Cleveland Browns? Or Cleveland Crimson?

Published by Sam Danello on February 05, 2016 at 3:45PM

Crimson fans can add another color to their wardrobe.

As of a few weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns have emerged as a possible darling of the student body, filling their front office with a selection of Harvard graduates. Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and Andrew Berry compose what is likely the most intriguing management in professional football—and, perhaps, a new bandwagon team for Crimson fans.

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With Princeton in Town, Men's Hockey Looks To Win Third Straight

Published by Kurt T. Bullard on January 29, 2016 at 12:20AM

UPDATED: January 29, 2016, at 11:08 a.m.

After suffering a short midseason slump, the No. 7/7 Harvard men’s hockey team snapped its slide with two convincing wins over Colgate and No. 14/13 Cornell this past weekend, finding twine on 10 occasions while only conceding four goals.

The Crimson (11-4-3, 7-3-3 ECAC) will look to keep its offensive attack in tune in its Friday matchup against Princeton (5-12-2, 3-7-2) at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center before its Beanpot Semifinal against No. 5/5 Boston College on Monday.

VESEY POINT STREAK

Senior forward Jimmy Vesey was part of the top class of the ECAC last season, and not much has changed this year. The Charlestown native has an eight-game point streak in which he has accumulated six goals and eight assists, including putting up a hat trick over St. Lawrence in a five minute span. This comes off last season’s performance, where Vesey started off the year with a 21-game point streak that was snapped in a shutout loss at Yale.

Vesey leads the ECAC in points on the season, despite having played fewer games than his elite counterparts. The senior has 30 points in 18 games, while second-place Sam Anas of Quinnipiac has 29 points in seven more contests.

A FAVORABLE HISTORY

The last time Harvard lost against Princeton, the junior class had not yet set foot on campus.

The Crimson has racked up five straight wins over the Tigers, not even conceding a tie in the five-game unbeaten streak. Harvard has outscored its Ivy League foe by a margin of 20-8 over those five tilts.

In the earlier matchup this year in Baker Rink, three goals and sophomore Merrick Madsen’s second career shutout led Harvard to a comfortable win. Not much suggests that there is a strong chance of that changing, with Princeton sitting in the bottom third of the conference standings.

PRINCETON’S OFFENSIVE WOES

Friday will match the ECAC’s best and worst offenses per scoring averages, with Princeton sitting alone in the cellar with a 2.32 goals per game mark. Harvard, on the other hand, boasts the top ranked offense in the conference with an average of 3.83 tallies per contest.

Princeton also lacks a consistent scorer in the offensive end. The top-ranked point-getter for the Tigers is Ryan Kuffner, who is tied for 36th in the conference with 13 points. Four Crimson skaters—including three in the top 10—stand above him in terms of league point totals.

—Staff writer Kurt T. Bullard can be reached at kurt.bullard@thecrimson.com.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: January 29, 2016

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Crimson was sitting in the bottom third of the ECAC conference standings. In fact, it is Princeton sitting in the bottom third.

Three Things to Watch: Harvard-Dartmouth

Published by David Freed on January 23, 2016 at 12:14PM
Steady Steeves

Senior Patrick Steeves is averaging 9.6 points per game, second on the Crimson behind junior Zena Edosomwan.

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After winning just its second true road game of the year, the Harvard men’s basketball team (9-8, 1-0 Ivy) will put its three-game winning streak on the line when it travels to Hanover to take on Dartmouth (6-9, 0-1) in the second half of its conference-opening home-and-home with the Big Green. Beat writer David Freed lists three things to watch.

TURN TO UPPERCLASSMEN

As the calendar turns to the Ivy League season, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker is notorious about shortening his bench and relying on upperclassmen. With the exception of the 2012-2013 season, when the team had just two upperclassmen (Laurent Rivard ’14 and Christian Webster ’13) in the rotation, Harvard has frequently limited its underclassmen to spot duty during Ivy League play. Even junior Zena Edosomwan, a starter last year, played just 13.5 minutes a game during Ancient Eight play. In the last seven contests of the year, he played more than 10 minutes once.

The emergence of senior Patrick Steeves brings up questions about how Amaker will manage the minutes of his youthful squad. The coach has already proved willing to yank freshman point guard Tommy McCarthy early for junior Corbin Miller, who provides steadier, albeit less creative, play. Increased playing time for Steeves, whose 9.6 points a game rank second on the team behind Edosomwan, may knock both sophomore Andre Chatfield and freshman Weisner Perez to the fringes of the rotation.

CHANGING IN THE GUARD

One of the dominant early-season trends for the Crimson has been the change in offense from last year. After having only three passable three-point threats a year ago—all of whom rarely saw playing time together—Harvard has significantly improved spacing a year later. Miller and freshman Corey Johnson have been long-range machines, shooting a combined 41 percent on 12 attempts a game. With Steeves shooting 53 percent and McCarthy boasting a respectably 36 percent mark, Harvard has had excellent spacing.

The improved spacing has put teams in a defensive bind regarding Edosomwan, the only Ivy League player averaging a double-double. Throwing double teams at Edosomwan, as Dartmouth did in the last matchup, has not proven successful. The junior has evolved into a more adept passer, ranking fourth on the Crimson in assists per game, and excels at finding the open man. In the last matchup with the Big Green, he had six assists as Harvard shot 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from three in one of its best offensive performances of the year. In the rematch, look for Dartmouth to stick more closely to the Crimson’s shooters.

