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The best Crimson basketball team in a decade will be out to end its season successfully tonight by upsetting League Champion Yale and thus winning the Big Three title. Game time at the I.A.B. is 8:30, with the freshman preliminary at 6:30.
This quintet has already exceeded all expectations, and regardless of the outcome tonight, can pride itself on an excellent campaign. Harvard's current 12-8 record is its best since 1947 and, in fact, its first winning season since then.
One month ago today the varsity seemed headed for another mediocre year, as it had just absorbed its sixth consecutive defeat, at the hands of Dartmouth. Then Coach Floyd Wilson made some changes in personnel and tactics, and the team has turned around to win seven of its last eight games, including impressive victories over Dartmouth and Princeton.
Five of these most recent triumphs have been in league play, to run the team's Ivy mark to 7-6, and a sure fifth place finish. Victory tonight, moreover, would put Harvard in position to tie for fourth place, in case either Columbia or Princeton, both with 7-5 records, should falter against weak opponents tonight. If both lose, and the Crimson wins, a three-way tie for third place would result.
A win, furthermore, would give the varsity the mythical Big Three crown, even though the Elis are asured of the league title, and an NCAA tournament berth. Both Yale and Harvard have 2-1 records in Big Three competition, as Yale split two games with Princeton and beat Harvard a week ago, 75-67, while the Crimson won both its contests with the Tigers.
Five seniors, constituting half the ten-man squad, will play their final game to night. Captain Ike Canty, Bob Hastings, Dick Hurley, and Bob Barnett have been starters for almost three years, while Bill Schreiber has filled in capably this season.
Coach Floyd Wilson, who has brought Harvard basketball from the bottom up in three years as varsity coach, will go with the same techniques and team that have succeeded so well.
A full court press and collapsing zone defense, which has rattled opponents consistently, will be used again tonight. The weaving pass pattern attack will be paced by the team's two highest scorers junior Dick Woolston and Harrington.
Last Saturday, at New Haven, Harrington was held to nine points by the close guarding tactics of Tom Sargent. If he can shake away a few more times tonight, and approximate the 20-plus points per game he has scored since becoming a starter, the team may have a good shot at a major upset.
Yale will be again without the services of their star, Johnnie Lee, but managed to win without him a week ago. Ed Robinson, a 6-4 center, tallied 25 points in that game, and is one of the nation's leading rebounders. Larry Downs has averaged about 18 points per game in his sophomore season, and Bill Bodman and George Thompson round out the starting five
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