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

Down the stretch we come. It is already the final weekend of Ivy play and to get you prepped for a huge road swing, Know! Your! Foe! updates about the Bulldogs and the Bears are ready to go.

Ian Halpern of Ivy Hoops Online and David "Bruno" Wise check in to let us know how the past three weeks have treated the respective squads they're experts on.

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

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:

I made a fool of myself in this space last time by declaring that this young Yale team would beat Princeton "when Hell freezes over." Well, they must be playing hockey in Hades because the Bulldogs marched into Jadwin and dealt the Tigers a shocking home loss back in February. For the Bulldogs, it was the best win of the season and simply the best-case scenario of a solid gameplan from James Jones.

In the weeks since that high point, Yale has seen mixed results in three consecutive split weekends, winning home games versus Columbia and Dartmouth and stealing one in Ithaca against a Shonn Miller-less Cornell. Personnel-wise, a few Elis have really stepped it up. We've recently seen the emergence of Matt Townsend, as the big man has achieved some consistency scoring the ball, averaging 14.7 ppg in his last three outings. Brandon Sherrod, a 6'6" sophomore forward who didn't play last time out against Princeton, has also found a bit of a groove in the last six games. He's reached double figures in three contests (all wins), posting his best performance of the year against Cornell on Saturday with 13 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks.

Ultimately though, as you'll surely recall, this is a Yale team that succeeds from a balanced offense that attacks the rim and kicks out for three. In game one against the Tigers, seven players scored more than six points - with no one scoring more than 13. Meanwhile, on the defensive end, the Bulldogs have struggled lately, allowing over 1.00 points per possession in their last four contests.

One win this weekend will ensure a 13th consecutive top half finish for James Jones' Bulldogs. I think they get there, but not until Saturday against the Quakers. I'm doubling down on my errant prediction and saying there's no way that Hummer commits seven turnovers again and lets Princeton stumble at the Amphitheater. With everything on the line, Princeton will make the adjustments and win, but they'll have to work for it on Senior Weekend in New Haven.

Brown update:

Since we last spoke, Brown has been up and down. The weekend at Princeton and Penn was an ugly regression to the years of the late 1990s, when we would go on the road and lose those two games by a total of 50+ points. I wondered if we were sunk, out of gas.

Since then – more good than bad. Brown followed that atrocious weekend with two home splits – losing badly to Harvard and narrowly to Cornell, and decent wins over Columbia and Dartmouth. But last weekend they tipped the momentum in their favor with what was arguably their best win of the season, drubbing (a somewhat depleted) Cornell on the road, and then coming back from a big second half deficit to win at the buzzer at Columbia. Their Ivy record is evened at 6-6, and with Penn and Princeton coming to Providence this weekend, I’d probably expect 7-7. All told, a big improvement from last season.

Other than for the Cornell game, Brown has shot pretty poorly, and their offense has really struggled to move the ball. Defensively, they’ve continued to be fairly hard-nosed, and continue to rebound well. They continue to play poorly in first halves and become dangerous in second halves.

Other than hoping to finish the Ivy season at .500 (or better?) and feeling pretty good about the improvement this season, most of us are now thinking about next year’s team, and whether Sean McGonagill (who has a shot at becoming Brown’s all time assists leader) will continue to start at the point or if he’ll be moved to the 2 with the graduation of Matt Sullivan.

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