ACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

 

No. 21/25 Harvard Men's Basketball Visits Penn, Princeton in Pivotal Ivy Weekend; Saturday's Game to Be Shown Live on ESPNU/ESPN3

Related URL : /sports/mbkb/2011-12/videos/20120210-28b2m84x

The No. 21/25 Harvard men's basketball team is off to its best start in program history (20-2, 6-0 Ivy) (Gil Talbot).

The Particulars
No. 21/25 Harvard (20-2, 6-0 Ivy) sits in sole possession of first place in the Ivy League and will visit Penn (12-10, 4-1) and Princeton (11-10, 2-3) this weekend.

The Crimson is off to the best start of an Ivy League school since Princeton in 1997-98 (21-1). Harvard's 20-2 overall start is the best in program history. The Crimson is also off to its best conference start in program history with its 6-0 record in the Ancient Eight. Harvard, which has defeated the other five Ivy teams this year, is looking to defeated Penn and Princeton on the road in the same weekend for the first simce since 1984-85.
 
Game Coverage
Live video
will be available  for Friday's game  for a subscription at PennAthletics.com. Saturday's game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Mike Crispino and Bob Valvano will have the call on ESPNU.
 
WHRB's Charlie Hobbs and Matt Patton will have the audio call on GoCrimson.com. Live statistics will also be available for the game at GoCrimson.com.
 
Series History Against Penn
Harvard and Penn have met 160 times since the first meeting between the Ivy rivals in 1902-03. The Quakers hold the advantage in the series, 127-33, but Harvard has won the last five meetings between the schools and six of the last seven overall. The Crimson's five game win streak against Penn is the longest in program history.
 
Series History Against Princeton
Harvard and Princeton have played 166 times, with the Tigers owning a 127-39 advantage in the series that dates back to 1900-01. The Tigers took two of the three meetings against the Crimson last season, including a narrow, 63-63, decision in the Ivy League playoff in New Haven, Conn., March 12, 2011. Dating back to 2007-08, Harvard is 2-7 against Princeton, with both victories occurring in Cambridge.
 
Harvard's Last Time Out
Laurent Rivard made five field goals and eight free throws to finish with a game-high 20 points, as the Crimson defeated Columbia, 57-52, Feb. 4 for Harvard's 25th straight home win, the fourth longest active streak in the country. Keith Wright added 15 points and six rebounds, while Brandyn Curry tallied 12 points to go along with four assists.
 
Penn's Last Time Out
The Quakers sit 4-1 in the Ivy League after winning at Brown, 65-48, Feb. 4. Bob Belcore sank seven baskets for a team-high 17 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Zack Rosen (11 points) and Henry Brooks (10) also reached double figures in scoring. Penn made 9-of-19 3-point attempts (.474) and scored 17 points off turnovers.
 
Best Ivy Start
Harvard is off to a 6-0 start in Ivy League play for the first time in program history. The Crimson was 5-0 in 1980-81 and won a program record 12 Ivy League contest last season.
 
Harvard Against The Ivy League
Over the last two seasons, the Crimson boasts an 18-3 (.857) against Ivy League opponents. During that stretch, the Crimson is 8-2 (.800) against Ancient Eight opponents on the road and 10-0 at home (1.000). This season, Harvard is 6-0 in conference games, having swept Dartmouth, defeated Yale and Brown in road contests and downed Cornell and Columbia at home. The Crimson has yet to play Penn or Princeton.
 
Back To 20
For the third straight year and the third time in program history, Harvard has won 20 games in a season, boasting a 20-2 overall mark this season. The Crimson went 21-8 in 2009-10 and posted a 23-7 overall mark last season.
 
Stepping Up On D
The Crimson is allowing only 53.6 points per game this season, good for third in the nation in scoring defense. Wisconsin paces the nation, surrendering only 49.8 points per contest, while Virginia sits second (51.4 points allowed per game). Harvard has only allowed 70 points once and surrendered 50 or less points in 10 games and less than 40 points twice.
 
Free-Throw Defense
Entering the weekend, Harvard was fifth in the nation in free throw shooting defense, as opponents are only making 63.1 percent of attempts (207-of-328). South Carolina State (.612) sits in first in the county, followed by Virginia (.615), Coppin State (.616) and Northern Arizona (.617).
 
Rejection List
With 36 blocks this season, Keith Wright now ranks second in program history with 142 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.
 
Kyle Casey has rejected 81 blocks in his career, including 26 this season, ranking him seventh in program history in rejections.
 
Handing Out Dishes
Brandyn Curry has handed out 380 assists in his career, ranking the junior seventh in program history. Curry needs 11 more helpers to tie Mike Gielen '89 (391) for sixth in the Harvard record books.
 
On The Big Screen
The Crimson will play at least seven games on national or regional television this season.
 
