There are just two weeks left in the Ivy basketball season.
Harvard can clinch at least a share of the Ancient Eight title by sweeping the Killer P’s this weekend at Lavietes Pavilion, where it hasn’t lost in 27 consecutive games—the second-longest current streak in the country.
If it wins both contests, and Yale loses to Columbia and Penn falls to Dartmouth Friday night, the Crimson would win its first outright championship in program history. But there’s about as good a chance of both those things happening as there is of Ron Paul winning the Republican nomination, so Harvard will almost certainly have to wait until next weekend for the chance to clinch an outright title.
Last year, the weekend before the Oscars, I wrote a column comparing every Ancient Eight team to a Best Picture nominee. Though I haven’t seen most of the movies nominated this year—and really, who has?—I did notice some striking similarities between them and the Ivy squads.
For example, Columbia is “Moneyball,” the story of an underdog that overachieves despite losing its best player. Cornell is “Midnight in Paris,” with a man (Chris Wroblewski) realizing that the people he once admired are no longer with him, leaving him nostalgically wishing to return to the better days of the past.
Penn is “The Descendents,” with one major star carrying a story people would otherwise have no interest in. Princeton is “The Help,” as both take place in societies dominated by white people.
Brown is “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” as I imagine that’s how most Bears players feel about Jesse Agel. Plus, both bombed despite having two stars and were never really in contention in the first place. Dartmouth is “War Horse,” as each is about as interesting as an early-1900s British period piece about a horse.
Yale is “The Artist,” because it’s silent about things it probably shouldn’t be so silent about. Actually, sorry, I got confused—that’s the Yale Daily News. We’ll say the Bulldogs are “The Tree of Life,” because, like Brad Pitt in the movie, Greg Mangano is a major star that always seems so angry.
That leaves the Crimson as “Hugo”—no standout performances, but strong supporting casts and two great leaders in Tommy Amaker and Martin Scorcese who teach us that the past is not something that to run away from.
On to the week five picks.
PRINCETON (15-10, 6-3 Ivy) AT HARVARD (23-3, 9-1)
Last time the Tigers came to Lavietes, Bill Simmons, Drew Faust, and the Lew Alcindor (pre-superstar) version of Jeremy Lin were in the stands on a magical night in which Harvard clinched a share of its first Ivy title ever.
But as the Crimson would later discover, the old kindergarten lesson of “sharing is caring” that we all learn when playing with toy trucks does not apply when sharer A wins the subsequent truck race by edging out sharer B at the final second, ruining B’s chance to represent the class at the giant toy convention for the first time in 65 years, even though A has already been to the convention 23 times.
Anyway, B has learned its lesson: never share things with anyone unless you absolutely have to. And a win tonight would put it in great position to finally get to that toy convention at long last.
Pick: Harvard 67, Princeton 60