Can Harvard Catch Cornell?

In our Ivy preview, we noted that Cornell was the heavy heavy favorite, but mentioned that Princeton and Harvard had chances to make things interesting. So far, it appears Harvard is making the most of that chance.

The Crimson, so far, have the best defense in the league and the 2nd best offense (although it is much worse than Cornell’s). In a rare down year for the league (traditional power Penn is 0-5; only 3 league teams are in the top 200 nationally), the title may come down to two games: January 30th when Harvard goes to Cornell, and February 19th when the Big Red make their return trip.

Harvard is led by Jeremy Lin, their only double digit point scorer. Lin has scored nearly a fourth of Harvard’s points thus far. He also has an eFG of 56.4%. The 6’3″ guard from Palo Alto is also rebounding well: His 14.7% defensive rebounding leads the team.

Harvard is the 5th best team from 2 in the country. That obviously won’t continue given that Harvard isn’t a very tall team. They are also only 245th from three. I think that will improve as well as the year goes on.

Harvard plays at a faster pace than Cornell, but given that Harvard is a much deeper team (the Crimson go 10 deep (twss)) they can afford to play faster.

Not to simplify it too much, but it really comes down to how well Ryan Whittman shoots in the two Harvard-Cornell games, and if the Big Red can guard Lin.

I still like the Big Red to win the Ivy, but Harvard should be right in their rearview mirror.

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