SG: Sam Martin (Jr)/Isaiah Salafia (So)/Javier Duren (Fr)
PG: Austin Morgan (Jr)/Michael Grace (Jr)
Gone: SG-Porter Braswell, SG-Raffi Mantilla
The 2011 Ivy League championship came down to a playoff game between Princeton and Harvard. While the Crimson are the hands down favorite to win the conference crown, the Yale Bulldogs have a talented and experienced team that should cause some noise.
In losing one starter from a year ago, Yale has a solid core returning. Leading scorer and rebounder Greg Mangano flirted with the NBA Draft but wisely chose to return for his senior season. He and 6-9 sophomore Jeremiah Kreisberg form a huge frontcourt by Ivy League standards. Rhett Anderson provides more experience and size off the bench while the three freshmen will compete for minutes as well.
The wing is somewhat of a concern for Yale after losing starting shooting guard Porter Braswell and key reserve Raffi Mantilla. Reggie Willhite returns to the starting lineup but the other spots are wide open. Chris Martin and Isaiah Salafia played sparingly last season but are the early favorites to start at the two. Brian Katz and Jesse Pritchard will be pushed by freshmen Armani Cotton and Javier Duren for playing time off the bench.
Starting point guard and long range gunner Austin Morgan will be asked to take on a slightly bigger role in the backcourt with uncertainty at shooting guard. Michael Grace was bothered by an early season injury last season but adds some experience off the bench.
The Ivy League doesn't receive a lot of national pub but it should be another exciting race to see who represents the conference in the NCAA Tournament. If the frontcourt can dominate inside and the shooting guard position figures itself out before league play, Yale could upend the pre-season favorite, Harvard.
Player to Watch: Greg Mangano, C
The 6-10 Mangano earned spot on US World University Games roster and some valuable experience playing against high quality competition. He is a force down low and was one of just four players in Division One to average at least ten boards and three blocks per game last season. With 25 blocked shots, Mangano will pass Chris Dudley as the Bulldogs' all-time leader which should happen sometime midway through the season since he set a league record with 51 blocks a year ago.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/14 vs. Fresno State (Pre-Season NIT)
11/16 vs. Colorado State (Pre-Season NIT)
11/23 vs. Oklahoma State (Pre-Season NIT)
11/25 vs. Syracuse/Virginia Tech/George Mason (Pre-Season NIT)