When the Harvard men’s basketball team squares off with No. 4 UConn on Wednesday, it will, of course, be a huge underdog; Ivy League squads playing against power conference teams often are.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Just last Saturday, the Yale women’s basketball team upset No. 14 Florida State, 91-85, in New Haven.
Although this win marked the only win by an Ancient Eight basketball team over a top 25 program in 11 tries this season, Ivy schools have been competitive in some of those 10 losses. Most notably, the Cornell men lost at then-No. 13 Minnesota by just five points, 71-66, while the Princeton women dropped a contest at then-No. 22 Vanderbilt by a six-point margin, 74-68.
The Crimson men have other reasons to be optimistic. The next game on the Huskies’ schedule after Wednesday’s contest is a road game at No. 6 Pittsburgh, Connecticut’s biggest game since last month’s Maui Invitational. If Harvard can catch the Huskies looking ahead, it has a shot to replicate last year’s close contest, a game Connecticut won by a slim 79-73 margin.
That may have been exactly what the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of on Saturday. The Seminoles square off with No. 1 Connecticut tomorrow—a game that could have historic ramifications. A win would be the 89th straight for the Lady Huskies, breaking the all-time NCAA record held by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s program.
But of course, Harvard’s recent success against top programs—it beat then-No. 24 Boston College two seasons ago and has already toppled a power-conference school this year in Pac-10 team Colorado—means that the Huskies likely have Harvard very much on their radar.