Harvard Scandal: Kyle Casey Withdraws, Who is Ivy League Favorite?

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Kyle Casey withdrew from Harvard this morning, following his alleged involvement in a cheating scandal at the school. Sources have said that Brandyn Curry was also implicated in the scandal, and the Boston Herald’s Dan Duggan tweeted that Tommy Amaker’s point guard is expected to withdraw by the end of the day, the school’s fall registration deadline.

The two players are seniors and co-captains, and by withdrawing, they could preserve their final season of eligibility. If all goes as planned, Casey and Curry could take the floor again in 2013-14.

But with Keith Wright graduating last spring, Casey and Curry entered 2012-13 as Harvard’s two most valuable players — Casey, the versatile forward, and Curry, the playmaking point guard. Amaker still has a few solid returning players as well as the Ivy League’s best recruiting class, but without Casey and Curry, the Crimson won’t be the league’s clear favorite.

Penn won’t be as much of a factor without Zack Rosen and Tyler Bernardini. Same goes for Yale without Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite. But the door is now open for PrincetonCornellColumbia and, yes, Brown.

The Tigers lost Douglas Davis and Patrick Saunders to graduation, but the rest of last year’s rotation returns. With Ian Hummer coming off a big junior year, Princeton should stay near the top of the conference.

As for Cornell, Chris Wroblewski and Drew Ferry are gone, but the Big Red had a deep rotation in 2011-12, making it more likely for replacements to fill the voids.

Columbia enters life without Noruwa Agho but the Lions actually played nearly all of 2011-12 without their star, going 12-16. Brian Barbour is one of the Ivy’s best guards, and almost every key rotation player from last year is back.

Now, before you laugh, know that Brown, which won just eight games a year ago, has one of the best all-around players in the league in Sean McGonagill. The Bears are experienced, and they could be ready for a breakout season.

I’d still say Harvard has a slight edge over the rest of the competition, but if Amaker’s freshmen need time to adjust to the college game, any of the aforementioned teams could earn the Ivy’s automatic bid. My top five: Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Cornell.

Follow Ari Kramer on Twitter to talk college basketball.

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