Liveblog: Penn at Yale

We're live in New Haven as the Penn Quakers take on the Yale Bulldogs, who are fresh off an upset of the then-top ranked Princeton Tigers.

Scouting Report: Yale

Oh, you again? Last month, Penn played a hard-fought game with the Elis but lost, 68-59. Yale took a 10 point lead late in the second half before a 9-0 run engineered by freshman Tony Hicks brought the Quakers within one point. But the run was not enough as the Bulldogs pulled away behind a clutch three from senior guard Austin Morgan and took the game by nine.

What have you been up to? Yale is coming off its biggest win of the season, as the Bulldogs upset then first-place Princeton yesterday, 71-66. The win completes the season sweep for Yale over the Tigers since the Elis also defeated Princeton the day after their first matchup with Penn. In the three weekends after the sweep of Princeton and Penn, Yale has split its six games, with wins against Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth. After losing at Columbia last weekend, the Elis took advantage of a shorthanded Cornell squad and won 79-70 in Ithaca.

Leading the way: Yale’s signature this season has been a truly balanced lineup, with 10 players averaging at least 4.5 points per game, and 12 players getting over 13 minutes of court time per contest. In the Elis' last three games, Morgan has led the way, putting up double figures in each contest. Sophomore Matt Townsend has played well in the post for the Bulldogs, averaging 13 points per game in Yale’s last four Ivy matchups. But one Yale forward has been cold in recent games, and that is freshman Justin Sears. Sears had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the Bulldogs’ first game against Penn, but he has scored just a combined eight points in Yale’s last three games.

SIZING IT UP

Scoring: YALE- Both teams struggled at times offensively in the first matchup at the Palestra, but Yale has proven to be the more consistent offensive team this year. The Bulldogs are second in scoring offense in the Ancient Eight and have put up at least 70 points in four of their last six games. They have surpassed 70 points in 11 games this season, compared to just four times by the Quakers.

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Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

Three Up Three DownComing off back-to-back wins against Harvard last Saturday and at Brown last night, the Quakers go for their third consecutive conference victory tonight when they visit Yale. Who's up and who's down as we head into Yale?

Three Up-

Tony Hicks: The freshman guard has been outstanding of late, capturing two consecutive Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards. Hicks averaged 23.8 points per game in the four contests leading up to last night's matchup against Brown. While the Bears were able to limit Hicks to only five points, on 1-for-9 shooting no less, expect Hicks to bounce back nicely tonight against the Bulldogs. The freshman scored 11 points in the first meeting between Penn and Yale on Feb. 8. If Hicks wants to pick up his masterful play against the Ivy League, he will need to limit his turnovers and look for opportunities to get easy points at the free throw line.

Upsets: While the Ivy season developed as most expected it to in January and February, the madness of March has hit the Ancient Eight. On back-to-back weekends, the two teams leading the pack, Harvard and Princeton, were upset by Penn and Yale, respectively. Though the Quakers and Bulldogs have both been eliminated from contention for the Ivy League crown, both have stepped up lately to salvage big wins for their programs and play spoiler. Even though tonight's game may seem like a routine conference matchup, if the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.

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Potential Harvard/Princeton playoff would be at the Palestra

The Newark Star-Ledger reported last night that if a second playoff for the Ivy League's automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament in three seasons is necessary, it will take place at  the Palestra.

Princeton's 58-53 home win over Harvard last night sets up that possibility. The Tigers now stand at 8-2 in Ivy play and the Crimson are 9-2. Harvard and Princeton split their season series. So if both teams win out, that "if necessary" playoff at the Palestra will be necessary.

The Ivy League's official Twitter denied the Star-Ledger's initial report that the date was already set for Saturday, March 16, also denying that a time or TV deal was set yet. The March 16 date would make sense, though, since the 2011 playoff also took place on the Saturday after the Ivy slate closed that season.

In 2011, Ivy co-Champions Princeton and Harvard met at Yale's John L. Lee Amphitheater in a memorable one-game playoff to determine the League's automatic bid recipient. Princeton overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to win, 63-62, on a Douglas Davis buzzer-beater.

That means now Penn can officially play the spoiler with its home matchups versus Harvard tonight and/or Princeton on March 12.

DPOSTM Ivy Hoops Power Rankings: Nov. 28