In advance of tonight’s men’s basketball game against Harvard, we sent a few questions over to the Harvard Crimson’s basketball reporter and Sports Chair, Martin Kessler, to see what the Bulldogs can expect to see after tipoff.
1) What can Yale expect from Harvard tomorrow?
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker often talks about playing inside-out. The Crimson likes to establish forwards Kyle Casey and Keith Wright in the post early, and then kick it out to its shooters on the perimeter. But with Greg Mangano and Jeremiah Kreisberg patrolling the paint, it will be difficult for Harvard’s bigs to have their way. This means that a heavy burden will fall on the shoulders of wings Laurent Rivard, Christian Webster, and Oliver McNally. When they are hitting their shots, the Crimson is tough to beat. But when the shots aren’t falling (as was the case in the game at Fordham), Harvard is vulnerable to lose to any team, especially a talented team like Yale.
2) Is Keith Wright a legitimate threat to repeat as Ivy League Player of the Year?
Unless Wright starts averaging 20 and 10 the rest of the way, the answer is no (though I’d love to see Mangano’s reaction if he did). Wright’s role as the Crimson’s most important player hasn’t changed, but his numbers are down this year. With the addition of rookie forwards Steve Moundou-Missi and Jonah Travis, Harvard is much deeper down low resulting in fewer opportunities for Wright. Also, many of Harvard’s opponents have been keying in on Wright defensively, sending a number of 2-3 zones at the Crimson.
3) Who’s the unsung hero for the Crimson squad?
Oliver McNally may not put up jaw-dropping stats, but the co-captain’s importance to the Crimson should not be understated. McNally is Harvard’s vocal leader. When Harvard trailed St. Joseph’s at the half earlier this season, it was McNally who got the team fired up in the locker room. He can also knock down some threes, and when he does, he’ll let opposing fans know.
4) Can you please bring me a burger and s’mores malt from Mr. Bartley’s? (Post-game Wenzels on me)
This doesn’t sound like a fair exchange. Maybe if you throw in one of those steering wheel club things so my car doesn’t get stolen tomorrow night, I’ll consider it.
5) Now that any Harvard coach with any hope of a bright future in football has sought refuge in the friendly confines of the Yale Bowl, do you think that y’all will be able to keep up this streak of luck (and occasional blow-outs)?
As long as you don’t start stealing players, I think Harvard will be OK. Actually, I probably shouldn’t give you any ideas.
6) What is one thing that Harvard MUST do to beat Yale Friday?
Take out Mangano’s kneecaps. Or stay out of foul trouble.
7) Final score prediction:
I’m expecting this one to go down to the wire. The last two times that happened at John J. Lee, things didn’t turn out so well for the Crimson. But it’s a new year, and Friday night will be different. My prediction: 68-65 Harvard.