Friday, February 3, 2012

The Sports Network Predicts Cornell at Harvard

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, February 3rd, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195) -- Cambridge, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Cornell 7-2, Harvard 6-0. Away Record: Cornell 0-9, Harvard 9-2. Neutral Record: Cornell 0-0, Harvard 3-0. Conference Record: Cornell 2-2, Harvard 4-0. Series Record: Cornell leads, 90-70.

GAME NOTES: The Harvard Crimson try to extend their winning streak to seven games when they host the Cornell Big Red in an Ivy League showdown tonight at Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge.

Though Cornell's overall season has been a disappointment so far, it has started to turn things around of late. The Big Red have won three of their last five games and are coming off a 65-60 win over Columbia last Saturday.

Harvard has been the most impressive team in the Ivy League this season, winning all but two of its 20 games thus far. The Crimson won their sixth straight game last Saturday in a 68-59 decision over Brown, and they currently sport a 4-0 mark in Ivy League play.

Cornell leads the storied series with Harvard, 90-70, but the Crimson won both meetings last season.

Cornell's defense led the way to victory against Columbia last weekend. Though the Big Red only shot 41.5 percent from the field, they allowed the Lions to connect on just 36.5 percent of their total shots and only 18.2 percent of their three-point attempts. Chris Wroblewski filled up the stat sheet for Cornell in the win, making good on 5-of-8 field goal tries and 4-of-6 long- range attempts for 19 points, while also tallying seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Wroblewski, who earlier this season became the 24th player in school history to record 1,000 points, averages 9.9 ppg and is third in the Ivy League in assists with 5.4 apg. The senior co-captain has been far- from-efficient this year however, shooting poorly from the floor overall (.311) and three-point range (.284). Drew Ferry is the Big Red's leading scorer, netting 12.2 ppg, and he is one of the nation's best from beyond the arc, draining 3.2 threes per game at a 42 percent clip. Shonn Miller adds 9.2 ppg, a team-leading 6.3 rpg and 1.8 bpg to the mix.

Playing with their backs to the basket has been the Crimson's strength this season, as they possess one of the nation's best scoring defenses (53.4 ppg) and they haven't allowed an opponent to score more than 70 points yet this year. Harvard stifled Brown in its latest test, allowing the Bears just 37 percent field goal efficiency -- holding an opponent under 61 points for the seventh straight game. Harvard's offense is no slouch, ranking third in the Ivy League in scoring (65.8 ppg), and the team shot 48.9 percent from the floor against Brown. Kyle Casey scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Crimson in that clash, and he leads the team in scoring on the season (11 ppg). Keith Wright nets 10.6 ppg and is second in the league in both rebounding (7.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.588). Laurent also averages 10.6 ppg and connects on 2.4 three-pointers per game at a 41.6 percent clip. Harvard leads the Ivy League in both field goal percentage (.466) and free- throw percentage (.746).

Though Cornell has been playing better of late, it's hard to imagine any Ivy League team toppling Harvard at this point, especially on its home floor.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 63, Cornell 48

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