Stats Shed Light on Ivy Hoops


Harvard men’s basketball closes out its regular season on the road against the Killer P’s this weekend. The Crimson will look to secure a second place Ivy finish with a pair of victories.

So how do the teams match up? Penn sits at 4-7 in conference, Princeton at 8-3, and Harvard at 9-3.

But maybe more telling of how good the teams are is a statistic calculated by Harvard freshman John Ezekowitz (

Looking at team tempo and points scored and allowed per possession, Ezekowitz has developed a ranking system for Ivy League basketball teams. The statistic he uses is called a team’s Efficiency Margin.

The system for the most part validates the Ivy League standings, but it offers a little more detail into how strong the teams are.

In line with common knowledge, Cornell is by far the leader in the Ivies in efficiency margin at .28. Princeton’s efficiency margin is .15, barely above Harvard’s .13. After the top three teams, there is a major drop off. Brown, Yale, and Penn come in at -.04, -.05, and -.06, respectively. Columbia sits at -.14 and Dartmouth occupies the cellar at -.22.

Cornell boasts the leagues best offense at 1.16 points per possession and Princeton claims the league’s best defense with a league-low .87 points per possession. Harvard is the fastest playing team in the Ivies with adjusted tempo of 68.7 possessions per game.


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