Team preview: Yale

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

It's the vanilla term many coaches resort to when referring to deficiencies in their teams -- consistency.

"He needs to show more consistency."

"We have to be more consistent offensively."

"We must have a consistent effort for 40 minutes."

Don't drag that threadbare notion up to James Jones's doorstep. On the eve of his eighth season as Yale's basketball coach, Jones has had his nauseating fill of consistency.

Since tying Penn and Princeton for the Ivy League crown in the 2001-02 season, Jones's Bulldogs have gone 8-6, 7-7, 7-7 and, yes, 7-7 in Ivy competition.

And while it's true the Elis have had a league record at .500 or better in each of the last six seasons (only Penn can claim the same), five of those six marks have been 8-6 or 7-7. Yawn.

"Over the last six years here, the matter has not been the talent," Jones said. "We've had enough talent -- not more talent than everyone else, but enough talent to win. It's the little things for us -- winning on the road, following up on a Saturday night after a Friday night game."

In the drone of a 15-14 season, which Yale registered last year, it's easy to flesh out swing games that could have allowed the Bulldogs to shout down the humdrum of consistency. A four-point loss at home to equally mediocre Wagner, for example. A five-point defeat at Brown, seven days after dispatching the Bears by 14 in John J. Lee Amphitheater. A gruesome loss at Dartmouth. Going a combined 0-4 against Penn and Princeton.