CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team will face Kentucky for the first time in program history on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky. The tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m, and will be broadcast on ESPN.
The Opening Tip
• Harvard is off to a 3-5 start with victories over MIT, UMass and Saint Joseph's. Sophomore Bryce Aiken leads the Crimson with 19.0 points per game, including a career-best 30 in a 70-67 (OT) victory over the Minutemen, while classmate Chris Lewis has been strong inside, scoring 13.8 points per game on 63.8 percent shooting. He also leads the team with 5.4 rebounds per game.
• The Crimson's sophomore class has combined to average 55.2 points per game, equating to 80.1 percent of the team's scoring.
• Harvard has been on television in some form for each of its first eight games, and continues with the bout against Kentucky on ESPN. The Saturday contest on ESPN's main channel will be just the second in program history, with the first coming in 2011 against Oklahoma State. In total, the Crimson is set to play 25 televised games in 2017-18, which paces the Ivy League.
Last Time Out
Beating The Odds
The Crimson is 4-12 against ranked opponents since 2008-09, marking the only four wins over ranked opponents in program history. The Crimson boasts one win over a top-10 team, coming against 10th-ranked New Mexico in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Harvard is 0-1 against ranked foes this season after falling to Saint Mary's in the opening round of the Wooden Legacy.
1/7/09 - at No. 17 Boston College, W, 82-70
11/25/11 - vs. No. 20 Florida State, W,46-41
3/23/13 - vs. No. 10 New Mexico, W, 68-62
3/20/14 - vs. No. 15 Cincinnati, W, 61-57
Against the SEC
In the Tommy Amaker era, Harvard has tallied one win over an SEC opponent in two attempts. Harvard topped Auburn, 69-51, at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii in 2015, but fell to Vanderbilt, 79-70, in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Player of the Week
Opening the season with a career-best performance, Harvard men's basketball sophomore Bryce Aiken was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12.
Aiken became Harvard's first player to net 30 in a game since Wesley Saunders '15, guiding the Crimson to a 70-67 (OT) victory over Massachusetts. The Randolph, New Jersey native poured in 12 of Harvard's final 16 points, including a game-winning stop-and-pop 3-pointer from 26 feet with just 1.9 seconds to go in the extra frame. Aiken also scored 12 points in the opener against MIT, and shot a dazzling 58 percent from 3-point range over the two games.
Coming off a strong campaign last season, making it to the semifinals of the NCAA March Madness Tournament, Kentucky has started the season 6-1. The lone loss came in a closely contested game against No. 4 Kansas. The Wildcats have wins against Thomas More, Morehead State, Centre, Utah Valley, Vermont, East Tennessee State, Troy, Fort Wayne and Illinois-Chicago.
Like past years, the Wildcats recruited a strong freshman class, filling all five starting positions with Freshman. The team is led by Kevin Knox, averaging a team-leading 16.1 points. Nick Richards has pitched in with a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per game, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team in assists per game with 4.0.
Against John Calipari
The Crimson is 0-1 against Kentucky head coach John Calipari, only playing him once back in 1991 when he was the head coach at UMass. The game ended in a 98-63 decision in favor of the Minutemen.
Picked at the Top
Harvard men's basketball was picked by the media to finish first in the preseason Ivy League poll, finishing above Yale, Princeton and Penn with 121 total votes. Additionally, Harvard received votes in both the Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches' poll. The full preseason predictions can be found below:
Team (1st place) – Total Votes
- Harvard (6) – 121
- Yale (8) - 118
- Princeton (3) - 114
- Penn - 86
- Columbia - 55
- Cornell - 48
- Dartmouth - 39
- Brown – 31
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight. Full archives of every game on the Ivy League Network are also available.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Network or to sign-up today, click here, or download the Ivy League Network app!
Harvard travels to Fordham for a midweek clash on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast by the Atlantic 10 Network.