Twenty-One Points, Five Points . . . Who's Counting?

The Basketball Notebook

Funny line of the week goes to Harvard men's basketball Coach Frank McLaughlin, who last Thursday said the difference in Ivy League games rarely exceeds five points.

"The difference in the league is about five points per game," the Crimson coach said.

So the next night Cornell pasted Harvard, 64-43.

Twenty-one points, five points... who's counting?

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And then there were three.

As in three weeks to go, three teams in contention and three crucial games still on the schedule.

That's how the race for the 1985 Ivy League men's basketball title has shaped up.

Like virtually all had predicted at season's start. Penn. Harvard and Cornell are the front-runners in the quest for the coveted Ancient Eight crown.

Only half a game separates the first-place Quakers (6-1) from the Crimson and Big Red (both 6-2).

That means first place will be on the line when Penn and Harvard square off Friday night in Briggs Athletic Center in the first of the three pivotal showdowns.

The second crucial contest will take place the following weekend, when Cornell visits Cambridge for a meeting with the Harvard club it leveled last weekend.

Penn will then travel to Ithaca. N.Y. on the final weekend of the regular season for a confrontation with Cornell that's sure to go a long way in determining the Ivy titlist.

Just counting those three games. Harvard (14-4 overall) has the decided edge by playing its two crucial games at home. Cornell (12-8 overall) will play one of its two showdowns at home, while Penn (9-10 overall) will play both of its games with Harvard and Cornell on the road.

Looking at total games remaining. Harvard again has the edge. Overall, the Crimson will play four of its final six games at home, while Penn will be at home for just three of its remaining seven conests.