Hitting the Hardwood: Harvard Men's Basketball Opens 2011-12 Campaign by Hosting MIT Friday

Oliver McNally and the Crimson welcome MIT to Lavietes for a 7 p.m. tipoff Friday (Stephen Slade).

The Particulars
After winning the first Ivy League title in school history and claiming a program record 23 victories last season, Harvard opens 2011-12 by hosting MIT at Lavietes Pavilion.

Hometown Heros
All active and retired military receive FREE admission with a valid military I.D.  Contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 617-495-2211 or show your I.D. at the door.

Community Night
Residents of Cambridge, Allston and Brighton receive FREE admission with a valid I.D. or proof of residency. Contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 617-495-2211 or show your I.D. at the door.

Follow From Home
Live, pay-per-view video and free live statistics from all home games will be on Scott Reed and James Yoon will have the call.

Series History
Harvard has won the last  eight meetings between the schools and leads the all-time series by a 48-9 margin. Last season on Dec. 31, Laurent Rivard led the Crimson with 17 points, while Kyle Casey and Keith Wright each scored 15 to lead the Crimson to an 84-58 victory at Lavietes Pavilion. Wright also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, while Oliver McNally and Christian Webster contributed 12 points apiece.
Conference Records
The Crimson was 2-0 against the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference last season, having downed WPI and MIT. The Crimson is 87-24 all-time against current members of the NEWMAC.
Preseason Prognostications
For the first time in school history, Harvard was picked to win the Ivy League in the preseason conference poll. The Crimson received 16 of 17 possible first-place votes, earning 135 points.
Harvard, which was picked second last season, received first-place votes for only the fourth time in school history (2010-11, 1989-90 and 1988-89).
2011-12 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll
1. Harvard– 135 points (16 first-place votes)
2.  Yale– 103 (one first-place vote)
     Princeton– 103
4.  Penn–90
5.  Brown– 62
6.  Cornell– 52
7.  Columbia– 50
8.  Dartmouth– 17
Postseason Play
For the second straight year, and third time overall, Harvard earned a postseason tournament bid last season. In 1946, the Crimson qualified for the NCAA tournament and returned to the postseason in 2010, playing in the Tournament. Last year, Harvard earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the first time in program history.
Wright Among Wooden Preseason Top 50
Senior co-captain Keith Wright was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List Oct. 3. Wright, who was the only player from the Ivy League honored, garnered AP and Lou Henson All-America accolades as a junior last season.
Welcome Back
Harvard returns all five starters (Brandyn Curry, Oliver McNally, Christian Webster, Kyle Casey and Keith Wright) and 12 players overall from last season's Ivy League championship team.
Head Coach Tommy Amaker
Tommy Amaker (Duke '87) is in his fifth 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 has guided Harvard to its first Ivy League title as well as the program's first appearance in the NIT. In addition, the Crimson established a program record with 23 victories in 2011-12.
He brings a 243-189 career head coaching record into today's game, including a 66-51 mark at Harvard, a 109-83 record at Michigan and a 68-55 record at Seton Hall.
Lavietes Is The Place To Be
Harvard is riding a 17-game win streak at home, a program record. The current win streak at home is the longest for Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion and is tied with North Carolina and Purdue for the 10th longest current streak in the NCAA. With a 14-0 home record in 2010-11, Harvard has established a new record for home victories in a season, surpassing 11 wins at Lavietes during the 2009-10 campaign. The 1937-38 Crimson finished the season 10-0 at home.
Last Time Out
The Crimson competed in the NIT for the first time in school history, but fell at Oklahoma State, 71-54, March 15. Kyle Casey led Harvard with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Keith Wright and Laurent Rivard contributed 10 points each. Brandyn Curry added six assists in a losing effort.
MIT's Last Time Out
In the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament, the Engineers were defeated, 82-60, by Rochester March 5. Three MIT players reached double digits in scoring: Will Tashman (16), Eric Zuk (15) and Mitchell Kates (14). The Engineers defeated Ithaca, 82-78, in the first round of the tournament the previous day.
Casting Ballots
For the fourth straight season and fifth time in seven years, Harvard received a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 poll Oct. 28.
Harvard is the only Ivy League team to have received a vote in a major national poll this season.

Ivy Champion Harvard Crimson
For the first time in school history, Harvard earned at least a share of the Ivy League title, as the Crimson topped Princeton, 79-67, March 5. Harvard also established a new program record for conference wins in a season with 12, surpassing the 1970-71 team that went 11-3.

Keith Wright, Ivy Player of the Year
Keith Wright was honored as the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2011, becoming the second Harvard player to take home the award (Joe Carrabino '84-85 in 1983-84). Wright was second in the Ivy League with 14.8 points per game and ranked third in the league with 8.3 rebounds per contest. He also paced the league in shooting percentage (.584).
Wright was also a unanimous pick to the All-Ivy first team, while Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry earned spots on the second team and Christian Webster received honorable mention.
Battle 4 Atlantis
During Thanksgiving weekend, Harvard will participate in the prestigious Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at the Bahamas Nov. 24-26. Connecticut, the defending NCAA champion, Florida State, Central Florida, Utah, the College of Charleston,  Massachusetts and UNC Asheville will join the Crimson at the tournament. Harvard will meet Utah in the opening round Nov. 24 and will face either Massachusetts or Florida State in the second round.
New Victory Mark
With its 23 victories last season, Harvard established a new program record for wins. The previous mark was set in 2009-10, when the Crimson finished 21-8 overall.
RPI Watch
Harvard appeared 35th in the final NCAA Rating Percentage Index last season, the highest mark of any school that did not earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. The Crimson also had the highest RPI in the Ivy League, five spots ahead of conference rival Princeton (40).
20 In The Victory Column
For the second time in as many seasons and for just the second time in school history, Harvard  reached the 20-win plateau, owning a 23-7 record (12-2 Ivy) in 2010-11. During 2009-10, the Crimson finished 21-8 overall and 10-4 in the Ivy League.

