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Harvard looks to return to top of Ivy League

The Crimson haven't won the Ivy League since their four-year run from 2012 through 2015 but their talented young players have made them the pre-season favorite.

Penn’s Darnell Foreman. (Photo by Drew Hallowell / Penn Athletics
Penn’s Darnell Foreman. (Photo by Drew Hallowell / Penn AthleticsRead morePenn Athletics

After two years of watching another team represent the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament, Harvard is primed to get back to the top of the Ancient Eight.

The Crimson, who won four consecutive championships from 2012 through 2015, have seen an excellent 2016 recruiting class mature into starters. Three sophomores are guard Bryce Aiken, last year's Ivy rookie of the year; forward Chris Lewis, who led the league in field goal percentage; and forward Seth Towns. The Crimson play a difficult non-conference schedule that includes a trip to Kentucky.

Yale reached the Ivy League Tournament final last season before losing to Princeton. The Bulldogs will welcome back 2016 Ivy League player of the year Makai Mason, who sat out all of last season with a broken bone in his foot.

Princeton swept through the Ivy last season, winning all 14 league games plus two in the tournament, then pushed Notre Dame to the wire in the NCAAs before losing 60-58. Spencer Weisz, last year's Ivy player of the year, is gone but the Tigers have two fine players in junior guards Myles Stephens and Devin Cannady.

Columbia has just two returning starters, steady guards Nate Hickman and Mike Smith. Cornell boasts a two-time Ivy League scoring champion in Matt Morgan, who averaged 18.1 points last year. Brown lost some key players from the highest-scoring team in the league last season but returns a promising player in junior guard Obi Okolie. Dartmouth, which posted two of its four league victories against Penn, brings back 2017 All-Ivy player Evan Boudreaux.