Five keys to the game for Yale vs. Harvard

Can Justin Sears lead Yale to its first NCAA tourney berth since John F. Kennedy was president? (Yale Athletics)
Can Justin Sears lead Yale to its first NCAA tourney berth since John F. Kennedy was president? (Yale Athletics)

The winner of Yale-Harvard in Boston Friday night will subsequently be just one further win away from a NCAA tournament berth. Harvard went dancing last year, while Yale hasn’t since 1962. For the Elis to finally get that March Madness monkey off their backs, here’s what they have to do:

1. Contain Kenyatta Smith – Smith did not play in the Harvard win at Yale last month and gives the Crimson much-needed depth, especially on on offense.
2. Mix up the defense – Yale did this effectively at home against Princeton and needs to confuse Harvard by switching between man and zone.
3. Justin Sears – Sears needs to play within himself and not let the moment get to him. He did this in the home Princeton win and against Harvard last year on the road (when he posted 21 points and 11 rebounds), but not at home this year against Harvard, when he shot just 2-for-7 from the field for nine points in 34 minutes.
4. Hit free throws at the end – Yale has been up and down in this category and especially needs to make crucial one and ones if the game is close at the end.
5. Don’t let the crowd take over – Harvard has developed a strong following and that was evident with the number of Harvard fans at Yale this past month. Yale needs to limit the Harvard runs and in the process, keep the crowd out of the game.

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