Harvard is 5-1 on TV this year after earning wins over Utah (HDNet),  No. 20/22 Florida State (Versus) and Central Florida (Versus) at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Crimson also defeated Boston University (NESN) and  Boston College (ESPN3), but fell on the road at No. 9/9 Connecticut (ESPN2).

Coming Down With It
With his 11-rebound performance at Brown Jan. 28, Keith Wright now has 21 double digit rebound games in his career. Wright also has three double-doubles this season and has led Harvard in rebounding in 17 of 22 contests. Wright stands ninth in program history with 661 career rebounds. Harvard has outrebounded 11 of its last 13 opponents.

Casting Ballots
The Crimson is ranked No. 21 in this week's ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and 25 in the Associated Press national ranking. Earlier this season, the Crimson became the first Ivy team ranked in the AP poll since Princeton was rated No. 8 in the final poll of the 1997-98 season. On Jan. 2, Harvard was No. 21 in the coaches poll and No. 22 in the AP poll, the highest rankings in program history.
 
Harvard is the only Ivy League team to have received at least one vote in a major national poll this season. The Crimson has appeared in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll in each of the last six weeks.

Harvard As a Ranked Team
The Crimson is 12-2 as a ranked team in program history with wins this season over Boston University, Florida Atlantic, Boston College, Saint Joseph's, Dartmouth (twice), Monmouth, George Washington, Yale, Brown, Cornell and Columbia. Harvard is 6-0 at home as a ranked squad, while boasting a 6-2 record on the road when ranked nationally.

Double-Double Show
Keith Wright leads the Crimson with three double-doubles (at Holy Cross Nov. 15, Florida Atlantic Dec. 22 and at Monmouth Jan. 10), while Kyle Casey (Saint Joseph's Dec. 31) and Jonah Travis (Seattle Dec. 4) have recorded one apiece this year. Wright has amassed 16 double-doubles over the course of his career in Cambridge.

Hitting Baskets
Keith Wright stands second in the Ivy League in field-goal percentage, hitting 59.5 percent of his attempts this season (100-of-168).
 
Takeaways
Entering the week, Brandyn Curry ranked second in the Ivy League with 1.8 steals per game.
 
Lavietes Is The Place To Be
Harvard is riding a 25-game win streak at home, a program record. The current win streak at home is the longest for Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion and is the fourth longest current streak in the NCAA. Kentucky is enjoying the longest current streak with 48 straight home wins.
 
Nation's Current Longest Home Win Streaks
Through (Feb. 5)
Kentucky      48
Ohio State    38
North Carolina  30
Harvard      25
Long Island 21
Oral Roberts 20
Florida          20
Long Beach State  19
 
RPI Watch
Harvard currently sits at No. 40 in the RPI, according to collegerpi.com. The Crimson earned the highest ranking in program history, No. 14, Dec. 2, 2011.

Harvard/Amaker Against Penn and Princeton
The Crimson is 6-2 against Penn under head coach Tommy Amaker. Harvard has swept the Quakers in each of the last two seasons and has won five straight against Penn, a program record.

The Crimson boasts a 2-7 mark against Princeton under coach Amaker. The Tigers have won six of the last seven meetings between the schools, including a 63-62 decision in the Ivy League playoff March 12, 2011.
 
Iron Horse
Oliver McNally has played in 109 games during his Harvard career, putting him third in program history. McNally is just six games shy of tying Jeremy Lin '10 for the most games played in Harvard history (115). Keith Wright has played in 100 games, placing him tied for 14th in program history.
 
Sold Out Lavietes
Harvard has had six sellout crowds at Lavietes Pavilion already this season (MIT, Saint Joseph's, Dartmouth, George Washington, Cornell and Columbia). In addition, the upcoming games against Brown, Yale, Princeton and Penn are all sold out. The Crimson is going to sell out 10 of its 12 home games this season, a program record.
 
Defense Wins Games
The Crimson enters the week third in the country in scoring defense (53.6 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.The Crimson also surrendered 38 or less points in two straight games (Jan. 21-27) for the first time since 1946-47. Harvard has only allowed more than 60 points in seven of 22 games this year and has held opponents to less than 60 points in five of the last six contests.
 
Road Warriors
The Crimson, which currently owns a 12-2 record in road/neutral sites, will play a total of 18 road/neutral games this winter. Harvard's 12 road/neutral sites wins this year is a new program record, surpassing 10 victories during the 2009-10 campaign. The Crimson is 9-2 on the road and 3-0 in neutral sites in 2011-12.
 
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 rated No. 25 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches ranking 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 262-192 (.577) career head coaching record into today's game, including a 86-53 (.619) mark at Harvard, a 108-84 (.563) record at Michigan and a 68-55 (.553) record at Seton Hall.
 
Monthly Consistency
In the months of November, December and January, Harvard won six games. The Crimson went 6-0 in November, 6-1 in December and 6-1 in January. Harvard is currently 2-0 in February with six games remaining this month.