Editor's Note: This is a series that will be running with the start of the Ivy League basketball season. Members of the WHRB staff are writing up previews of each team, looking at the positives and negatives for all of the teams, and giving an overall impression if where the team was picked in the Ivy League basketball media day was correct. Our series starts with the Dartmouth Big Green.
Picked to finish last in the Ivy League this year by the preseason media poll, Dartmouth (4-10, 0-1) seems to be playing the part, opening conference play with a loss at Leede Arena to the Harvard Crimson on January 8th. The Big Green were not able to find any answers for Harvard’s strong frontcourt, with Keith Wright dominating the paint with 16 points and 12 boards and Kyle Casey notching 13 points and 9 rebounds. David Rufful stepped up with 16 points to lead the Big Green but it appears that Dartmouth will expectedly dwell near the bottom of the standings once again.
Frontcourt: Jr. David Rufful and Sr. co-captain Clive Weeden provides an experienced interior presence for the Big Green, but they both lack the size to matchup against the more physical teams in the league. Weeden is 4th in the Ivy League in offensive rebounding and a specialist at seizing second chance opportunities. Rufful uses his small size (6-4, 210) to steal from the slower, heavier players in the paint (4th in the league in steals).
Backcourt: Led by starters Jabari Trotter, R.J. Griffin, and Kirk Crecco; after two nondescript seasons at Dartmouth, Crecco has exploded this season equaling his point total in his first two season just 7 games into the current one. In the five games before the Ivy League opener, he had averaged 10.6 points while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 83.3 percent at the foul line. Losing Sr. co-captain Ronnie Dixon to injury has hampered ball movement and perimeter shooting.
Coaching: Paul Cormier rejoined the team this season, having served as head coach from 1984-91 for the Big Green. His team from 19787-89 notched the two of three winningest seasons in program history, finishing second in the Ivy League twice.
Freshmen to Watch: Gediminas Bertasius – The forward from Lithuania took home the Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors on for his performance on Dec. 13-19, but his stellar defense in the paint has the league on notice.
Key Injury: Sr. co-captain Ronnie Dixon suffered a broken bone on his shooting hand on Dec. 21st and is expected to miss six weeks. He scored a career high 21 points in a victory against Army.
Interesting Statistic: The Big Green are threatening to finish with no one averaging in double figure scoring for two years in a row; Junior guard Jabari Trotter leads the way with 9.0 ppg, but he has struggled in the last 7 games, shooting just .238 from the field.
(Un)Fearless Forecast: 3-11 (8th)