(25) Harvard (8-1) at Boston University (4-5)
Saturday, December 10th, 4:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Agganis Arena (7,200) -- Boston, Massachusetts. Television: NESN. Home Record: Harvard 2-0, Boston U 1-1. Away Record: Harvard 3-1, Boston U 2-3. Neutral Record: Harvard 3-0, Boston U 1-1. Conference Record: Harvard 0-0, Boston U 0-0. Series Record: Harvard leads, 34-27.
GAME NOTES: Nationally ranked for the first time in program history, No. 25 Harvard makes the short trek to Agganis Arena for a non-conference matchup with the Boston University Terriers.
Harvard got off to an 8-0 start for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign, and standing in the way of a ninth consecutive win was defending national champ UConn on Thursday. Unfortunately for the Crimson, they weren't able to get the job done at the offensive end in a 67-53 road loss. Still, today's game seems much more winnable for Harvard, which is considered the favorite in the Ivy League this year.
Boston University is in search of its first win over a ranked opponent since 1959 and is hosting its first ranked foe since 2003. The Terriers enter this tilt with a 4-5 overall record and had a four-game win streak halted on Wednesday in a 75-68 loss to Saint Joseph's.
The Crimson own a 34-27 advantage in the all-time series with the Terriers, including wins in the last two meetings.
Kyle Casey was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for Harvard on Thursday against UConn, as he netted 12 points in 33 minutes of action. The Crimson were limited to 36 percent shooting from the field, including 7-of-21 from three-point range, and they were outrebounded by a 35-28 margin. Harvard trailed by only two points at intermission before being clearly outplayed over the final 20 minutes. Overall this season, the Crimson are netting a mediocre 66.0 ppg, but they have clearly excelled at the defensive end of the court, holding foes to 55.8 ppg on 42.4 percent shooting from the floor. Keith Wright paces Harvard with 11.1 ppg and 6.6 rpg, while Casey is close behind in scoring with his 11.0 ppg.
Darryl Partin has been a force for Boston University so far this season, as he ranks among the national leaders with 23.9 ppg. Partin gets some help from D.J. Irving who checks in with 13.8 ppg, and Irving has already handed out 47 assists to go along with 14 steals. The Terriers are netting 66.9 ppg, slightly less than the 69.6 ppg that they are permitting. In the seven-point loss to Saint Joseph's, Partin hit his average with 24 points in 37 minutes of action, while Irving pitched in 13 points and five assists. As for Travis Robinson, he posted 12 points in the setback. The Terriers shot just 37.3 percent from the field in that affair and permitted the Hawks to make good on 50 percent of their shots. BU also had five more turnovers than its foes, overshadowing a 42-26 rebounding advantage.
Expect Harvard to bounce back strong from its first loss of the season and beat BU, though the Terriers do figure to keep things competitive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 69, Boston University 60
12/10 10:38:57 ET