Yale Bulldogs

The Yale Bulldogs look to repeat as Ivy League champs, and have a good chance, thanks to four returning starters from last year’s team.

As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.

James Jones has turned the Yale Bulldogs into a force in the Ivy League, and this upcoming season might be his best chance at a deep run in March. The Bulldogs had five double-digit scorers last season, and return four of them, making them one of the most seasoned mid-major teams in the country.

Although EJ Jarvis will be a big loss inside, 7-footer Danny Wolf could make a big leap in his sophomore season, and give a great backcourt a dominant frontcourt.

Northwestern transfer Casey Simmons might also crack the starting lineup, but at worst will be an important 6th man for the Bulldogs.

Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Head coach: James Jones (25th season, all at Yale)

2022-23 record: 21-9 (10-4)

2023 postseason finish: Lost in NIT first round

Notable departures: EJ Jarvis (Transfer to Florida), Isaiah Kelly (Graduated)

Notable non-conference games: N/A

Projected Rotation

PG: Bez Mbeng (6-4, 195, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 10.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG

SG: August Mahoney (6-4, 190, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 10.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 46.7 3P%

SF: John Poulakidas (6-6, 205, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 12.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40.1 3P%

PF: Matt Knowling (6-5, 195, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 13.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 62.5 FG%

C: Danny Wolf (7-0, 250, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.6 APG

6: Casey Simmons (6-6, 180, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG (Transfer from Northwestern)

7: Jack Molloy (6-8, 225, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 3.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 31.2 FG%

8: Yassine Gharram (6-3, 185, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 3.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG

9: Yussif Basa-Ama (6-8, 200, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 2.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.3 APG

Yale Bulldogs MVP: Matt Knowling

One of many returning players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, Knowling can do it all for the Yale Bulldogs. The former East Catholic High star (in my neck of the woods) led the Bulldogs in scoring, and should be in line to do that again.

What makes Knowling a tough guard in the Ivy League is his efficiency and craftiness as an undersized forward. Despite only being 6-5, Knowling made over 60% of his shots last season. He’s an important rebounder on a Yale team that doesn’t go very big, and he also gets the ball moving when he’s not scoring. If Yale is to repeat as Ivy League champs, Knowling will be pivotal.

Yale Bulldogs make-or-break player: Jack Molloy

I’m looking at Jack Molloy to take a big step forward in his junior season. The 6-8 forward has the size and skill to be a key player for Yale. Last year, Molloy averaged over 3 PPG, but was wildly inefficient, at 31.2% from the field.

Yale has a great bench but could use a role player like Molloy to become a scorer in his role.

Key analytic: Turnovers per game

It might go without saying, but the Yale Bulldogs play some pretty smart basketball. Last season, they averaged just a touch over 11 turnovers per game, which is a very good rate, especially as a top 70 team in assists per game. The Bulldogs move the ball well and don’t cough it up.

This season, we could see historic numbers. The Bulldogs return four starters, including their backcourt. On paper, power conference teams will usually be favored to beat Yale, but sometimes skill isn’t everything.

Yale Bulldogs 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 1st in Ivy League

Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 64

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