Non-Conference Breakdown: MIT

Published by Hope Schwartz on October 13, 2012 at 3:12AM

With the Harvard men’s basketball team’s season opener less than a month away, The Back Page is breaking down the Crimson’s non-conference opponents. Each week, we will take a look at two new foes. First up is MIT.

When the Harvard men’s basketball team welcomes crosstown rival MIT to Lavietes Pavilion on Nov. 9, it will mark the second straight year the Crimson has opened its season against the Engineers.

MIT, which competes in the Division III NEWMAC Conference, dropped last year’s contest 76-49.

Although the Crimson dominated the matchup, forward Will Tashman, then a junior, posed problems for Harvard, scoring a team-high 16 points. Tashman was a crucial piece of the Engineers’ offense all season, averaging 11.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest.

Another key player for MIT will be senior guard Mitchell Kates, who in 2011 was named to the D3Hoops All-America fourth team after posting 14.2 points per game.

The Engineers saw unprecedented success last season, making it to the NCAA Division III Final Four for the first time in the program’s history and going 29-2 on the season (11-1 in conference play). MIT fell 71-56 in the semifinals to the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, which went on to win the national championship.

But last spring, the Engineers graduated two of their most talented seniors, and it is yet to be seen how they will adapt. Guard Jamie Karraker ’12 led the team with an MIT single-season record 111 three-pointers and was third in scoring averaging 12.6. Center Noel Hollingsworth ’12, who led MIT in scoring (17.2), is also gone.

Though the freshmen have big shoes to fill, the recruits show a lot of promise.  One standout is 6’10 rookie Lampros Tsontzos, who played for the Greek National U18 team and is known for his rebounding and shot blocking abilities. MIT will also look to freshman Ryan Frankel, who was voted New York City’s best guard in 2012 and tallied a total of 1,200 points in his high school career.