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Everyone loves a Cinderella story. Especially in basketball. There’s no better feeling than watching some small-time program make a name for itself on the court against bigger and more well-funded competition. Just last year we had the No. 16 seed over No. 1 seed upset and a school that had an elderly nun as moral support on the bench make it to the Final Four. It’s crazy to think that the rules were almost changed to bar mid-majors from the tournament in an effort to keep postseason play more exciting. We have the Ivy League to thank for that, as No.16 seed Princeton University almost upset No. 1 Georgetown University in 1989, but ended up losing 50-49. That game alone ensured that Madness would continue, and mid-major schools would continue to get invited to the Big Dance (Scrabis got fouled by the way). Here’s some of the mid-major teams to look out for in March.
The Accidental Fan: Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in the Ivy League Anymore
In celebration of this weekend’s Super Bowl, this week’s edition of Pucks in Deep will be a National Football League-National Hockey League crossover event. More specifically, I will explore the divergent way in which the two leagues handle the contracts of their most high impact positions.
For the first time in 2019, Dartmouth women’s hockey emerged from this past weekend with a win. Not only did the team upset close conference rival Brown University 5-2, but the team set a season-high goal tally in the process. Eight players combined for 14 total points, which is the type of production this team has been on the verge of all season long. The next day, however, the team fell 2-0 to Yale University.
Despite tallying its first win of Ivy play at Brown University this weekend, the Dartmouth women’s basketball team slipped into a tie for last place in the Ivy League with a loss in New Haven against Yale University this weekend. Consecutive losses against Harvard University in its first two games of conference play gave the Big Green an 0-2 record heading into its first back-to-back weekend. After a confidence boosting win in Providence, a slow start on Yale home court dug Dartmouth into a hole that it couldn’t climb out of. Coming out of the weekend, the Big Green holds a 1-3 record in Ivy play.
The Dartmouth men’s basketball team suffered a pair of devastating losses this weekend, falling 60-58 to Brown University and 89-68 to Yale University in back-to-back home games. With the losses, the team falls to 10-10 overall and 1-3 in Ivy League play.
Motivated by some recent close defeats, the women’s tennis team comes into this season hoping to build on recent years of strong play that consistently places them as one of the best teams in the Ivy League. Last year, the team finished tied for third in the Ivy League. In 2017, following back-to-back second place finishes, the team tied for first in the Ivy League, earning the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, where they lost in the first round to the University of Kentucky. Kristina Mathis ’18 was the unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year last year and competed in the NCAA Singles Championship. Returning sophomore Abigail Chiu ’21 earned a spot on the Ivy League first team for doubles last year also along with Julia Schroeder ’18.
After a successful season last year, the Dartmouth men’s tennis team has once again gotten off to a fast start and has lofty goals for the remainder of the season.
Drew Duffy ’21 has been sensational for Dartmouth in his debut season, with four wins in six races. The collegiate carnival scene might be new to him as of this year, but he’s certainly not wanting for experience.
In just his first season of college hockey, Drew O’Connor ’22 has become an offensive weapon for the men’s hockey team. He leads the team with 15 points and is second in goals scored this season.
The Accidental Fan: May the Red Sox Be With You
As conference play in men’s college basketball keeps moving forward, the picture starts to look a bit clearer regarding which teams have a chance to make it far in the postseason. Some teams that shined early in the season have struggled against teams from their own conference (like St. John’s University), while other teams have come on strong in recent weeks (like the University of Louisville). Which teams from the power conferences will make the NCAA Tournament and have the potential to go far?
In her familiar No. 26 USA sweater, one which immediately ignited chants from the SAP Center crowd, Kendall Coyne Schofield became the star of the National Hockey League’s All-Star Weekend before a single NHL player participated in any competition.
As Eastern College Athletic Conference play heats up, the men’s hockey team sits just two points from the top of the league standings. The team split the past two weekends, with both losses coming to top-15 teams.
Dartmouth women’s basketball took on the Harvard University Crimson each of the past two weekends to kick off Ivy play. The Big Green went 0-2 in the matchups, first losing 56-46 in Cambridge, then 73-57 in Hanover.
At a stellar academic institution like Dartmouth, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the Big Green using its intelligence to its advantage on the basketball court.
You might wonder why people enjoy going to live concerts. If you can get better sound quality in the comfort of your own home, why would you venture out, driving, riding or even flying long distances just to be pushed and jostled and deafened? However, someone who likes going to concerts might tell you that the live performance, the energy of the performers and the crowd make it worth it. Going to a sports game is much the same. Why wouldn’t you just watch on TV? You get commentary! You can actually see what is going on! You get instant replays! But there is something unique and energizing about being in the stadium or arena with a crowd. The action is closer, people all around you are reacting to their team and you may be deeply affected by those reactions.
Dartmouth men’s soccer team veterans Eduvie Ikoba ’19 and Justin Donawa ’19 were both looking forward to successful senior seasons with the Big Green as two of the team’s top players. Both players faced injuries throughout the season however, and as a result, the team struggled to score goals. Consequently, the team finished with a 4-1-2 Ivy League conference record and suffered its first year without an Ivy League title in the past four years. This marked the only year in which the ’19s class did not bring home an Ivy League title.