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Ranking the Ivy League’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

While 2018 champ Penn should challenge for the title again, the Quakers’ two expected primary rivals, Harvard and Yale, built better non-conference slates.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kansas vs Pennsylvania Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports Images

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

As Ivy League basketball’s national stature has improved significantly over the past 10 seasons, 2017-18 looks like an anomalous down year. Traditional powers Harvard, Princeton, and Yale all struggled badly, which damaged their four-year rankings when compared to 2017-18, with the Tigers and Bulldogs dropping out of the top 100. Meanwhile, champion Penn, which jumped over 50 spots in the four-year ranking, ended up being handed a 16 seed—a result that a Penn alum friend and I both thought smacked of the Committee lazily placing the Quakers in the spot Harvard seemed destined for heading into the Ivy final on Selection Sunday.

With both Harvard and Penn likely to contend again—and Princeton and Yale also sure to be improved—look for this season’s Ivy champ to again earn a 12-14 seed, as has been the usual result over the past 10 seasons (five 12 seeds alone in that span), rather than that 16 Penn was handed—the lowest Ivy seed of the KenPom era.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Princeton 2.47052765 105 76
Harvard 1.4994521 130 106
Yale 1.352018 136 96
Penn -0.593846575 178 230
Columbia -1.7000184 200 167
Cornell -4.3009505 273 277
Brown -4.6776725 282 266
Dartmouth -5.0047576 290 256
Average -1.369405978 199.25 184.25
Conference Rank 17th of 32 (15th in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps For 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
10 Brown 282 199 83
46 Harvard 130 84 46
87 Dartmouth 290 265 25
100 Yale 136 116 20
101 Cornell 273 253 20
111 Penn 178 162 16
222 Columbia 200 213 -13
306 Princeton 105 148 -43

With apologies to Brown, who KenPom expects to outperform its four-year ranking by 83 places, but preseason favorite Harvard has the most noteworthy KenPom gap. Last season’s Ivy finalist is expected to be back in the top 100 this year, while fellow contenders Penn and Yale are projected to be slightly better than their recent performances as well. However, the only two Ivy squads expected to struggle relative to their four-year rankings—Princeton and Columbia—could find themselves out of the hunt for the four-team league tournament if those projections turn out to be accurate.

Ranking The Schedules

For the second season in a row, the Ivy League ranks right near the middle of Division I in terms of its teams average non-conference schedule ranking. And that’s to be expected with two teams in each of the top 100, second 100, third 100, and bottom 53 nationally. Note that Harvard and Yale both find themselves in respectable positions in all four scheduling rankings despite neither participating in an exempt tournament this season.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
40 Harvard 4.538401539 41 4.538401539 43 4.538401539 57 4.538401539 30
62 Yale 4.092921354 57 4.092921354 63 4.092921354 80 4.092921354 48
116 Princeton 3.032206546 105 3.032206546 116 3.032206546 130 3.032206546 105
146 Penn** 2.353052782 138 2.454767165 141 3.119933903 126 1.61932338 176
208 Cornell 1.430434825 198 1.430434825 208 1.430434825 218 1.430434825 195
282 Brown 0.1018613797 273 0.1018613797 282 0.1018613797 284 0.1018613797 271
308 Dartmouth* -0.7043930393 307 -0.7002274283 310 -0.5243168033 305 -0.8761380533 310
328 Columbia -1.095891942 324 -1.095891942 328 -1.095891942 330 -1.095891942 322
186.25 Average 1.718574181 180.375 1.73180918 186.375 1.83694385 191.25 1.605389879 182.125
15/32 Conference Rank 16 of 32 17 of 32 20 of 32 16 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

On average, the Ivy League did the second-best job in scheduling relative to team strengths this season, just behind the SEC. While five teams over-scheduled and three under did things, only Columbia managed a triple-digit gap, while Brown, Princeton, and Dartmouth did a particularly good job of scheduling close to their recent performances. Note that Harvard and Yale managed to over-schedule themselves by 90 and 74 places, respectively, though those decisions could pay off come March.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
4 Brown 282 281 1
34 Princeton 105 116 -11
48 Dartmouth 290 307 -17
79 Penn 178 146 32
150 Cornell 273 207 66
169 Yale 136 62 74
205 Harvard 130 40 90
261 Columbia 200 326 -126
118.75 Average (2/32 conf.) 199.25 185.625 13.625

Home, Power 7 Road, And Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
48 2 15 14

Compared to last season, the eight Ivy League members will play five more home games in 2018—though that corresponds to the increase in non-D1 home matchups league-wide—and four fewer Power 7 road games. Both Power 7 home games belong to Penn, as not only will Villanova visit the Palestra for their biennial Big Five visit, but Miami will also make the trip to one of college basketball’s most historic arenas.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
MAAC 14 0
Non-D1 14 0
America East 12 1
Patriot 12 0
A 10 11 0
NEC 8 1
ACC 8 0
American Athletic 4 0
Atlantic Sun 3 1
Big East 3 0
CAA 3 0
MAC 3 0
WCC 3 0
C-USA 2 1
Pac-12 2 1
Big Ten 2 0
MEAC 2 0
MW 2 0
Big South 1 0
Big West 1 0
Horizon 1 0
MVC 1 0
SoCon 1 0
Big 12 0 1
OVC 0 1
SEC 0 1
Big Sky 0 0
Southland 0 0
Summit 0 0
Sun Belt 0 0
SWAC 0 0
WAC 0 0