Co-Captain Tandem
For the second straight season, Oliver McNally and Keith Wright will serve as co-captains of the Crimson becoming the 113th and 114th captains in Harvard men's basketball history. McNally and Wright are the first players to serve as captains in consecutive seasons since Jason Norman '05 in 2004-05.

Preseason Honors
Kyle Casey
- Ivy Player of the Year (CBS Sports)
- All-Ivy First Team (CBS Sports)
- All-Ivy Second Team (College Sports Madness)
- All-Ivy Second Team (Lindy's)
- All-Ivy Second Team (Rivals)

Brandyn Curry
- All-Ivy Second Team (College Sports Madness)
- All-Ivy Second Team (Rivals)
Christian Webster
- All-Ivy Fourth Team (College Sports Madness)
Keith Wright
- Wooden Award Preseason Top 50
- Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team
- Ivy Player of the Year (Athlon)
- All-Ivy First Team (Athlon)
- All-Ivy First Team (CBS Sports)
- All-Ivy Team (CollegeHoopsNet)
- Mid-Major All-America Second Team (College Sports Madness)
- All-Ivy First Team (College Sports Madness)
- All-Ivy First Team (Lindy's)
- Ivy Player of the Year (Rivals)
- All-Ivy First Team (Rivals)
Making The Most Of It
Last season, the Crimson ranked second in the nation as a team with an 80.8 percent success rate from the charity stripe (just behind Wisconsin's 81.8 shooting percentage). Harvard owns the NCAA record for team free-throw percentage for a season (82.2 percent in 1983-84)
Oliver McNally stood second in the country in free-throw shooting (100-of-108, .926), while Christian Webster was 12th (109-of-121, .901). With his performance last year, McNally established a new Harvard program record for free-throw shooting in a season, surpassing Jeff Grate '68 (50-of-55, .909 in 1966-67)
Getting It Done Everywhere
In 2010-11, Brandyn Curry led Harvard and the Ivy League with 5.9 assists per game, paced the Crimson with 38 steals, was third on the team with 3.8 rebounds per contest and was sixth with 9.3 points per game. Curry also led Harvard with 1,017 minutes played, or 33.9 minutes per contest, and was one of only three players to have started all 30 games last season (Keith Wright, Oliver McNally).
Curry's 191 assists last year rank second most in program history  with Glen Fine '78 (1975-76).
Kings of Massachusetts' Courts
Harvard played and defeated five teams from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts last season: Holy Cross, WPI, Boston University, MIT and Boston College.
The Crimson will face MIT, Holy Cross, Boston University and Boston College, and perhaps, Massachusetts at the Battle 4 Atlantis, this year.
The Crimson is currently on a 10-game winning streak against schools from Massachusetts since falling to Northeastern in overtime, 76-71, Dec. 10, 2008, including three straight wins over BC.
Harvard Against the BCS
The Crimson is scheduled to play three BCS opponents this season (vs. Utah at Battle 4 Atlantis Nov. 24, at Connecticut Dec. 8 and at Boston College Dec. 29). Harvard could also face Florida State and UConn, a second time, at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. Harvard was 2-3 against the BCS last year, defeating Boston College for the third straight time and downing Colorado.
Harvard owns a 5-8 record against BCS conferences under Tommy Amaker. The Crimson has defeated BC three times and topped Michigan and Colorado during Amaker's tenure.

Class Reunions
Several Harvard players were members of the same high school teams. Andrew Van Nest, Laurent Rivard and Matt Brown were all teammates at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts.

Ugo Okam and Steve Moundou-Missi were high school teammates at Montverde Academy in Florida.

New Wave
The Crimson and head coach Tommy Amaker added seven newcomers for the upcoming campaign. Freshmen Max HooperCorbin Miller, Steve Moundou-Missi, Alex NesbittWesley SaundersKenyatta Smith and Jonah Travis will join Harvard for the 2011-12 campaign.

Rejection List
With his 54 blocks last season, Keith Wright now ranks fourth in program history with 106 rejections. Brian Cusworth '07 holds the Harvard record with 147 career blocks. Wright's 54 blocks last year also stand second in Harvard history for a single season. Brian Banks '78 had 59 rejections during the 1977-78 campaign.

Feeling It From Long Range
At least one Harvard player made at least two 3-pointers in 27 of 30 games last season. 

Harvard in the NBA
With his NBA debut against the Los Angeles Clippers Oct. 29, 2010, former Harvard guard and three-time All-Ivy League honoree and current Golden State Warrior Jeremy 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. 
Lin  joined 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. During his first season in the NBA, Lin played in 29 games, averaging 2.6 points per game and 1.4 assists per contest.