Men's Basketball Begins Ivy League Slate at Home Against Dartmouth

Photo by Eric Miller
Photo by Eric Miller
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Harvard vs. Dartmouth
Jan. 6, 2018
         2 p.m.
Lavietes Pavilion
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ESPN3 | Ivy League Network
Andy Towne, Adam Giardino
Harvard trails, 88-96
W, 82-68 (Jan. 21, 2017)
W2
Harvard vs. Dartmouth (PDF)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Ivy League schedule has arrived in Cambridge, as Harvard hosts Dartmouth Saturday, Jan. 6 to open up the Ancient Eight campaign at Lavietes Pavilion. The tip-off is set for 2 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Network.

The Opening Tip
• Harvard is off to a 5-9 start with victories over MIT, UMass, Saint Joseph's, Fordham, and Boston University. Sophomore Bryce Aiken leads the Crimson with 17.6 points per game, including a career-best 30 in a victory over the Minutemen, while classmate Chris Lewis has been strong inside, scoring 11.9 points per game on 58.4 percent shooting. A third sophomore, Seth Towns, has added 12.5 per game, including a season-high 25 at No. 7 Kentucky Dec. 2.

• 16 different Harvard players have started a game this season, which leads the nation. Deploying a balanced attack, Harvard has 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game this season.

• Harvard was picked first in the preseason Ivy League poll, and is searching for its sixth Ivy League title in the past eight years after earning five straight from 2011-15.

Conference Play
Harvard went 10-4 in Ivy play a year ago, en route to earning the second seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. Sophomore Bryce Aiken led the Crimson with 13.4 points per game as a freshman in Ivy action a year ago en route to earning Ancient Eight Rookie of the Year and all-conference first team honors. Harvard was a stellar 6-1 at home in Ivy play last season, and outscored its opponents over the 14-game stretch by nearly eight points per game. 

Defending the Goal
Entering conference play, Harvard has boasted the top scoring defense in the conference. The Crimson has limited its foes to just 68.3 points per game, besting second-place Penn (68.9) and third-place Princeton (70.3), despite playing the league's toughest non-conference schedule, according to KenPom rankings.

Last Time Out
Kicking off the new year on its home floor, Harvard men's basketball was topped by Vermont, 62-56, on Tuesday evening at Lavietes Pavilion. 

Sophomore Chris Lewis controlled the paint with a team-high 14 points to go with four blocks, which matched a career-best. Classmate Seth Towns chipped in 13 points with five rebounds and three assists.

Home Court Advantage
Harvard is 3-1 at home this season, and holds a .794 winning percentage at home under head coach Tommy Amaker. The Crimson has won seven of its last eight games at home, and 13 of its last 15. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Harvard holds a 21-7 home record against Ivy League opponents, including a 3-1 mark versus the Big Green.

Duh-Nuh-Nuh, Duh-Nuh-Nuh
Harvard has been on television in some form for 12 of its first 13 games, including a Dec. 2 contest on ESPN's main channel against Kentucky. It was just the second time in program history that Harvard men's basketball appeared on ESPN's flagship channel, 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.

Additionally, freshman Danilo Djuricic appeared in SportsCenter's top-10 plays countdown Dec. 6 after his ferocious tip-jam against Fordham.

Ivy Madness
The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.

Scouting Dartmouth
The Big Green is led by David McLaughlin in his second season, and the squad is off to a 4-7 record in 2017-18 with wins over Emerson, Loyola (Md.), Maine and Bryant..

Brendan Barry and Miles Wright lead Dartmouth with 12.3 points per game apiece, with Barry holding the team lead in assists with 3.9 per game and Wright leading the way in rebounds with 4.9 per night. Barry leads the team in 3-point shooting, making 44 percent from downtown.

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

  1. Harvard (6) – 121
  2. Yale (8) - 118
  3. Princeton (3) - 114
  4. Penn - 86
  5. Columbia - 55
  6. Cornell -  48
  7. Dartmouth - 39
  8. Brown – 31 

No No No!
Harvard registered 4.78 blocked shots per game last season, best in the Ancient Eight. Chris Lewis and Zena Edosomwan ranked 3-4 in the conference with 1.8 and 1.3 blocks per game, respectively.  Lewis is swatting 1.6 per game this season, and leads the league in total blocks with 22. 

Chasing History
• Harvard won at least 20 games in six straight seasons from 2009-15, matching Penn (1969-75) for the longest streak of 20-win seasons in Ivy League history. 

• The Crimson won five straight Ivy League championships from 2010-15, becoming just the second program in Ancient Eight history to win at least five successive titles (Penn 1970-75, 1978-82).

• The Crimson made four-straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2011-15, joining Princeton (1989-92) and Penn (1970-75) as just the third program in Ivy League history to represent the conference in the Big Dance in four successive years.

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! The #ILN is also available on Apple TV and Roku.

What's Next?
Harvard treks to Wofford for its final non-conference bout of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 10 for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.