Game Preview: Cornell at Harvard

Finding a way to stop Brandyn Curry and forcing him into tough shots will be vital for the Big Red if they want to hang with Harvard Friday night in Cambridge. (Photo Credit: thecrimson.com)

Top of the league, Top 25, Top Dog. Inconsistent, inexperienced, at times, inexplicable. A year removed from a 21-point drubbing in Cambridge, this weekend’s rematch seems, on paper, to be played out.

The Red have no inside game to speak of while Harvard is the league leader in blocked shots and among the best in rebounding as well. Cornell’s rotation includes five freshmen (in terms of eligibility) while Harvard’s entire starting lineup from last season has returned to push around Ancient Eight foes. The Red has yet to win a game on the road, the Crimson has yet to lose a game at home.

Few have been able to find a game plan to challenge Harvard this season, but Fordham may have laid out the best possible option. Heat up from three, force Brandyn Curry to be the scorer instead of the distributer, challenge Laurent Rivard beyond the arc, force turnovers. At it’s best, the Red has the ability to do all four. But at it’s worst, Cornell could be out of contention before wilhoutsslot the break.

Matchups to Watch

Shonn vs. Kyle Casey and Keith Wright

Cornell forwards not named Shonn Miller combined for a grand total of 4 points, 1 rebound, 6 fouls and 4 turnovers last weekend against Columbia. The previous outing, it was 8 points and 10 boards for the supporting cast while giving up a near 20-20 game to Mark Cisco. It’s tough to pit Miller on his own against a pair of the best forwards the Ancient Eight has to offer, but with Eitan Chemerinski constantly in foul trouble and Josh Figini’s minutes somewhat inexplicably vanishing, Miller may be all Cornell has to throw at the Crimson tandem.

Brandyn Curry vs. The Kitchen Sink

He’s no Zack Rosen, but Curry has the ability to get into the lane with casino online comparable quickness to the Penn guard that caused fits for the Red. No single Cornell guard seems to be a good matchup vs. Curry and the Red certainly can’t afford to use its bigs for significant help when he gets in the lane. Miles Asafo-Adjei, if healthy, would be a big boost for the Red on the Crimson point guard, but expect to see a steady diet of Galal Cancer with some Devin Cherry in the mix. If Curry can force the Cornell defense to rotate and help on him, Rivard, Wright and Casey should go off. If the Red find a matchup that works, the rest of the lineup will be able to focus on their jobs – where they are likely already overmatched anyways.

Prediction

I hate to be part of the media that already crowns the Crimson outright champions

and after seeing Penn play I won’t go quite that far – but it would be a shock if Cornell found a way to earn its first road win of the year at Lavietes Pavillion. A four-guard lineup allows the Red some explosiveness in this one, by virtue of forced turnovers and a few threes. In the end though, Keith Wright puts up his third consecutive double-double against this thin Cornell frontcourt, Rivard gets open looks and Curry is too much to handle. Harvard wins going away 66-52.

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