There’s much more to the Ivy League than Ivy Style.

This much is hard to argue, after all the hallowed halls of the Ivy’s breed great thinkers, leaders, Facebook, and the rest.

On the hardwood, few people outside Bill Bradley and the great Pete Carril are remembered. The Ivy League, despite its often lowly stature among the games elite, is a division of passion and pride. A recent visit to Princeton found a packed house of devoted fans cheering against “safety school” Cornell. Sure, an NCAA bid was ostensibly on the line, Cornell was then nationally ranked (though only the day before upset by Penn at the Palestra)… but there was no inkling that the feel would have been different had Columbia been in the building. Friday and Saturday nights are hoops nights in the Ivy’s, each a chance to shatter the reputation of a rival Ivory Tower.

Kathy Orton follows the Ivy League in Outside the Limelight. She highlights a love for the game and players enduring a grueling schedule with little hope for national glory or a shot at the pros. In a season where Jeremy Lin has drawn media attention to Harvard and Cornell has proved successful against the power conferences, Orton’s book neatly gets to the core of Ivy Basketball. The player (Lin) and the team (Cornell) certainly not the norm, but indicative of the fight burning in this altogether unusual athletic league.

Prepare for Mach Madness and feel a bit intellectual at the same time. (Oh, and the forward is by John Feinstein).

From Rutgers University Press. Available now at Amazon.

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