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Ivy League Basketball Preseason Media Poll: The Bottom Three

Dartmouth, Penn and Cornell find themselves at the bottom of the Ivy League poll predictions. Will these teams be able to defy expectations?

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Ivy League basketball may not have the name recognition of a conference like the Big East, but the high level of talent in the group has proven one thing: the Ivy League is here to stay as an entertaining and competitive conference. Last week we took a look at the top three teams in the conference. This week we visit the teams ranked in the bottom three.

6. Dartmouth Big Green 14-15 (7-7)

The Big Green recorded a strong 2014-15 season, finishing fourth in the Ivy League. Dartmouth lost two key players this offseason. The teams second leading scorer, forward-center Gabas Maldunas, graduated. Maldunas is in the top 25 in scoring history at Dartmouth, and has the third most blocked shots in program history. The offseason also saw star guard Alex Mitola depart the program. Mitola is now playing at George Washington.

Dartmouth returns six seniors, and will rely on their upperclassmen for leadership. With last year's two leading scorers leaving, the teams third leading scorer, senior forward Connor Boehm will be looked to as a key offensive component. Boehm averaged nearly 10 points a game last season, and notched a game-winning buzzer-beater which gave Dartmouth their first victory of the season. Boehm finished in the top five in the Ivy League for 2-point field goal percentage (.546) and in the top 10 for offensive rebound percentage (7.9).

Key Players: Connor Boehm, Miles Wright

7. Penn Quakers 9-19 (4-10)

The Quakers received 48 overall points in the media poll, leaving them only six points behind the fifth-placed Brown Bears. There is an air of uncertainty surrounding the Quakers following the somewhat abrupt departure of Tony Hicks from the team. Hicks lead the Quakers in scoring for the past two seasons. His decision to leave came in the aftermath of the departure of head coach Jerome Allen. Allen was replaced by Steve Donahue in March.

Hicks leaves large shoes behind to fill. Last season saw him score his 1,000th career point for Penn, and he averaged double-digit scoring in all three seasons with the team. Fortunately for Penn, the roster has a plethora of guards to choose from to try and soften the blow of Hicks’ departure in the backcourt. Junior guard Matt Howard was the teams third leading scorer last season and is in an excellent position to increase his role. The Quakers also welcome back senior guard Jamal Lewis, who missed all of last season for medical reasons. Lewis is a defensive specialist, and was frequently used as the team’s lone full court defender.

Key Players: Matt Howard, Antonio Woods

8) Cornell Big Red 13-17 (5-9)

This is the second consecutive year that Cornell has landed at the bottom of the media poll. Last season, Cornell sought to prove they were deserving of a higher spot and ultimately finished in an impressive fifth in the Ivy League. The Big Red approach this season with a similar mindset, looking to dispel the notion that they are deserving of a last place slot. Unfortunately for Cornell, the barriers to their success have seemingly risen. They have an extremely youthful roster, with eight freshmen, and lost three of their top four leading scorers.

Cornell will look to returning players such as junior guard JoJo Fallas, who was fifth in scoring last season, to pick up some of the offensive slack. The Big Red will look to their trademark tough and gritty defense to propel them to wins. Last years defense was stringent enough to garner national ratings. Cornell held opponents to a .389 field goal percentage, good for 18th in the country. In addition, the Big Red led the Ivy League in blocks per game, at 4.8. One key contributor to this defensive success was David Onuorah, who finished the 2014-15 season with 45 blocks.

Key Players: JoJo Fallas, David Onuorah