In Harvard’s 79-73 loss to Connecticut last year, Jeremy Lin ’10 had a career night, scoring 30 points, grabbing nine rebounds and handing out three assists. Lin’s performance against the perennial powerhouse Huskies put him on the radar for NBA scouts, which led him to eventually land a roster spot on the Golden State Warriors. Lin isn’t the only athlete from the class of 2010 to go pro, though.
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.
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.
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!
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.