Madness begins, Harvard & Penn nearly even in Ivy League

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Two weeks ago, following a 56-50 road win over Penn, it looked like Harvard was solidly in control of the Ivy League.

But then they flattened out. By going 3-2 in their next five while Penn won five straight, the Crimson allowed the Quakers to creep back into the conference title race.

Now it comes down to the final weekend, and Harvard showed Friday night that they are ready to stand their ground.

Behind 16 points from senior Keith Wright, Harvard survived an overtime scare and defeated Columbia, 77-70, at Levien Gymnasium in New York City.

This is where the situation gets dicey.

We remember last year’s dramatic finish, when Princeton snatched the automatic bid for the Ivy League with a win over Harvard in a one-game playoff. Things could be headed in that direction again this season.

Harvard’s win keeps them in first place in the conference for now, up half a game on Penn, who pulled away from Brown to get a 54-43 win on Friday night.

Penn has two games remaining and they hold the key to their own destiny.

With wins in both of their remaining games, they would either win the Ivy League outright, were Harvard to lose their final game to Cornell, or gain a share of the conference title, which would force a one-game playoff to decide who will be heading to the Big Dance.

Penn takes on Yale (19-8, 9-4) on Saturday and Princeton (17-11, 8-4) on March 6th to end their season.

Should I break out the Ivy League chalkboard to straighten out the postseason scenarios?

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_