AROUND THE IVIES: Men's Basketball Heads Into Biggest Weekend of Season
Oh God, it’s happening again.
If you’re reading this, you know what occurred last weekend. For the third time in two years, Harvard suffered a gut-wrenching one-point loss to an Ivy rival that put its ability to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1946 in jeopardy.
What had been a coronation turned into a collapse, as the Crimson blew a double-digit second-half lead at home to Penn while Zack Rosen went Super Greg Jennings and willed the Quakers to victory in the biggest game of his career.
Normally, in this section, I’d delve into a deeper recap of last weekend’s festivities, but I’d rather not think about them because quite honestly, I have fonder memories of my bris.
And besides, my colleagues, E. Benjamin Samuels and Alexander Koenig, have already written outstanding columns this week on the heart-wrenching experience of being a Harvard basketball fan over the past two seasons. The Crimson is now left to hope that “The Charge” does not become 2012's version of “The Shot.”
So let’s just jump into the picks and not think about the fact that if Harvard loses the Ivy title, the Red Sox's 2011 season will no longer be Boston’s biggest sports disaster of the year. Because, as Ricky Bobby would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
HARVARD (24-4, 10-2 Ivy) AT COLUMBIA (14-14, 3-9)
Winning on the road in the Ivy League is always tough, and the Columbia-Cornell road trip is especially difficult to sweep.
But that is what Harvard must do this weekend, starting by knocking off the Lions, whom they only beat by five a month ago and who have played Penn, Princeton, and Yale within five points at Levien.
If the Crimson can contain Brian Barbour again—and Brandyn Curry, who held him to 4-of-13 shooting in the squad’s last meeting, is the team’s best chance to do so—it should, on paper, be able to win this. But the Lions are dangerous (just ask Simba’s dad), and Harvard needs to come out strong.
Pick: Harvard 66, Columbia 61
BROWN (8-21, 2-10) AT PENN (17-11, 9-2)
I need to stop forgetting how much power I have with these columns.
Two weeks ago, after singlehandedly inspiring Dartmouth to a win over Brown, I probably should not have challenged Zack Rosen to have a Michael Jordan-esque weekend with his collegiate legacy on the line.
Because that’s exactly what he did, scoring the last 16 (SIXTEEN!) Penn points against Dartmouth Friday, then the last nine against the Crimson Saturday. It’s only fair if I take full credit for those events, so...my bad. Like Ron Burgandy in the bear cave, I immediately regretted that decision.