What are the chances of the Harvard men's basketball team winning the Ivy League title this year?
Well, not too good.
But, the reason Harvard won't win the Ivy League is not because of any particular lack of talent on the Crimson squad.
Instead, it is the amazing pool of talent that Princeton has assembled.
The Tigers' basketball program is on a roll. Last year, it was ranked in the top 25 nationally as Princeton Coach Pete Carril took his team to a 24-3 record, while going 14-0 in Ivy League play.
This year, Carril returns four out of the five starters from last year's team. The only player missing is center Kit Mueller, 1990-91 Ivy Player of the Year. He will be missed, but freshman recruit Rick Hielschler can fill the void.
Beyond Heilschler, Princeton has guards Sean Jackson and George Leftwich, along with forwards Chris Marquadt and Matt Eastwick. That foursome is the best in the league. No doubt about it.
Barring a terrible highway accident involving the Tigers' team bus, Princeton has the Ivy League locked up.
If at First You Don't Succeed
The race, then, is for second.
Two teams stand out in the race to place: Harvard and Pennsylvania.
The two teams feature diametrically opposite styles of play: the Crimson plays a lumbering inside game, while the Quakers will rely on a speedy three-guard attack.
Penn Coach Fran Dunphy has the second-best backcourt in the league, after Princeton. The Quakers lost leading scorer Paul McMahon (13.8 points per game), but replacing him is Rookie of the Year Will McAlister, who averaged 9.7 points per game as a freshman.
Dunphy has also added freshman point guard Jerome Allen, whom he says is "very, very good." Together with returners Paul Chambers (7.3 ppg) and Ken Graf (10.8 ppg), Dunphy can rotate four men through his three guard positions.
Rounding out the Quakers' squad will be senior Vince Curran (7.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) at forward, and sophomore transfer Andy Baratta at center.
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