What No. 6 UVA's 76-27 annihilation of Harvard means

Tommy Amaker holds up one finger for every field goal the Crimson made at UVA ... except he
Tommy Amaker holds up one finger for every field goal the Crimson made at UVA … except he”s holding up two too many. (cbssports.com)

Harvard embarrassed itself in Charlottesville Sunday, scoring just eight points in the entire first half en route to a 76-27 loss.

It was the rare game in which the box score really does tell the story. Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers went a combined 0-for-17 from the field, and Steve Moundou-Missi was the only Crimson player to score a single field goal (and yes, he scored just one). The Crimson took 50 shots. They best online casino missed 42 of them. They notched one assist the entire afternoon. UVA, in stark contrast, shot 59.6 percent, including 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.

It’s beyond obvious to say that a 49-point loss doesn’t bode well for Harvard, but the devil is in the details. Under coach Tony Bennett, UVA’s defenses have always been stout, and this year’s edition is no different, as it’s currently ranked third in the country by KenPom. Harvard’s lack of sharpshooters beyond Corbin Miller was obvious all game. If the Crimson can’t get high-percentage shots off of dribble-drives, this is apparently what happens.

Yale and especially Columbia have solid defenses too, even if they’re not quite on UVA’s level. The rule seems to be that Harvard goes as Saunders goes. Trouble is, when Saunders is off, so are the Crimson, in a very big way. Harvard has big problems: Siyani Chambers’ offensive passivity, road offensive woes and a lack of outside shooting. These problems won’t be tested as much in Ivy play as they have been so far, but they’ll still be tested by the Elis and Lions alike. Harvard is still the league’s team to beat, but the blueprint on how to do so is definitely out there now.

2 thoughts on “What No. 6 UVA's 76-27 annihilation of Harvard means

    • When Amaker has the better players, he wins. When he has the weaker players, he loses. In other words, the overwhelming majority of Amaker’s value-added is recruiting outstanding players. Once his guys arrive on campus, Amaker is less skilled than most of his peers in terms of player development and in-game management.

      The UVa game is a good example. Harvard got out to a terrible start. Nothing was working, nothing was falling. What did Amaker do? Nothing. That is, Harvard stayed with pretty much the same game plan even after it ran into serious trouble coming out of the starting gate. That’s Amaker in a nutshell. Recruit fantastic athletes and turn them loose. What happens, happens.

      Fortunately for Harvard, against every Ivy team, the Crimson will have far superior players. I look for Harvard to go 12-2, give or take a win/loss. Harvard will win its fifth straight Ivy title. Indeed, Harvard will keep winning men’s basketball titles as long as Bob Scalise is athletic director.

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