Floyd Wilson, closing out his fourth year as varsity basketball coach, will be looking on anxiously tonight as the quintet takes the floor against Yale in its last and most important game of the season.
A repeat performance of last month's 82-70 victory over the Elis would give the Crimson its first winning season in Ivy League history, establish a new record for most games won in a single season, and notch the first Big Three championship for a Harvard quintet. All this, of course, is mere addition to the satisfaction which only a victory over a Yale team can afford.
While the quintet has compiled a record of 16 wins and 8 losses overall, it has been somewhat less impressive in League play, winning 7 and dropping 6. Yale, with an 8-5 record, shares second place with Penn and Princeton. Dartmouth clinched the League championship and an NCAA bid with its win over the Quakers last Saturday night.
With Penn meeting Princeton tonight at Tigertown, it is plain that the best the varsity can achieve in the League standings is a tie for third place.
On the other hand, a Crimson defeat would plunge the Big Three race into a three-way tie and would sink the varsity into fifth place and the second division of the League. Win or lose, this will have been Wilson's most successful team, and this season's record will have been the finest achievement of a Crimson five in over ten years.
Tonight's game will be the last for three of the varsity's most effective big men, graduating seniors Monk Muncaster, Chuck Wolle, and captain Dick Woolston. Arnie Singal, a senior reserve who has played very well on occasion, will also be missed next year.
Junior George Harrington will be returning to uniform tonight after a long siege of mononucleosis that has kept him off the court since the last Yale game in the beginning of February. Sophomore Mike Donohue will start at guard, however, and Wilson will probably use Harrington sparingly.
Chuck Wolle, who has been ill with the grippe, will not play tonight. Dick Woolston will probably play the whole game at forward.
The varsity has been practicing its usual plays this week and cannot be expected to attempt anything new tonight.
But this Yale squad, led by Johnny Lee, Larry Downs, and Jerry Glynn, can be expected to be better prepared for this game than for its last encounter with the varsity. In that game they were far too confident and were not able to pull themselves together to fight back when the Crimson upset their expectations.
Tonight they will be ready, and, as Wilson commented, "It'll all depend on the breaks." With so many records and titles at stake, the Crimson will have to get some of those breaks if it is to win.