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Crimson Fever Sparks Speculation

Harvard climbs to 21/22 in the polls and speculation about their upcoming season abounds.

The student section watches Harvard at last year's Ivy League playoff game against Princeton in New Haven.
The student section watches Harvard at last year's Ivy League playoff game against Princeton in New Haven.
By Cayla C. Calderwood, Crimson Staff Writer

The newest round of AP and Coaches polls are out, and the Harvard men now sit at 22 in the AP and 21 in the Coaches. The Crimson climbed two positions in both polls since last week's voting.

As Harvard continues to claw its way up in the polls, a Crimson fever has begun to sweep across the country. Even in my hometown, all the way across the country in Washington State, a few people have chosen to pay a complement to our basketball team, rather than making a nerd joke, when they spot my Harvard t-shirt.

Speculation about what this team is capable of is filling sports columns all through the Northeast and the internet is abound with calculations trying to figure out how far the Crimson can go. As early as November, The Daily Pennsylvanian was discussing whether the 2011-2012 team might be the best in Ivy League history. The discussion opened up Tommy Amaker’s star squad to intense comparisons to the Penn 1979 Final Four team, and other Ivy League success stories. The verdict? Still open, and it seems like it will mostly depend on what Harvard can do this season, a question that is already being put run through mathematical simulations.

Big Apple Buckets ran 10,000 simulations trying to determine how Ivy League play will go this season. In their calculations Harvard won the title outright 8,756 times and at least shared it 9,508 times. Their closest competitor was Princeton, who only won 177 outright titles out of the 10,000 trials.

And even these odds aren’t good enough for some Crimson fans, one fan tweeted that the odds should be reexamined through the Bayesian method to account for their consistency. He claimed that when this simulation was run, Harvard won outright in 97-98% of the trials and at least shared the title 99.8% of the time.

But this is the type of question that cannot be answered definitively through mathematics beforehand. And Crimson fans are just going to have to wait for January 7th when Harvard opens Ivy play by welcoming Dartmouth to Lavietes Pavilion, where they are on a 21 game winning streak.

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