ACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

 

No. 24/25 Harvard Men's Basketball Set to Meet No. 9/9 UConn Thursday Evening on ESPN2

Related URL : /sports/mbkb/2011-12/videos/20111208-jzsgjs7n

Co-captain Keith Wright leads Harvard in scoring (11.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg) (Gil Talbot).

The Particulars
No. 24/25 Harvard, which is off to its best start since the 1984-85 season (8-0), heads back on the road to face No. 9/9 Connecticut (7-1) Thursday evening in a game shown live at 7 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPN3.com. Harvard is looking to become the first Ivy League team to start 9-0 since Columbia in 1969-70.

Game Coverage
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com. Bob Wischusen, Doug Gottlieb and Andy Katz will have the call on television. WHRB's Scott Reed and Charlie Hobbs will have the audio call  on GoCrimson.com. Live statistics will also be available for the game at GoCrimson.com. 

Series History
Harvard and Connecticut have met 16 times on the hardwood, with the Huskies owning a 14-2 lead in the series, which began in 1921-22. Last season, the Huskies emerged with an 81-52 victory in Hartford, Conn.  Keith Wright led the Crimson with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Kemba Walker had 20 points for UConn.

Last Time Out
Jonah Travis, the Ivy League Rookie of the Week,  scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds for his first double-double in an 80-70 win over Seattle Sunday.  Laurent Rivard added 12 points, while Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey chipped in with eight points apiece.

UConn's Last Time Out
In an 85-72 victory against Arkansas Saturday, Ryan Boatright led the way for UConn with 23 points, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 2-of-3 from long distance. Jeremy Lamb contributed 14 points, while Tyler Olander scored 12 and Shabazz Napier added seven assists to go along with nine points.

Casting Ballots
The Crimson is ranked No. 24 in this week's ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and No. 25 in the AP rankings, marking the first time in program history Harvard is ranked in a major poll. The Crimson is the first Ivy team ranked in the AP poll since Princeton was rated No. 8 in the final poll of the 1997-98 season. Cornell was the last team ranked in the coaches poll, garnering a spot at No. 17 in the final poll of that season.

Harvard is the only Ivy League team to have received a vote in a major national poll this season.

RPI Watch
Harvard currently sits at No. 22 in the RPI, according to collegerpi.com. The Crimson earned the highest ranking in program history, No. 14, Dec. 2.

Unbeaten Crimson
Harvard entered the week as one of 15 undefeated teams remaining in the country, along with Xavier, Syracuse, Marquette, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois, Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State, Tulane, Creighton, Murray State and Kentucky.

Defense Wins Games
The Crimson enters the week 10th in the country in scoring defense (54.4 points allowed per game).

Harvard had not allowed more than 49 points in four straight games (Nov. 24-Dec. 1) for the first time since the 1946-47 season, which was prior to the invention of the shot clock and the 3-point line.

Harvard Against the Big East
The Crimson owns a 6-38 record all-time against current members of the Big East conference.

Harvard Against the BCS
The Crimson is scheduled to play at least four BCS opponents this season (vs. Utah at Battle 4 Atlantis Nov. 24, Florida State at Battle 4 Atlantis Nov. 25, at Connecticut Dec. 8 and at Boston College Dec. 29). The Crimson is 2-0 against BCS teams this season after downing Utah, 75-47, at the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round, and topping No. 20 Florida State, 46-41, in the semifinal round. Harvard was 2-3 against the BCS last year, defeating Boston College for the third straight time and downing Colorado.

Harvard owns a 7-8 record against BCS conferences under Tommy Amaker. The Crimson has defeated BC three times and topped Michigan, Colorado, Utah and Florida State during Amaker's tenure. The Crimson has also defeated at least one BCS team in each of the last five seasons.

Lavietes Is The Place To Be
Harvard is riding a 19-game win streak at home, a program record. The current win streak at home is the longest for Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion and is tied for the seventh longest current streak in the NCAA. Duke and Kentucky are enjoying the longest current streak with 39 straight home wins.

Nation's Current Longest Home Win Streaks
Through (Dec. 4)
Duke            39
Kentucky      39
Ohio State    30
Notre Dame 24
Temple         23
Purdue         22
Harvard      19
UNC           19
George Mason 18
Bucknell       17

Road Warriors
The Crimson, which currently owns a 6-0 record in road/neutral sites, will play a total of 18 road/neutral games this winter. Harvard set a program record for road/neutral wins in 2009-10 with 10, and the Crimson followed up with nine road victories last season. Harvard is 3-0 on the road and 3-0 in neutral sites in 2011-12.

Battle 4 Atlantis
Harvard went 3-0 at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament Nov. 24-26, winning the inaugural title. The Crimson downed Utah, No. 20 Florida State and Central Florida and did not allow more than 49 points in any of the three games. Keith Wright was named tournament MVP after averaging 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Harvard Against Ranked Opponents
When Harvard played No. 4 Connecticut Dec. 22, 2010, it marked the first time the Crimson had faced a team ranked that high since Harvard fell at No. 1 Duke, 118-65, Nov. 30, 1991.

Harvard earned the program's first-ever victory over a ranked opponent when the team downed No. 17 Boston College, 82-70, Jan. 7, 2009. The Crimson picked up a second win over a top 25 team by defeating No. 20 Florida State, 46-41, Nov. 25, 2011.