A THIN BENCH

When the two teams last met, Dartmouth got 65 percent of its production from its two stellar underclassmen—sophomore wing Miles Wright and freshman forward Evan Boudreaux. The early favorite for Ivy League rookie of the year took it to Edosomwan and captain Evan Cummins inside, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds, including a pair of late threes to keep the Big Green in the game. Wright shot a blistering five of eight from three and took advantage when senior wing Agunwa Okolie came off the floor, making all four of his shots.

In the rematch, Dartmouth will need more production from the rest of its team, however. Senior Connor Boehm will especially be called on to shoot better than his one for eight performance in Cambridge.

-Staff Writer David Freed can be reached at david.freed@thecrimson.com

Football Releases 2016 Schedule

Published by Wade G. Player on January 21, 2016 at 12:14PM

The opening whistle of the 2016 college football season may be nearly eight months away, but as of last week, the Harvard program has confirmed its schedule.

For the first time since the Ivy League was founded in 1956, the Crimson will play three consecutive road games, at Holy Cross, Princeton, and Dartmouth respectively. This mid-year gauntlet looms as a serious test for Harvard as it pushes for a fourth consecutive league title.

Other challenges menace in more typical places. As per usual, the Crimson will face off against Penn--the lone team to beat Harvard in 2015--and end the season against Yale.

The quest for a historic fourth championship will begin on September 16, when Harvard kicks off against Rhode Island at home. Last year, the Crimson beat the Rams 41-10 in the season opener.

This home game will be the first of three non-conference matchups, as Harvard will host Georgetown in week three and visit Holy Cross two weeks later.

Traditionally the Crimson has faced the Crusaders early in the season, but last year, for the first time since 1976, the two teams did not play. They will renew their non-conference rivalry in 2016.

Throughout the season, Harvard will match up against all seven Ivy League teams, starting in Providence against Brown in the second week of the season. The team will then play Cornell at home in week four.

In 2015, the Crimson handled both these opponents with ease, but the 2016 conference schedule toughens up as the year progresses. Harvard will close out the season with five straight Ancient Eight matchups, consecutively playing Princeton away, Dartmouth at home, Columbia at home, Penn away, and Yale at home.

Based on last season’s results, the Big Green and the Quakers stand out as the toughest tilts. Three months ago, the Crimson bested Dartmouth, 14-13, by scoring all 14 points in the fourth quarter. Then, against Penn, Harvard gave up an early lead en route to its only loss of the year.

The 2016 schedule culminates with the 133rd playing of The Game. Harvard has won nine in a row against the Bulldogs, including last season’s 38-19 thumping in New Haven. This year’s contest will take place in Cambridge, and the Crimson will look to extend the longest winning streak in the history of the Game.

Women's Hockey To Face Unbeaten No. 1 Boston College

Published by Julio Fierro on January 19, 2016 at 10:48PM

In one of the most critical games of its season, the No. RV/9 Harvard women’s ice hockey squad (10-6-1, 7-5-1 ECAC) plays hosts to No. 1/1 Boston College (23-0-0, 16-0-0 Hockey East) at Bright-Landry, looking to break the Eagles prolific winning streak as well as its own two game losing streak.

The Crimson was the last team to defeat BC, knocking them out of the Frozen Four with a 2-1 victory in the national semifinals. Since then, the Eagles have won 23 straight contests.

BC will head into Cambridge with revenge in mind. After trouncing Harvard by a score of 10-2 in their first matchup of the season last year, the Crimson walked away with one-goal victories when they faced off in the Beanpot and Frozen Four, leaving the Eagles–who were ranked in the top two in both occasions–empty-handed at the end of the season.

Senior forwards Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa–who are ranked second and third in the nation in total points, respectively–will lead a talented Eagle attack that will test a shaky Harvard backline.

Crimson captain Emerance Maschmeyer, who holds the record for most saves in Harvard history, anchors a defense which conceded seven goals in the last two games. After holding a sub-1 goals-against-average early on in the season, the senior goalkeeper’s average has ballooned to nearly two goals allowed per game while her save percentage has dropped to 0.944.

On the offensive side, a Crimson unit struggling with consistency will attempt to make its way past BC sophomore goalkeeper Katie Burt and the third best scoring defense in the nation.

After scoring three or more goals in eight of its first 12 games, Harvard has scored more than two goals on one just occasion in the last six games­–a 6-2 beat down of Colgate. During thw six-game stretch, the Crimson has posted a paltry 2-4-0 record.

Senior Miye D’Oench–who ranks 15th in the nation with 22 points through 17 games–will need to provide a spark for the 14th ranked scoring offense in the nation. The Harvard attack will need to fire on all cylinders to break down an impressive BC defense that has conceded more than two goals only three times this season and boasts a 93.6 percent kill rate on the power play.

In addition to claiming local bragging rights, this game could go a long way in the Crimson’s chances of returning to the postseason for the fourth year in a row. The BC matchup kicks off a tough stretch of four ranked opponents in five games for Harvard–including another matchup with the Eagles in the first round of the Beanpot on Feb. 2nd.

After falling to Clarkson this weekend, Harvard finds itself on the outside looking in; the PairWise rankings, which are an accurate prediction of where a team ranks by the NCAA Tournament committee’s standards, has the Crimson ranked 11th.

With only eight teams making the tournament and the threat that a low-ranked team could steal a spot by winning a conference title, a victory against BC would go a long way in helping the Crimson secure a place in the top eight. A loss against the Eagles could force Harvard to have to play near-perfect hockey and/or win the ECAC postseason title against the likes of Princeton, Quinnipiac, and Clarkson–top-eight ranked teams the Crimson has failed to defeat so far this season.