While the same five conferences top these standings for the second consecutive year, both the MAAC and the non-D1 collective have jumped the America East for the top spot. The Patriot League falls into a tie for third, despite scheduling the same amount of Ivy non-conference games as in 2017-18, while the Atlantic 10 dropped to fifth despite adding a game. For the second straight year, nine conferences don’t have any set games with an Ivy school at all, though this time around that total includes a pair of power conferences—the Big 12 and SEC.

Four Ivy teams will play Bryant out of the NEC, while Iona, Lafayette, Maine, Marist, Monmouth, and Vermont will each play three league members. Both Harvard and Penn will play a trio of Atlantic 10 members, while Dartmouth is set to play three teams each from both the America East and MAAC. Cornell, meanwhile, has tripled up on Patriot League opposition.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 2 14 1 17 2.125 1
Quad 2 0 14 1 15 1.875 2
Quad 3 7 11 5 23 2.875 2
Quad 4 25 16 3 44 5.5 3
Non-D1 14 0 0 14 1.75 0
Total 48 55 10 113
Average 6 6.875 1.25 14.125
Percentage 0.4247787611 0.4867256637 0.08849557522
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

Naturally, Penn’s home games against Villanova and Miami are the two Quad 1 home win opportunities listed in the table above, though 14 such opportunities will be available on the road. Unfortunately, those are also the only two top 100 win chances period that will be available to Ivy members this season. On the flip side, there will be 21 such contests on the road.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

40. Harvard Crimson

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (8)
(Non-D1) MIT 154. Mercer 175. UMass
116. Northeastern # - Atlanta 48. Rhode Island
277. Holy Cross 142. San Francisco
128. George Washington 19. Saint Mary's
(Non-D1) McGill 226. Siena
78. Vermont
5. North Carolina
335. Howard

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (MIT, UMass) and 5 losses (@Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s (N), @Northeastern, @George Washington, Vermont)

While the Crimson struggled through a difficult non-conference schedule, going 6-10 outside of Ivy play, they caught fire once January arrived—finishing 12-2, good enough for a share of the Ivy title, which put Harvard in the NIT after their final loss to Penn. While Tommy Amaker’s squad is foregoing an exempt event, thanks in no small part to the Ivy’s continuing application of the “two-in-four” rule, home games against CAA favorite Northeastern and George Washington, along with a stacked road slate, highlighted by trips to Saint Mary’s and North Carolina, should make Harvard even more prepared for league play this time around.

62. Yale Bulldogs

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (1) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (1) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (6)
188. Lehigh 101. California 23. Miami (Fla.) $ 104. Memphis
137. Albany # - Shanghai, China $ - AmericanAirlines Arena 78. Vermont
112. Iona 334. Bryant
300. Kennesaw State 4. Duke
(Non-D1) Skidmore 120. Monmouth
303. Cal State Northridge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Bryant, @Lehigh, @Kennesaw State) and 4 losses (@Albany, Vermont, @Iona, Monmouth)

The Bulldogs, 16-15 a season ago, will open this season half a world away from New Haven, as they’re California‘s opponent in this season’s Pac-12 China Game. The Golden Bears are one of four Power 7 opponents on Yale’s 2018-19 schedule, though a matchup with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and another with Miami not far from the Hurricanes’ campus will be more difficult tests than games against either Cal or a Memphis team that’s an unknown quantity in Penny Hardaway’s first season. Plus, there are several respectable mid-major opponents to test the Elis—Albany, Iona, and Lehigh at home and Monmouth and Vermont on the road.

116. Princeton Tigers

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) DeSales 112. Iona # 188. Lehigh
293. Fairleigh Dickinson # - Atlantic City, N.J. 120. Monmouth
128. George Washington 340. Maine
111. Saint Joseph's 93. St. John's
(Non-D1) Wesley 4. Duke
312. Lafayette
70. Arizona State

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Lafayette, @Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth) and 3 losses (@Saint Joseph’s, Lehigh, @George Washington)

Last season, the Tigers suffered their first losing campaign in Mitch Henderson’s seven-year tenure, winning 10 fewer games than they did in their 2017 NCAA Tournament season. Ten of Princeton’s 13 wins came in non-conference play, a total that’s going to be difficult to match this time around, thanks to visits from A 10 squads George Washington and Saint Joseph’s and a trio of road games against NCAA contenders Arizona State, Duke, and St. John’s. The most intriguing game here might be the Boardwalk Classic contest with Iona, a squad that’s once again likely to be a factor in the MAAC race.

