Few people will attend. Fewer still will take the time to read about it. And probably no one in this town will grasp its historical significance.
Harvard's basketball team travels tonight to Ithaca, N.Y., to tangle with the nation's reigning collegiate champions. Yes, that's right, the Big Red of Cornell.
Cornell's cagers finished the 1972-3 season with a 16-game losing streak national pollsters could not ignore, and claimed the Number One ranking in syndicated columnist George Nadel's "Worst Ten Teams in the Country."
With only one veteran of the championship team returning to his 13-man roster, coach Tony Coma seemed stuck with another sure-fire loser for 1974. Then "championship" ambitions began to fall apart as Cornell picked up two victories in the last month.
Dartmouth, 1-13 and winless in the Ivy League, edged the Big Red out of the basement. Columbia, 2-15 overall and 1-5 in the Ivies, put the pressure on too, dropping a one-pointer to Cornell January 11.
Flushed with Victory
With that League win, Cornell moved into a tie for sixth place with the Lions. Flushed with victory, Coma's revived squad roared past Colgate, 67-61, last week, raising its season's slate to 3-14, and damaging further its chances for a second straight "national title."
Thus the crucial nature of tonight's home stand against the Crimson. Harvard, fourth in the Ivy League with a 3-2 record, has had trouble with cellar-dwellers. Last year, the Crimson mustered a mere 78-72 margin over the Big Red, and opened league play this season with a 65-64 overtime squeaker at Dartmouth. A win over Harvard would destroy Cornell's chances for a repeat.