This weekend's Ivy basketball action may well prove the cauldron from which the league champion will emerge. Frank McLaughlin and his cagers are looking to stir up the Ivy basketball potpourri as much as they did last Saturday night when they threw the league-leading Penn Quakers into the mulligatawney.
This weekend's entrees are the Big Red of Cornell and the second-place Columbia Lions. Cornell, with an Ivy league record of 4-6, should prove fairly palatable tonight.
The Lions, however, are hankering after their first share of the league title since the heyday of Jim McMillian, and tomorrow night in the IAB you can expect them to show considerable more life than a halibut on a slab.
In their first encounter with Cornell, Harvard came away with an 88-81 win in a close game most notable for the ejection of McLaughlin after he vented some steam at the officials. Sophomore Mike Davis scored 32 points for Cornell that night and leads Ben Bluitt's boys with a 21.6 scoring average.
The Lions defeated the cagers, 71-62, in Morningside Heights two weeks ago but are definitely taking tomorrow's contest seriously after Harvard spoiled their NIT bid last year with an upset overtime victory in the IAB.
About all that has changed in the Lion five in the past year is that center Elmer Love took the year off and the sophomore trio of Alton Byrd, Ricky Free and Juan Mitchell are now juniors. Free is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, even though he occasionally suits up at guard. Byrd, his fellow all-Ivy teammate, will probably shatter Columbia's career assist record against Harvard, as he is now 11 shy of the mark set by Elliot Wolfe.
The Lions are currently 8-2 in the Ivies, so it is imperative they sweep Dartmouth and Harvard in order to set the stage for their March 3 battle with the 9-1 Quakers for a share in the championship. The weekend contest could be equally pivotal for Harvard. If the Crimson can get by the Lions it would open up the possibility of a three-way tie for second with Columbia and Princeton.