Harvard Hoops Faces Biggest Challenge at No. 4 UConn

Published by Martin Kessler on December 20, 2010 at 3:11AM
Curry-er House

Sophomore Brandyn Curry will have the unenviable task of guarding UConn's best player, point guard Kemba Walker, on Wednesday

The Harvard men’s basketball team will have its hands full this Wednesday night when it travels to Hartford, Conn. to take on No. 4 UConn.

The Huskies—who entered Sunday night with an 8-0 record—are one of just nine undefeated teams in the country and boast arguably the top player in the nation in junior Kemba Walker.

Walker—a 6’1” point guard with blazing quickness—currently leads the nation in scoring, averaging 28.1 points per game.

But even with a talented opponent looming, the Crimson (7-2) has been preparing for this Wednesday’s contest just like any other.

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Harvard Can Give Huskies a Battle

Published by Kate Leist on December 20, 2010 at 3:11AM

When the Harvard men’s basketball team squares off with No. 4 UConn on Wednesday, it will, of course, be a huge underdog; Ivy League squads playing against power conference teams often are.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Just last Saturday, the Yale women’s basketball team upset No. 14 Florida State, 91-85, in New Haven.

Although this win marked the only win by an Ancient Eight basketball team over a top 25 program in 11 tries this season, Ivy schools have been competitive in some of those 10 losses. Most notably, the Cornell men lost at then-No. 13 Minnesota by just five points, 71-66, while the Princeton women dropped a contest at then-No. 22 Vanderbilt by a six-point margin, 74-68.

The Crimson men have other reasons to be optimistic. The next game on the Huskies’ schedule after Wednesday’s contest is a road game at No. 6 Pittsburgh, Connecticut’s biggest game since last month’s Maui Invitational. If Harvard can catch the Huskies looking ahead, it has a shot to replicate last year’s close contest, a game Connecticut won by a slim 79-73 margin.

That may have been exactly what the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of on Saturday. The Seminoles square off with No. 1 Connecticut tomorrow—a game that could have historic ramifications. A win would be the 89th straight for the Lady Huskies, breaking the all-time NCAA record held by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s program.

But of course, Harvard’s recent success against top programs—it beat then-No. 24 Boston College two seasons ago and has already toppled a power-conference school this year in Pac-10 team Colorado—means that the Huskies likely have Harvard very much on their radar.

Hockey Beanpot Tickets Now on Sale

Published by Molly E. Kelly on December 18, 2010 at 3:11AM
Popping Bottles

The Harvard women's hockey team will look to repeat its Beanpot success with another championship. The Crimson men have a tougher road ahead.

Missed the Beanpot action last year?

You can make up for it this year—the Harvard Athletics ticket office is currently selling presale tickets for the 59th annual tourney between the BU, Harvard, BC, and Northeastern hockey teams.

Monday, Feb. 7 kicks off the action in the TD Banknorth Garden when the Crimson faces the Huskies at 5:00 p.m., and the Eagles-Bulldogs matchup will follow at eight. The following Monday, the championship and consolation matches will wrap up the tournament.

Last year, the women’s squad nabbed its 13th Beanpot title after toppling Northeastern in a close 1-0 victory. The men didn’t have as much luck—they were blanked, 6-0, at the hands of BC, and the consolation match versus the Huskies handed the crew a 4-1 loss.

The matchups will undoubtedly be a focus for the squads, then, as the women look for a repeat and the men seek to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 showing.

If you’re not yet sure if Beanpot action is in your future, tickets will go on sale to the public on Jan. 11. But if you are, call the Harvard Athletic Ticket Office at 617-495-2211 before tickets run out!

Has NFL's Fitzpatrick Done Enough To Keep His Job?

Published by Robert S Samuels on December 18, 2010 at 3:11AM
Luck of the Irish

Former Crimson standout Ryan Fitzpatrick '05 has made strides with the Buffalo Bills. Will it be enough to keep his starting job next season?

There’s no question it’s been a breakout season for Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05. From 2005-2009, the former Ivy League Player of the Year passed for 4,104 yards and tallied 21 touchdown passes in 28 NFL games. This year, in just 11 contests, he’s already thrown for 2,526 yards and matched his previous career total for TD’s against just 11 interceptions. The former Crimson star’s passer rating (85.0) is by far the highest of his career, and, like he did in college, Fitzpatrick is making a difference on the ground, averaging 21.5 rushing yards a game.

Fitzpatrick, rated by the Sporting News as the fifth smartest player in sports (Matt Birk ’98 finished sixth), has also helped a pretty awful Bills team to three wins.

And people are noticing. Yahoo! sports called him “the best NFL QB for the buck,” given his modest pro salary of three million dollars, and The New York Times intimated that he could be a franchise player.

But things aren’t as cheery for Fitzpatrick as they might seem. Since Buffalo holds the fourth-worst record in the NFL, it should be in good position to pick a top quarterback from a 2011 draft class that could include Heisman winner Cam Newton and Heisman finalist Andrew Luck. If the Bills invest in such a high-profile signal caller—one who will command top-five money that makes Fitzpatrick's deal look like chump change—it will leave the Crimson alum where he found himself at the beginning of this year: on the bench.

 

Magic of Numbers: Men's Basketball Plays David to UConn's Goliath

Published by Ricky Liu on December 17, 2010 at 3:11AM

Each Thursday (natch, Friday), The Crimson will compile a series of unique statistics about Harvard's sports scene. Welcome to the Magic of Numbers—without the problem sets. We'll do the math for you.

CRIMSON VS. HUSKIES

2009 – Year that UConn’s men’s basketball team last made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Huskies have made 28 postseason appearances in the history of the program. Harvard looks to extend its two-game win streak when it heads on the road to take on UConn next Wednesday. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3.

64 – Number of years since the Crimson’s sole appearance in the NCAA tournament (1946).

8 – Number of wins for the Huskies this season. UConn has gone undefeated in its first eight games to start this season and is ranked fourth in the nation in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches’ Polls.

28.1 – Points per game for the Huskies’ leading scorer, guard Kemba Walker. Walker is ranked second in the nation in scoring and is also shooting over 40 percent from beyond the three-point line.

16.6 – Points per game for Harvard’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Christian Webster. Webster leads the Ivy League in scoring and is shooting exactly 40 percent from downtown.

13 – Number of former UConn players currently playing in the NBA.

1 – Number of former Crimson basketball players currently playing in the NBA. Jeremy Lin ’10 became the first Harvard player to play in the NBA in 57 years when he signed with the Golden State Warriors this past summer after going undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft.