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Among all the Ivies, Yale and Brown, at least in my mind, are Harvard’s neighbors. The three New England universities live on the same road, I-95, and the green quads of each punctuate semi-urban communities.
The Bears did the Crimson a big favor last weekend by beating league-leading Princeton, and perhaps the neighborly thing to do would be to show Brown some gratitude. But I won’t, because in my experience, neighbors are rarely neighborly.
Sure, there might be Christmas cards. There might be baskets of fruit. But secretly every person is waiting for a neighbor’s dog to take a steamer on his lawn so that he can let his neighbor have it.
I’ve only had a few neighbors in my life, but each has been a disappointment.
When I was little, our neighbor Jay yelled at me when he caught me throwing fistfuls of mud at my family’s car. MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS, JAY. Fat Lynn lives next door to us now. She just smokes butts on her stoop while giving us the hairy eyeball and daring us to judge her. Here at school, there’s an anonymous student next door who keeps calling HUPD to shut down our parties. Please stop.
To be honest, I’m just as bad a neighbor as anyone. A couple years ago, I accidentally stumbled into my neighbors’ room and yakked all over their bathroom. Sorry girls, I was just being “neighborly.”
Robert Frost put it best: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Maybe from afar, I can appreciate the Bears for handing the Tigers their first league loss. I might have even toasted to them several times last Saturday night. But as their neighbor, I cannot thank them because I know this week Brown will try leave a proverbial turd in Harvard’s punch bowl. The same sentiment holds for Yale. Even more so.
So as the Crimson embarks on its final road trip of the regular season, I hope that Harvard does the “neighborly” thing to the Bears and Bulldogs and embarrasses them on their home front. I can tolerate our neighbors at a comfortable distance, but, when offense and defense are the only “fences,” all congenial feelings fall by the wayside.
HARVARD (20-4, 9-1 Ivy) at Brown (10-14, 3-7 Ivy)
On a couple occasions, I’ve played basketball with Paul Krasinski, the older, less-dashing brother of John Krasinksi, who plays Jim Halpert on “The Office.” The only part of those sloppy pick-up runs relevant to this game is that Paul played for Brown in the late 90s. And given his tangential relationship to “The Office,” I think it’s fitting to declare the Bears the Scranton branch of the Ivy League.
Brown obviously has a couple pieces missing—namely, in and around the paint—but this ragtag bunch has managed to compete with the best, putting a scare in the Crimson and taking down Princeton. And given the mustard-yellow shirt that Bears coach Jesse Agel wore at Lavietes as well as Providence’s own civic decline, I think the Scranton comparison is apt.
As far as tonight goes, I doubt this game will have the drama of its predecessor. Brown forward Peter Sullivan is back after missing the last game against Harvard, and he should supply a much needed post presence. But the Crimson is coming off a weekend during which it was firing on all cylinders. I expect its success to continue.
Pick: Harvard 77, Brown 68
CORNELL (7-17, 3-7 Ivy) at PRINCETON (20-5, 8-1 Ivy)
Every week, it seemed the Tigers were able to eke out a one-possession win, so I was pretty confident the other shoe would drop and some team would eventually beat them. I just didn’t think that team would be Princeton, itself.
Against the Bears last Saturday, the Tigers shot four-of-21 from three and 21-of-55 from the field. They were also one-for-one at shooting themselves in the foot. I’m going to chalk up Princeton’s loss to having an off night as much as a solid Brown effort, and I predict that they right the ship tonight.
Pick: Princeton 74, Cornell 63
COLUMBIA (14-10, 5-5 Ivy) at PENN (11-12, 5-4 Ivy)
This time last week, I was jumping off the Quakers’ bandwagon as their Ivy title hopes went down in flames Hindenburg-style. But last weekend, Penn showed a little pep, winning two tough road games in Providence and New Haven. Tonight, the Quakers have a shot at winning pole position in the race for second runner-up in the conference. It’s small consolation, I’m sure, for seniors Jack Eggleston and Tyler Bernardini, who will retire without hanging any banners, but it’s a carrot nonetheless.
With that in mind, I like Penn for the win at home.
Pick: Penn 71, Columbia 66
DARTMOUTH (5-19, 1-9 Ivy) at YALE (12-12, 5-5 Ivy)
You can’t compete in the Ivy League if you don’t win on your home court, and Yale dropped the ball last weekend by losing a pair at the Amphitheater. Instead of sitting at 7-3, the Bulldogs are middling at 5-5, with no real hope of extending their season beyond March 5. At least they have Dartmouth coming to town. Yale should win in a landslide.
Pick: Yale 68, Dartmouth 56
COLUMBIA at PRINCETON
Columbia was electric last Saturday with Harvard visiting. Levien was packed with students getting fratty on Greek Night. Unfortunately, they deserved a better game. The Crimson cruised for the full 40 minutes, so the Lions’ faithful directed most of its attention towards chanting the names of Sigma Chi brothers.
Columbia’s road does not get any easier, as, after facing Penn, it squares off against Princeton tomorrow. The Tigers won, 76-46, in their first meeting, and I don’t see why tomorrow’s result should be any different.
Pick: Princeton 75, Columbia 61
CORNELL at PENN
In Ithaca late last Friday night, I went to the Hot Truck, and thoroughly enjoyed my “Double Sui.” It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me that at Cornell—the coldest campus in the Ivies—students need to wait outside for their late night munchies, but at least the food was good. The Big Red might not have the worst cuisine in the league after all. Outside of Dartmouth, though, it might have the worst team. Penn should get a measure of revenge for its loss at Cornell earlier this year.
Pick: Penn 72, Cornell 67
DARTMOUTH at BROWN
This game is like reading for Tangible Things. It doesn’t matter.
Pick: Brown 68, Dartmouth 60
HARVARD at YALE
This game looms as Harvard’s biggest challenge until its final contest against Princeton. If the Crimson can clear this hurdle, it will be poised for a truly epic final weekend at home. I’m willing it to happen with this pick.
Pick: Harvard 69, Yale 66
RECORD LAST WEEK: 5-3 (To date: 24-9)
—Staff writer Timothy J. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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