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Harvard Vs. Utah: Crimson Look To Beat Up on Utes

Event: Harvard Crimson (3-0) Vs. Utah Utes (1-2)

Date/Time: Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2011)-9:30 p.m. EDT.

Location: Imperial Arena at the Atlatic Resort (Capacity: 4,500), Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Broadcast Info: Thursday' night's first round game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament will be broadcast on HDNet nationally. Kenny Rice, Wayne Chapman and Tom Walsh will have all the coverage on HDNet. ESPN Radio 700AM in Utah will have a radio broadcast for the game and the audio can be found on the Utah website.

All-Time Series: It's been awhile since these two teams have faced off with Utah holding the lone win 89-78 in the 1975-76 season. Harvard has struggled mightily against PAC 12 conference members with a 1-19 record against current members.

Last Time Out: Laurent Rivard came off the bench to lead the Crimson with 20 points and Harvard came away with a 77-67 road victory against Loyola-Marymount. Despite trailing by as many as 13, the Crimson wore down Loyola-Marymount with an 18 rebound advantage and 50 percent shooting from the field.

Josh Watkins led all scorers with 22 points but the Utes fell for the second game in a row. Montana State shot 51.7 percent and got to the line 25 times in a 70-64 win over Utah. Jason Washburn finished a rebound shy of a double-double and two other Utes finished in double-figures in the loss.

Statistical Leaders: Keith Wright has been the man for the Crimson the past two seasons and leads Harvard in scoring (14.3 points per game) and rebounding (6.7 per). Co-captain Oliver McNally and Brandyn Curry both average a team-high four assists per game.

Josh Watkins in the sole player averaging double-figures for an anemic Utes offense at 21.3 points per game. Watkins also leads the team in assists (4.6 per game) and turnovers (5 per game) for an offense that averages 60 points per game. Jason Washburn is a standout in the paint averaging 8.3 rebounds per game.

Storyline: Harvard comes into the tournament as one of three teams given any chance of making the tournament final, Utah comes in licking their wounds and wondering how difficult this season will be.

Tommy Amaker eagerly scheduled the Crimson for this tournament in hopes that they would be facing stiff competition and season some of the team's six freshmen. Harvard's in the midst of six straight road games and wants to prove that they're even better than last year's team that won a share of the Ivy League title.

Utah's in their first year of the PAC-12 but are 1-2 this year with their only win coming against a NAIA member. The Utes are relatively young with five true freshmen and have a lot to work on before they can compete. Defensively the team has struggled forcing just 21 turnovers and letting opponents shoot over 45 percent.

Players To Watch: Keith Wright is the face of this Harvard program and will get to shine on national TV for the next three days. He hasn't been tested yet down low and will face his first challenge of the weekend in Jason Washburn. Look for Wright to take it hard to the basket and be aggressive throughout the night.

Josh Watkins is really the only player of merit thus far for the Utes. Watkins has scored a third of the team's points, leads the team in assists and is their best 3-point threat. He'll have to face double-teams and the Crimson's best defender all night long.

Prediction: Harvard won't look over the Utes but this is much more of a tune-up for the Crimson as they prepare for a likely date with Florida State.

Harvard 73, Utah 56