On The Big Screen
The Crimson will play at least seven games on national or regional television this season: Battle 4 Atlantis Nov. 24-26 (HDNet and Versus), at Connecticut Dec. 8 (ESPN2), at Boston University Dec. 10 (NESN) at Boston College Dec. 29 (ESPN3) and at Princeton Feb. 11 (ESPNU).

Harvard is 3-0 on TV this year after earning a 75-47 win over Utah, a 46-41 victory over No. 20 Florida State and a 59-49 win over Central Florida at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Crimson Runs Deep
With 19 players on its roster, Harvard is tied for the sixth largest team in the country, trailing only Air Force (22), Army (22), Cornell (21), Syracuse (20) and Navy (20). Montana State, Columbia and New Orleans also have 19 players.

Kings of Massachusetts' Courts
The Crimson is currently on a 12-game winning streak against schools from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since falling to Northeastern in overtime, 76-71, Dec. 10, 2008, including four straight wins over Holy Cross and three against Boston College.

Harvard is 2-0 this season against Massachusetts teams, having defeated MIT and Holy Cross in the first two games of the season. The Crimson will also face Boston University and BC this season.

Head Coach Tommy Amaker
Tommy Amaker (Duke '87) is in his fifth season as head coach of the Harvard men's basketball team. He registered his 250th career coaching victory Dec. 4, 2011 against Seattle at Lavietes Pavilion. Amaker has guided Harvard to its national ranking, as the Crimson was ranked No. 25 in the AP poll and No. 24  in the ESPN/USA Today coaches ranking on Dec. 5, 2011. Amaker also led the Crimson to its first Ivy League title as well as the program's first appearance in the NIT. In addition, the Crimson established a program record with 23 victories in 2010-11.

He brings a 250-190 career head coaching record into today's game, including a 74-51 mark at Harvard, a 108-84 record at Michigan and a 68-55 record at Seton Hall.

Rejection List
With 12 blocks this season, Keith Wright now ranks second in program history with 118 rejections. Brian Cusworth '07 holds the Harvard record with 147 career blocks. Wright's 54 blocks last year also stand second in Harvard history for a single season. Brian Banks '78 had 59 rejections during the 1977-78 campaign.

Wright Among Wooden Preseason Top 50
Senior co-captain Keith Wright was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List Oct. 3. Wright, who was the only player from the Ivy League honored, garnered AP and Lou Henson All-America accolades as a junior last season.

Ivy League Season Honors
Laurent Rivard
- Ivy League Honor Roll (Nov. 14, Dec. 5)
Jonah Travis
- Ivy League Rookie of the Week (Dec. 5)
Keith Wright
- Ivy League Player of the Week (Nov. 28).
- Ivy League Honor Roll (Nov. 21)

Carrying The Flag
Harvard (8-0) is the lone unbeaten Ivy League team.

Night and Day
Harvard owns a 5-0 record in night games and a 3-0 mark in day contests in 2011-12.

Assists, No Turnovers
Harvard's duo of Oliver McNally and Brandyn Curry has combined to hand out 56 assists, while only committing 25 turnovers between them.

Feeling It From Long Range
Laurent Rivard drilled a Harvard season-high five treys in the win at Loyola Marymount Nov. 19. At least one Crimson player has drained at least two 3-pointers in all eight games this year.

Making The Most Of It
Oliver McNally went 7-of-7 at the foul line at Holy Cross and shot 6-of-6 at Loyola Marymount and is shooting 86.7 percent from the line this season (26-of-30). Laurent Rivard is also making 86.7 percent of his foul shots (13-of-15). Christian Webster is Harvard's career leader in free-throw shooting, making 88.8 percent of his attempts (169-of-190) over his first three seasons.

Last season, the Crimson ranked second in the nation as a team with an 80.8 percent success rate from the charity stripe (just behind Wisconsin's 81.8 shooting percentage). Harvard owns the NCAA record for team free-throw percentage for a season (82.2 percent in 1983-84). Harvard is currently shooting 72.2 percent from the line this season.

Harvard and Amaker Against Connecticut
The Crimson is 0-2 against UConn under head coach Tommy Amaker.

Hitting Baskets
Keith Wright stands second in the Ivy League in field-goal percentage, hitting 59.4 percent of his attempts this season (38-of-64).

Offense, Defense
Entering the week, the Crimson ranked second in the Ancient Eight in offense (67.6 points per game) and first in defense (54.4 points allowed per game). Harvard also led in scoring margin (+13.2).

Double-Double Show
Keith Wright and Jonah Travis pace the Crimson with one double-double apiece this year. Harvard players combined for 17 double-doubles last season: Keith Wright (12), Brandyn Curry (3) and Kyle Casey (2).

Harvard Down The Stretch
The Crimson is 74.1 percent (43-of-58) from the line in the final five minutes of games this season. Harvard is also shooting 44.4 percent from long distance (4-of-9) during the last five minutes. Harvard has also only been whistled for 20 fouls in the last five minutes, while opponents have been called for 36 fouls.

Dunk Tally - 2011-12
Kyle Casey                                                  4
Keith Wright                                              4
Steve Moundou-Missi                                2
Wesley Saunders                                         2
Jonah Travis                                               1

Harvard had a season-high five dunks at Holy Cross Nov. 15.