous from three (as they were vs. Columbia – 14 of 22), and that’s the only way they stay close.

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