Ivy League (conference rank: 17th)
March 11-12
All games at Penn.
kPOY: Steven Cook, Princeton
Regular season champ: Princeton (preseason #36 / 1st Ivy, current #61)
Overachiever: Penn (preseason #231, current #163)
Underachiever: Dartmouth (preseason #216, current #304)

The Ivy League debuts a real tournament this season and as it turns out, the league’s braintrust picked the exact worst format to be fair to the conference champ. The Ivy is planning to go with a four-team neutral-site event. But it’s not too late back out! According to league bylaw 1.b.14.0x2D, Ivy League executive director Robin Harris can do whatever the heck she wants in an emergency. And this is the emergency: Princeton, who went unbeaten and won the league by four games, is getting screwed.

It sounds great in principle for the Ivy to limit the field to half the teams. Preserving the sanctity of the regular season and all that. But in practice, Princeton has to play its first game on its opponent’s home floor. This is the main reason that the Tigers are more likely than not to end up in the NIT this season. Any other reasonable format the Ivy chose would give Princeton at least a marginally-better chance at a title.

A full-field neutral site event would mean the 2, 3, and 4 seeds would be less likely to end up in the semis than Princeton, who would draw #304 Dartmouth in a quarterfinal game. Or the Ivy could have gone with a double stepladder bracket used by the OVC and the Southland and that would marginally improve Princeton’s chances as well.

But neither of those formats would push Princeton over the 50% mark. The ultimate bracket would use the home-court format with reseeding after the quarterfinals. That would give Princeton about a 2-in-3 chance of a title. And if the Ivy isn’t interested in holding a tournament to get all of its member teams together in the same spot, then why not go with the format that gives its regular-season champ the best shot at winning?

              Final Champ
 1 Princeton   66.1  45.2
 2 Harvard     59.4  24.2
 4 Penn        33.9  17.5
 3 Yale        40.6  13.1