Perhaps he was speaking for the campus, perhaps he was referring to the internal mindset of the team; either way, it's difficult to challenge the words spoken by men's basketball team captain Mike Scott: "No one expected us to be anything but 3-0."
It seems success has a way of spoiling us all, and the fall season was spectacular for Harvard athletics. The women's basketball team is the preseason favorite to repeat as Ivy League champions, and after the football and soccer heroics of the season past, the men's basketball team is fighting to carry forward the momentum this year's Crimson athletic program is generating.
Coming off a last minute 65-64 road victory over a pesky Lehigh squad last Saturday night, the Crimson is looking toward tonight's contest with Army at Lavietes Pavilion. Thus far, the Crimson has posted a perfect 3-0 record, but it makes no mistake about the physically taxing game it expects from the Cadets.
"We're definitely expecting a banging, bruising, blue-collar-type game," Scott said. "They're not especially big or quick, but they're very physical and strong fundamentally."
Featuring an excellent backcourt composed of freshmen guards Babe Kwasniak and All-Patriot League candidate George Tatum, the Cadets are expected to play a slow-tempo, half-court game. Running an uncomplicated offense and defense, Army will hope to exploit its physical strength, as well as its excellent mental preparedness.
"It will definitely be a great challenge, and one we're looking forward to," junior guard Tim Hill said. "We feel we match up well with them, and we're confident we can play our game against them."
While the Crimson expects the Cadets to try and slow things down, Harvard will definitely push the ball when the opportunity presents itself, hoping to capitalize on its superior quickness. Harvard will seek to set the tone out of the gates and define the tempo of the game, likely a little faster than Army would like.
"It's not going to look like Kentucky-Arizona out there," Scott said. "But we'll be looking to push the tempo when we can."
Though Harvard is 3-0, the team definitely feels it has yet to play up to its potential. Coming off of a pair of "ugly wins," according to Scott, the team is hoping to execute more crisply as it continues to gel as a unit.
With five of its next seven games at home, including the team's first Ivy League contest against Dartmouth on Dec. 16, this is a crucial stretch in the season during which Harvard hopes to improve its team play at both ends of the floor.
"There's definitely room to improve our play," Hill said. "We didn't shoot so well against Lehigh, but by the time the Ivy season rolls around, I'm confident we'll be a lot crisper in our execution."
"We're looking to grow as a team at both ends of the floor," Scott added. "Army will be a good test to see how far we've come and how far we have left to go."
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