Getting Started: Men's Basketball Tips Off Season at George Mason Saturday

Getting Started: Men's Basketball Tips Off Season at George Mason Saturday

Christian Webster and the Crimson face George Mason Saturday at 4 p.m. (Mitchell Layton).

The Particulars
After posting the most wins in school history with 21 victories last season, Harvard will open its 100th season of play by visiting George Mason at the Patriot Center Saturday at 4 p.m.

Series History
The two programs have never met on the hardwood.
Last Time Out
Christian Webster hit six three-pointers to establish a career-high with 24 points, but the Crimson fell at Appalachian State in the opening round of the Tournament March 17, 2010.  Kyle Casey contributed 14 points, while Jeremy Lin '10 grabbed seven rebounds and added a dozen points.

George Mason's Last Time Out
The Patriots also earned a spot in the Tournament in 2010, falling at home in overtime to Fairfield, 101-96.  Andre Cornelius (9 of 13) led the team with 28 points, while Mike Morrison blocked six shots and netted 25 points. 

George Mason finished the year with a 17-15 overall mark and went 12-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association.  

Extending The Season
After going 21-7 during the regular season, including 10-4 in Ivy League play, Harvard earned a berth in the Tournament, marking the first time the Crimson qualified for the postseason since reaching the NCAA tournament in 1946.

Conference Records
Harvard is 36-15 all-time against current members of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Crimson boasts a 35-14 mark against local rival Northeastern, and is 1-1 in two contests vs. William & Mary. 

Preseason Prognostications 
After losing All-Ivy  and All-America guard Jeremy Lin to graduation and the professional ranks, Harvard was picked to finish  second in the Ivy League preseason media poll released Oct. 27. Harvard was picked to finish fourth in last year's preseason poll and placed third at the end of the season with a 10-4 conference mark.

Princeton was picked to win the league and received 12 first-place votes, while Harvard garnered four and Cornell one. 

2010-11 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll
1. Princeton– 128 points (12 first-place votes)
2. Harvard – 120 (4) 
3. Cornell – 96 (1)
4. Penn – 86
5. Yale – 57
6. Brown – 55
7. Columbia – 48
8. Dartmouth – 19

Head Coach Tommy Amaker
Tommy Amaker (Duke '87) begins his fourth season as head coach of the Harvard men's basketball team. He registered his 200th career coaching victory Nov. 13 in the 2009-10 season opener at Holy Cross.  Amaker guided Harvard to its first postseason appearance since 1946, as the Crimson competed in the Tournament last season.

He brings a 220-182 career head coaching record into today's game, including a 109-83 record at Michigan at a 68-55 record at Seton Hall. 

Amaker came to Harvard after a six-year stint as Michigan's head coach. Inheriting a program that was reeling from institutional and NCAA sanctions, he led the Wolverines to the postseason three times, winning the 2004 NIT title, reaching the championship game of the 2006 NIT, and advancing to the second round of the 2007 tournament. The 2006-07 season was Michigan's second straight 20-win campaign and its third in four years. The Wolverines were ranked as high as No. 20 in the nation during the 2005-06 season.

Preseason Honors
Kyle Casey
Ivy League (Athlon Sports)
Ivy League (Lindy's)
Ivy League (The Sporting News)
Ivy League (Blue Ribbon)
Ivy League second-team (

Brandyn Curry
Ivy League's Best Defender (Lindy's)

Laurent Rivard
Ivy League Newcomer of the Year (Lindy's)

Harvard in the NBA
Former Harvard guard and three-time All-Ivy League honoree Jeremy Lin '10 signed a professional contract with the Golden State Warriors in July.  

With his NBA debut against the Los Angeles Clippes Oct. 29, Lin became the first Ivy League player to to suit up for an NBA team since Penn's Matt Maloney played for the Atlanta Hawks and Yale's Chris Dudley was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003.  

With his first game for the Warriors, Lin  joins former Harvard standouts Saul Mariaschin '47 (Boston Celtics) and Edward Smith '51 (New York Knicks) as Crimson players who have seen time in the NBA.

Let's Get It Started
The Crimson is 63-36 all time in season openers, including 12-4 since the 1993-94 season. 

Oh Captain, My Captains
This is the second season since 1991-92 that Harvard has elected more than one captain for the men's basketball team. Juniors Oliver McNally and Keith Wright are the 111th and 112th captains in program history.
Sophomore Studs
Harvard's sophomore class combined to score nearly 31 of Harvard's 74.0 points per game while playing over 93 minutes per game (out of 200) last season as rookies. The freshman class shot an astounding 81 percent from the free throw line (244-301) with 193 assists, 49 blocks and 103 steals. 

Kyle Casey was named the league's top rookie by every publication and was also named the Ivy's 6th Man of the Year as well as all-freshman team by RTC. He was joined on the all-rookie team by Christian Webster and Brandyn Curry, giving Harvard three of the six mentions by first-year players. 

Junior Stars
The junior class, despite numerous injuries,  scored 18.3 points per game last season with Keith Wright owning a team-best 32 blocks and Oliver McNally boasting a gaudy assist-to-turnover ratio of 87-to-41. The class was rated a Top 25 recruiting class by ESPN two years ago.

Ivy League Look-In
Last year marked the first time in Ivy League history that three teams won 20+ games. Harvard and Cornell reached the marks first, becoming just the seventh duo to win 20 in a season. Princeton added to the list with a strong finish.
Winning Marks
With its win at Penn on March 5, 2010, Harvard set a program record with 21 victories. The old mark of 19 was set back in 1945-46. 

Fountain of Youth
The Crimson has just three upperclassmen on the roster this year – all of them juniors. Five sophomores as well as six freshmen join the juniors to make up the team that has no seniors. 

Harvard is the only school in the Ivy League with no seniors this season.

Winning When It Counts
Harvard amassed its most league victories in 2009-10 (10) since 1996-97 as well as the program's best mark for road/neutral victories with 10.

Season Sweeps
During last year's run to 10 conference victories Harvard recorded its first season sweep of Penn since 1942. 

Road Warriors
With its win at Penn on March 5, Harvard set a program record for road/neutral games in 2009-10 with 10. 

Give Me The Ball
When Harvard outrebounded opponents in 2009-10, the Crimson owned an impressive 16-2 record.

Nine Dimes
Brandyn Curry, Jeremy Lin '10 and Oliver McNally have all had nine-assist games last season.

Halftime Report
Going back to the 2004-05 season, Harvard is 63-15 when leading at halftime and 17-67 whentrailing a game at the break.  The Crimson was 19-1 when leading at the half last winter.

Five-Time Freeloaders
Harvard is one of just three schools nationally (Navy, Cal) to rank in the top 70 nationally in free throw percentage in each of the last five years. 

Geography 101
Harvard players hail from eight different states (California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginai), Washington, D.C., and one Canadian province (Quebec).

Geography 202
Three players on the Crimson roster call Massachusetts home: sophomores Kyle Casey (Medway)and Andrew Van Nest (Weston) and freshman Tom Hamel (Methuen).

In a homecoming game for sophomore Christian Webster, the Crimson will travel to the Washington, D.C. area twice this season.  Harvard plays at George Mason Nov. 13, and at George Washington Jan. 15.