Basketball Team Heads West After B. C. Tilt to Challenge Iowa, Illinois
Christmas vacation to most Harvard students means sitting around the old homestead regaling the parents with the fall's academic and un-controversial achievements, but to the members of the Varsity basketball squad it means an extended tour through the Mid-west, broken only by the three one-night hoop stands which without doubt comprise the roughest part of the Crimson's current season.
After meeting Boston College at the Boston Garden tomorrow night, Bill Barelay's charges will cross the Appalachians to clash with the nationally-known quintets of Michigan State, Iowa, and Illinois within a four day period. Returning East after New Year's day, the Crimson will round out the vacation campaign against Rochester at the latter's up-state New York court on January 3.
B. C. Socks Revenge
Boston college's Eagles, out to avenge last year's 51 to 27 drubbing at the hands of the Crimson five, have the ability to do just that. Although the Eagles have lost their clumsy giant, high-scoring Elmore Morganthaler, many local sports scribes feel they are better off for the change.
In Ed O'Brien, mid-year transfer student from Brooklyn, B.C. has one of the outstanding forwards in New England, and hard-driving captain John Letvinchuk has fully made up for Morganthalor in aggressiveness what he lacks in height.
Since the Eagles have demonstrated their ability to stop the fast break style of play in downing St. Anselm and almost matching Rhode Island State, two of the smoother flirehorse units in the country, coach Barclay probably will be content to use a more conservative system against Letvinchuk, O'Brien, and Company.
Journeying to the hinterlands, the Varsity will engage Michigan State at East Lansing on December 29. Featuring a couple of recent transfers from the University of Kentucky, including 6-foot-4 center Bob Braunen, the Westerners will have games with Michigan, Purdue, and Indiana behind them when they face the Barclaymen.
Iowa Loses Stars
On New Year's Eve the Crimson will battle Iowa at Iowa City. Fortunately the Hawkeyes have lost such stars at Dick Ives, who once scored 43 points in a single contest, and the brothers Wilkinson, Herb and Clayton, both of whom were selected on all-Big Nine teams.
Remaining from last year's team are regulars Jack Spencer and Murray Wier, the high-scoring forward who sparked the Hawkeyes to a Big Nine title in 1945. Wier has made 559 points i three seasons, topped by his performance last year when he hit for a 15.1 average.
Although coach "Pops" Harrison has eight additional letter-winners back from last season, the mentor with a six-year record at Iowa of 94 wins and 27 losses is crying in his beer. "I haven't got a forward over six-two," he complains.
Whiz Kids Gone
Heading East again, the "Fighting Illini" on January 1 at Champaign, Illinois. Under a new coach, Harry Combes, and with only Fred Green of the famous Whiz Kids returning, Orange and Blue prospects at the start of the season were dim indeed.
The Illini, however, in their first three games have astonished the basketball world by romping over Coo and Pitt and by turning back a veteran Notre Dame squad which was reputed to be a "sure shot for the national championship."
Despite 10 returning lettermen, Combes finds himself in somewhat of a spot, since the first-string Whiz Kids allowed other members of the squad little time to work as a unit. In addition to the six-feet, seven-inch center Green, Combes is building his team around captain-guard Jack Burmaster, an excellent playmaker, and Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, the famed all-around star of three sports, football, basketball, and track.
Dike Does Everything
Eddleman, starting halfback on the Orange and Blue's 1946 and 1947 football teams and the Big Nine's top punter, scored an amazing 969 points in one basketball season while leading Centralia High School to a state prep title.
In the final engagement of the vacation campaign, Bill Barclay's protegees will take on Rochester on January 3. Co-captains Ken Flowerday and Jim Blumer, both home-town boys, are currently sparking the the team which won 12 games and lost 5 last year.
The College's reading period will mark the start of the Crimson's 1947-48 Eastern Intercollegiate League competition, when the Varsity meets Columbia on January 6 at the Boston Arena. The Lions upset basketball dopesters last Wednesday by defeating national champion Holy Cross, 60 to 53.