146. Penn Quakers

*Exempt Event: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (4) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (4) True Road Games (6)
250. Rice 99. UNI* 185. George Mason
312. Lafayette 39. Kansas State/ 348. Delaware State
(Non-D1) Stockton 264. Eastern Kentucky* 166. La Salle
23. Miami (Fla.) 83. Old Dominion/ 106. New Mexico
1. Villanova 125. Oregon State/ 114. Toledo
120. Monmouth 98. Missouri/ 86. Temple
300. Kennesaw State*
111. Saint Joseph's !
! - Saint Joseph's home game at the Palestra

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (@Monmouth, @Lafayette, Delaware State, Saint Joseph’s (N)) and 4 losses (La Salle, @Villanova, Toledo, Temple)

By racking up 24 wins, a share of the Ivy regular-season crown, and taking the Ivy League Tournament title, Steve Donahue’s Quakers announced themselves as yet another force in an improving league. This schedule, highlighted by those home games with Miami and Villanova and three-games in the Paradise Jam, a trip to New Mexico, and Big Five games against Saint Joseph’s and Temple (Fran Dunphy’s last meeting against his former employer), will give Penn plenty of opportunities to show the rest of the Ancient Eight that they’re a long-term contender.

208. Cornell Big Red

*Exempt Event: CNY Hoops Classic

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (9)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (9)
(Non-D1) SUNY Canton* 321. Binghamton*
240. Colgate* 261. NJIT*
280. Delaware 92. UConn
343. Longwood 312. Lafayette
227. Navy 46. Syracuse
(Non-D1) Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 267. Niagara
114. Toledo
24. SMU
69. Wake Forest

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Binghamton, Toledo, @Longwood, Lafayette) and 3 losses (@Syracuse, @Colgate, Niagara)

A four-win improvement was enough to get Brian Earl’s Big Red into the Ivy League Tournament in his second season in charge. And with four Power 7 road games and a Central New York-focused exempt tournament on this season’s non-conference docket, Cornell plans to challenge for a spot in the top four once again.

282. Brown Bears

*Exempt Event: Brown Bears Classic

True Home Games (8) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (8) True Road Games (8)
307. UMass Lowell* 275. LIU Brooklyn
306. Sacred Heart* 261. NJIT
265. Army West Point* 48. Rhode Island
(Non-D1) Salve Regina 227. Navy
334. Bryant 21. Butler
180. Stony Brook 322. Marist
340. Maine 54. San Diego State
(Non-D1) Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 165. Canisius

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 6 wins (Johnson & Wales (R.I.), LIU Brooklyn, @Bryant, UMass Lowell, Marist, NJIT)

The Bears won just 11 games in Mike Martin’s sixth season in Providence, with seven of those victories coming before Ivy play. And with the bulk of that schedule returning, wins will be possible. However, Brown will have to play four of the teams it defeated at the Pizzitola Sports Center a season ago on the road this fall. Not only will the Bears play a trio of NCAA teams—Rhode Island, Butler, and San Diego State—on the road, they’ll also host a round-robin tournament in mid-November.

308. Dartmouth Big Green

*Exempt Event: Belfast Basketball Classic (Samson Bracket)

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
(Non-D1) Newbury 322. Marist* 60. Davidson
(Non-D1) Elms 137. Albany or 304. Loyola (Md.)
291. Quinnipiac 275. LIU Brooklyn* 89. Buffalo*
340. Maine 142. San Francisco*
306. Sacred Heart 334. Bryant
236. Boston University 78. Vermont
239. New Hampshire

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Loyola (Md.), @Maine, Bryant) and 5 losses (@Quinnipiac, Albany, @Sacred Heart, @New Hampshire, Vermont)

The Big Green have won just 14 games total—7 in non-conference play—in Dave McLaughlin’s two seasons in charge in Hanover. If Dartmouth is improved, it should be able to equal that non-league total based on the home slate alone. As for the road games, don’t expect much, as Buffalo, Davidson, and Vermont could all be postseason worthy this season, while Albany is a heavy favorite to claim the Samson Bracket at the Belfast Basketball Classic. However, the Big Green will have to fancy its chances to knock Marist off in the semifinals.

328. Columbia Lions

*Exempt Event: John Bach Classic

True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (5)
322. Marist 262. FIU* # 112. Iona $ 232. Fordham*
(Non-D1) St. Joseph's-Brooklyn* 308. Youngstown State* # $ - Madison Square Garden 121. Boston College
280. Delaware # - Bronx, N.Y. 167. Rutgers
240. Colgate 63. Northwestern
334. Bryant 321. Binghamton
(Non-D1) Elmira

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 2 losses (@Colgate, @Boston College)

A three-win decline between seasons one and two illustrate how much work Jim Engles has to do to build the Columbia program into an Ivy contender. Making matters worse, just three of the Lions eight victories came in non-conference play, with the team enduring a nine-game losing streak that stretched from mid-November into mid-December. While Columbia has six home win opportunities, a trio of Power 7 road games, a Holiday Festival showdown with MAAC power Iona, and a short trip to the Bronx for Fordham‘s exempt tournament mean there could again be more pain than joy in the Lions’ future.

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