The Harvard Crimson will look to try to hold onto their first-ever national ranking when they travel to Commonwealth Avenue to take on the Terriers.
Event: Boston University Terriers (4-5) Vs. #24 Harvard Crimson (8-1)
Date/Time: Saturday December 10, 2010- 4 p.m. EDT.
Location: Agganis Arena (Capacity-7,200)-Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: The Boston rivalry will be available on NESN with Jon Rish joined by Abu Bakr on the call. A radio broadcast of the game will also be available on 1510 AM with Doug Brown and Brian Maurer on the call.
All-Time Series: Harvard leads the series between the two teams 34-27 despite the Terriers winning eight of the past 10 matchups. Tommy Amaker's contigent has won the past two years in a row, including an 87-71 shellacking of Boston University last year at Lavieties Arena.
Storylines: Two of the most successful programs in Boston as of late, will look to get back on track after losses in the middle of the week. Boston University failed to extend their winning streak to five Wednesday when their comeback bid came up short at St. Joseph's. The Terriers are looking for their first win against a ranked opponent since 1959 when the program beat Navy in the NCAA Tournament.
Thursday, Harvard dropped their first game of the season when they travelled to take on ninth-ranked UConn. The Crimson never were really in the game against the more athletic Huskies, trailing by double digits for much of the game before falling 67-53. This week is the first time that the Crimson have ever earned a national ranking.
Despite Darryl Partin being the number two scorer in the country at 23.9ppg, point guard D.J. Irving will be the key for the Terriers. The sophomore point guard has the one thing that Harvard is not equipped to defend-unbelievable speed. Irving will need to be aggressive in attacking the basket and taking the ball at the Harvard bigs, just as Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier did for UConn Thursday, if the Terriers are going to stick with the Crimson. In last season's loss to the Crimson, Partin and Irving combined for just 15 points but they'll need to be much better without having Jake O'Brien or John Holland as the top two options.
Tommy Amaker's squad comes into Saturday's game with one of the best mid-majors in the nation because of great balance. The Terriers saw that balance last season when six Crimson players finished in double figures led by Ivy League Player of the Year Keith Wright's 17 points. Wright and fellow big man Kyle Casey will likely give the Terriers frontcourt nightmares, with their prowess on the boards and their athleticism on both sides of the ball. The two forwards are the top two Harvard players in scoring and rebounding.
Prediction: Boston University has played extremely well over their past five games but without Holland, they don't neccessarily have a one-two scoring punch to keep up with a team like Harvard. The Crimson's defense is one of the best in the country and will likely force Partin into taking a high-number of difficult shots that could put the Terriers in a whole early. While the Terriers might not be as talented as last year, the game should be closer despite Harvard's marked improvement from a year ago.
Harvard 69, Boston University 58