Last year’s inaugural Ivy League Tournament at the Palestra saw two first round nail-biters give way to a championship game snoozer. After Princeton and Yale sweated out their semifinal games, the Tigers topped the Bulldogs in a 71-59 snoozer, securing an NCAA tournament berth.
While the two championship contenders shared a stage, the programs were quite different. Yale was a young group; eight of Bulldogs’ 14 players were underclassmen, and they only had two seniors on the roster. Junior stud Makai Mason was sidelined with a broken foot, and they were underdogs by all accounts.
Princeton, on the other bench, was a team composed of mostly upperclassmen, including Spencer Weisz, who went on to be named Ivy League Player of the Year.
Princeton prevailed, as it should have, and went on to (barely) lose to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.
Now in different offseason spots, with the Elis building on their strong base and the Tigers resetting after losing six seniors, the two programs will test themselves with tough non-conference schedules in the coming year.
Princeton, Yale, and Cornell are the only Ivies to have released their non-conference schedules. Follow along as the other Ivies release their schedules with our non-conference schedule tracker.
Let’s start with Princeton.
Nov. 12 @ Butler
Nov. 15 vs. BYU
Nov. 18 @ Saint Joseph’s
Nov. 22 vs. Lafayette
Nov. 29 vs. Lehigh
Dec. 2 @ Miami (FL)
Dec. 6 @ George Washington
Dec. 12 vs. Monmouth
Dec. 16 @ Cal Poly
Dec. 19 @ USC
Dec. 22 vs. Middle Tennessee (Diamond Head Classic)
Dec. 23 vs. Akron or USC (Diamond Head Classic)
Dec. 25 vs. TBD (Diamond Head Classic)
Deep breaths, Princeton fans. The Tigers kick off the season with games against two teams ranked in the top 100 in KenPom last year in Butler and BYU. Butler, a 4 seed in last year’s tournament, is coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance.
Then, after two games against Patriot League opponents and one against A-10 foe Saint Joseph’s, Princeton goes south to take on Miami, a squad that went 21-12 last year.
In the final month of the non-conference, the Tigers will take on Monmouth, USC, and Middle Tennessee — teams ranked 81st, 52nd, and 43rd respectively in KenPom.
Princeton will certainly have to #MAKESHOTS if it wants to go into a difficult conference season with some wins.
And Yale’s schedule:
Nov. 10 @ Creighton
Nov. 12 @ Wisconsin
Nov. 14 vs. South Carolina State
Nov. 17 @ Albany
Nov. 19 vs. Curry
Nov. 22 @ Alcorn State
Nov. 25 vs. Vermont
Nov. 27 @ Delaware
Nov. 29 vs. Bryant
Dec. 2 @ TCU
Dec. 6 @ Lehigh
Dec. 9 @ St. Bonaventure
Dec. 12 @ Iona
Dec. 22 vs. Monmouth
Dec. 30 @ Kennesaw State
Jan. 6 vs. ELMS
The first two games for the Bulldogs border on masochism. Creighton ranked 28th in KenPom and earned a 6 seed in the tourney. Wisconsin was 21st in KenPom and was an 8 seed. Oh, and both of these games are away and Yale has only one day of rest between them.
Also of note: Yale will take on Vermont on Nov. 25, a team that went 16-0 in conference play and posted a 29-6 record. And Iona, a tournament team from last year. And Monmouth, who should have been a tournament team the last two years.
They will then leap into some hyper-competitive conference play.
There’s no rest for the weary in the Ivy League.