Posted by Graham Simpson on January 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm
The Harvard basketball team started 2011 off the right way with a 78-69 upset victory over Boston College. This marked the third year in a row that Harvard has defeated the Boston area rivals. With these three straight upsets and a 9-0 record against Massachusetts teams over the last two seasons, one could certainly make a case that Harvard has been playing the best college basketball in the state.
Unlike the last two years, Harvard pulled off this victory without previous seasons’ superstar, Jeremy Lin. The hero of this upset was Laurent Rivard, a highly touted freshman recruit from Quebec. He led both teams in scoring with 23 points. Various Crimson players have stepped up this season, making this team a strong candidate for best in the Ivy League.
Unlike every other Division I league (of course, we had to be different), the Ivy League has no playoffs, so the league champion is the team with the best regular season conference record. That league champion, of course, secures a spot in the NCAA Tournament, “March Madness.” Cornell has won the Ivy League three seasons in a row, including last year, when they had a remarkable run to the Sweet 16, but after losing their coach (to Boston College, as coincidence will have it) and four of their five starters, they look hard-pressed to repeat. Instead, Harvard and Princeton look like the two favorites to end up on top of the league for 2011.
The Crimson have looked strong through non-conference play, posting a 10-3 record including a 7-0 record at home. Harvard has its first Ivy League game this Saturday at Dartmouth. They then have a final non-conference game at George Washington before returning to Cambridge to kick conference play into full force with a 2:00 p.m. home game on January 22, against Dartmouth again, in Lavietes Pavilion, when much of the student body will be arriving back on campus.