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Yale basketball 2015-16 preview

Yale Bulldogs

2014-15 record: 22-10, 11-3 in the Ivy League

Head coach: James Jones

Tenure at Yale: 17th season

Career coaching record: 231-232

Home court: John J. Lee Amphitheater at Payne Whitney Gym

Starters: F Brandon Sherrod, F Justin Sears, G Jack Montague, G Makai Mason, G Anthony Dallier

Bench: G Khaliq Ghani, G Nick Victor

Overview: The Bulldogs are the Ivy League favorite—topping the preseason poll for the fist time in program history—after narrowly missing out on an NCAA postseason berth following a one-game playoff loss to rival Harvard. They won 22 games last season, the most since the 1948-49 season, including a win against defending national champion Connecticut.

Yale is looking to get its first back-to-back Ivy League titles since 1963 after sharing the regular-season title with the Crimson last season. The Bulldogs bring back a strong core, and with the triumphant return of senior forward Brandon Sherrod, expect positive things in New Haven this winter. The Bridgeport, Conn., native will bring his shot-blocking and rebounding talents back to campus, as in the 2013-14 season he blocked 28 shots and was third on the team in rebounding at 4.3 rebounds per game. 

Sherrod, who took last season off to travel the world with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the oldest college a cappella group in the country, will combine with Derrick Sears to form a formidable frontcourt duo for Yale. Sears, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, averaged 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year.

Head coach James Jones has the Bulldogs poised for another successful season and hopefully an NCAA tournament bid. They open the season Nov. 13 against Fairfield in the Connecticut 6 Classic.

One thing that needs to go right: Sears must retain his all-conference form and Jones must keep his team motivated through all the distractions that last season’s success poses. Sherrod needs to be the force on the block that he was before his season off and the younger guards need to take some of the offensive burden from Sears.

One thing that could go wrong: A more talented Harvard squad overtakes the Bulldogs and the they falter as their younger nucleus fails to gel. Sherrod is rusty after a season off and Yale does not defend on the perimeter like it did last season.


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