Harvard Men's Basketball Hosts MIT in Opener Friday

Wesley Saunders and the Crimson open up against MIT Friday evening at 7 p.m. (Gil Talbot).

The Particulars
After reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1946 last season and establishing a new program record for wins, Harvard opens 2012-13 by hosting MIT at Lavietes Pavilion Friday evening at 7 p.m.

Harvard posted a 26-5 overall record (12-2 Ivy League) and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament after winning its second straight conference crown, while MIT went 29-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Game Coverage
Friday's game will be streamed online (with a subscription) on Charlie Hobbs and Brecka Fetzer will have the call.
Live statistics will also be available for the game at
Series History Against MIT
Harvard has won the last nine meetings between the schools and leads the all-time series by a 49-9 margin.
Last season, on Nov. 11, Harvard opened the year with a 76-49 win over the Engineers at Lavietes Pavilion. Laurent Rivard paced the Crimson with 16 points, while Keith Wright '12 and Oliver McNally '12 tallied 12 points apiece in the victory. Harvard made 8-of-21 3-pointers (.381), but MIT had an edge in rebounds, 31-23.
Harvard's Last Time Out
In Harvard's first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946, Laurent Rivard made 6-of-7 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, but the 12th-seeded Crimson fell to fifth-seeded Vanderbilt, 79-70, March 15. Harvard scored 47 points in the second half and got within five points, 70-65, with 1:51 remaining.
MIT's Last Time Out
In the Division III Final Four, MIT dropped a 71-56 decision to Wisconsin-Whitewater March 16. Will Tashman tallied 15 points, while Mitchell Kates (12), Billy Bender (11) and Noel Hollingsworth (10) also reached double figures in scoring.
Preseason Prognostications
In the Ivy League preseason media poll, Harvard was picked to finish second in the Ancient Eight.The Crimson received one first-place vote, earning 109 points, and trailed only Princeton (16 first-place votes) and 134 points in the preseason ranking.
Harvard, which was first last season, received first-place votes for only the fifth time in school history (2011-12, 2010-11, 1989-90 and 1988-89).
2012-13 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll
1. Princeton– 134 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Harvard– 109 (one first-place vote)
3.  Columbia–90 points
4.  Cornell– 80 points
5. Penn– 74 points
6. Yale– 55 points
7. Brown– 50 points
8. Dartmouth– 20 points

Scouting Harvard
Laurent Rivard is Harvard's leading returning scorer, averaging 10.1 points per game during his sophomore season. Rivard, who made 41.0 percent of his 3-point attempts last season (66-of-161), also shot 45.1 percent from the field overall (96-of-213). Steve Moundou-Missi (4.9 ppg), Christian Webster (4.5 ppg) and Wesley Saunders (3.3 ppg) also return as scoring threats.

Harvard ranked fourth in the nation last year in scoring defense, allowing only 55.6 points per contest. The Crimson stood 25th in free throw shooting (.747) and 45th in field goal percentage (.466).
Scouting MIT
The Engineers, who are ranked No. 1 in the Division III preseason poll, return much of their scoring from last year. Mitchell Kates averaged 14.2 points and 5.4 assists per game, while Noel Hollingsworth paced the squad with 17.2 ppg and 54 blocks.
Will Tashman, who led MIT with 9.6 rebounds per contest, scored 16 points in the game against the Crimson last season. MIT also returns Jamie Karraker, who hit a school record 111 3-point shots, while averaging 12.6 points per game.
Harvard Joining ESPN Marathon
As part of the 2012 ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, the Crimson will play at Massachusetts live on ESPN Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. Harvard and UMass are part of a 24-hour live marathon of college basketball on ESPN that day, featuring 11 games from across the country.

ESPN Marathon Schedule
12 a.m.: West Virginia at Gonzaga
2 a.m.:  Davidson at New Mexico
4 a.m.:  Houston Baptist at Hawaii
6 a.m.:  Stony Brook at Rider
8 a.m.:  Northern Illinois at Valparaiso
10 a.m.: Harvard at Massachusetts
12 p.m.: Temple at Kent State
2 p.m.:  Detroit at St. John's
4 p.m.:  Butler at Xavier
7 p.m.: Michigan State vs Kansas (Champions Classic, Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Ga.)
(Approx. 30 min. following MSU/KU):  Duke vs Kentucky (Champions Classic, Georgia Dome)

Preseason Honors
Agunwa Okolie
Ivy League Newcomer of the Year (
Laurent Rivard
All-Ivy League Team (
Best Shooter in the Ivy League (

Ivy Champion Harvard Crimson
For the second straight year and for the second time in school history, Harvard earned the Ivy League title in 2011-12. Harvard also tied the program record by winning 12 conference games.

RPI Watch
Harvard concluded the 2011-12 regular season No. 35 in the RPI, according to The Crimson earned the highest ranking in program history, No. 14, Dec. 2, 2011.

Back To 20
For the third straight year and the third time in program history, Harvard won 20 games in a season, boasting a 26-5 overall mark last season. The Crimson went 21-8 in 2009-10 and posted a 23-7 overall mark last season.
Harvard Goes Undefeated in Italy
Prior to the season, Harvard made a 10-day international training trip to Italy. The Crimson played four exhibition games, while visiting such cities as Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. Harvard went 4-0 on the trip, defeating Rieti, Bassano Basket, Pallacanestro Firenze and Paffoni Omegna.
Stepping Up On D
The Crimson allowed only 55.6 points per game last season, good for fourth in the nation in scoring defense. Harvard only allowed 70 points three times and surrendered 50 or less points in 11 games and less than 40 points twice.
All We Do Is Win
Last season, Harvard was one of only 40 schools in the nation with at least 26 victories.
On The Big Screen
The Crimson will play at least 14 games on national or regional television this season.
Harvard was 6-4 on TV last year and will face Massachusetts Nov. 13 (ESPN), Saint Joseph's Nov. 20 (NBC Sports), Vermont Nov. 27 (NBC Sports), Boston College Dec. 4 (ESPN3), Connecticut Dec. 7 (SNY), California Dec. 29 (Pac-12 Networks), Saint Mary's Dec. 31 (ESPN2), Memphis Jan. 19 (FSN), Dartmouth Jan. 26 (NBC Sports), Princeton Feb. 16 (NBC Sports), Yale Feb. 23 (CBS Sports), Princeton March 1 (ESPNU), Penn March 2 (NBC Sports) and Cornell March 9 (NBC Sports) on national television this season.
Casting Ballots
Last year, the Crimson became the first Ivy team ranked in the AP poll since Princeton was rated No. 8 in the final poll of the 1997-98 season. On Jan. 2, 2012, Harvard was No. 21 in the coaches poll and No. 22 in the AP poll, the highest rankings in program history. The Crimson matched the No. 21 ranking in the coaches poll Feb. 6.
Double-Double Show
Keith Wright led the Crimson with five double-doubles, while Kyle Casey and Jonah Travis recorded one apiece last year.
Harvard/Amaker Against MIT
The Crimson under Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker are 3-0 against the Engineers, with all three victories coming at Lavietes Pavilion.
Lavietes Is The Place To Be
Harvard enjoyed a 28-game win streak at home, a program record, between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012. The streak was the second longest in the country during that stretch, and Harvard finished 11-1 at home during season after going 14-0 at Lavietes Pavilion in 2010-11.