How will Harvard replace Siyani Chambers?

On Wednesday, Harvard lost its most important player to a devastating injury. The team announced that captain and starting point guard Siyani Chambers has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2015-16 season. He will not enroll in school this year, and he will re-enroll in 2016-17 (his final year of eligibility).

Read moreHow will Harvard replace Siyani Chambers?

Harvard guard Siyani Chambers to miss 2015-16 season with torn ACL

Siyani Chambers will return in 2016-17.
Siyani Chambers will return in 2016-17.

Harvard senior guard Siyani Chambers will take a voluntary leave of absence from school this year after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, the school announced Wednesday.

Chambers is taking a leave of absence because the Ivy League does not permit graduate students to play. Chambers, who has been a starter for the Crimson each of the past three seasons and is a three-time All-Ivy selection, is expected to return for the 2016-17 season.

Harvard will make a bid for a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015-16, but without Chambers and factoring in the losses of top two 2014-15 leading scorers Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi to graduation, such an achievement seems unlikely, particularly given the greater roster experience enjoyed by Columbia, Princeton and Yale.

Chambers has averaged 11.1 points, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game in his Harvard career, including 9.9 points per contest last season, as Chambers struggled early in the season on offense.

Harvard backcourt players such as junior Corbin Miller, sophomore Andre Chatfield and freshmen Corey Johnson and Tommy McCarthy will have to pick up the slack left by Chambers.

Harvard all-time moment No. 7: Harvard’s amazing comeback vs. North Carolina in first round of 2015 NCAA Tournament

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Harvard is next because …go Knicks!

March 15, 2015 was Selection Sunday, and Harvard fans and players gathered in the Murr Center in Cambridge to see who the Crimson would face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was the fourth consecutive year the Crimson would be dancing. In the previous three years, they had faced three solid teams in Vanderbilt, New Mexico and Cincinnati. Then the brackets were revealed, and Harvard learned that this year it was matched against perennial national championship contender North Carolina. Everyone knew this year would be different.

Read moreHarvard all-time moment No. 7: Harvard’s amazing comeback vs. North Carolina in first round of 2015 NCAA Tournament

How Harvard can beat North Carolina

1. Play to your strengths

The only way Harvard can win this game is if they continue to play stingy defense and to rebound exceptionally well. UNC boasts the 44th-best defensive efficiency in the country (with the second-toughest “strength of schedule”), so Harvard has practically no chance of winning a high-scoring game. Also, the Crimson must limit Carolina’s scoring opportunities by not allowing the Tar Heels any offensive rebounds. At the other end of the court, offensive rebounds would be a bonus for the Crimson, but second chances against this UNC defense (which held Duke’s Jahlil Okafor to his lowest offensive rating of the season) won’t be easy to come by. If the Crimson’s defense isn’t clicking, the Tar Heels will be headed to the round of 32.

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The Game 3.0

There are games ... and then there are Games. And then there
There are games … and then there are Games.
… And then there”s this Game.

The Game 2.0 was supposed to be for all the marbles. Yale defeated Harvard in that one, but the next night, Dartmouth stole the marbles back from the Bulldogs. The Big Green’s miracle win versus Yale last Saturday will give Harvard a second shot at Yale this weekend. You have questions about this game? Read on for the answers.

The matchups I wrote about prior to the Yale victory will certainly be important once again, but an eventful week has passed since that article, so let’s look at some unique keys to this game:

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Yale defeats Harvard, clinches share of first Ivy title since 2002

Javier Duren notched a winning stat line: 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block at Harvard.(ivyleaguesports.com)
Javier Duren notched a winning stat line: 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block at Harvard.(ivyleaguesports.com)

Yale is a win away from history.

The Bulldogs clinched a share of their first Ivy title since 2002 Friday night by defeating Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion in Boston, 62-52. The win, fueled by senior guard Javier Duren’s 22 points and nine rebounds, gives Yale the chance to earn its first NCAA tournament berth since 1962 with a win at Dartmouth tomorrow night.

The Elis’ win at Harvard, which has represented the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament each of the past four seasons, played out in surprising fashion.

Read moreYale defeats Harvard, clinches share of first Ivy title since 2002

Yale-Harvard: The matchups that matter most

It used to always be this simple. Two teams — archrivals head and shoulders above the rest of the league — battle through the long slog of a 14-game tournament, rising above the Other Six to meet in an epic finale. With condolences to the P’s, this season, we return to that reliable formula under the New World Order as, for the second consecutive year, Harvard and Yale enter the final weekend as the only two teams still with a shot at the Ivy title.

Let’s take a look at the key matchups in this winner-take-all grudge match (though Brown and Dartmouth may have a few things to say about that on Saturday):

Read moreYale-Harvard: The matchups that matter most

Saturday Ivy Roundup

It was a ‘meh’ Valentine’s Day for Ivy basketball, with all four games being decided by eight points or more and no massive upsets:

Harvard 61, Cornell 40

The Crimson, previously on the wrong end of a 26-2 run against Dartmouth earlier this season, reeled off a 22-2 run of their own to shake off the Big Red. Senior guard Wesley Saunders somehow compiled eight rebounds but zero points in the first half, but steady efforts from senior forward Steve Moundou-Missi and sophomore guard Corbin Miller allowed Harvard to win with comfort. Cornell’s got an amply stout defense, but no offense when Shonn Miller isn’t clicking (and he didn’t at Lavietes, going 1-for-10 from the field).

Read moreSaturday Ivy Roundup

Ivy Friday Roundup

Harvard 72, Columbia 68

All season long, Ivy pundits (including myself) questioned the Crimson’s ability to rely on outside shooting to win tight games down the stretch. So it’s ironic that Harvard dismissed that doubt – if just for tonight – against one of the most potent three-point shooting teams in the league, Columbia. Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers combined to go 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, and Corbin Miller went 2-for-5 as well for a healthy 40 percent clip. The Lions overcame a 48-31 halftime deficit to tie Harvard at 68-68 with eight second left with a Jeff Coby trey, but Siyani Chambers responded with the game-winning jumper, an indication that he may be ready to shake off the slump he’s been working through all season. This is Harvard wins – it teases us, it allows big runs, it struggles with lineup groupings. But it always comes through in the big games.

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Harvard responds with resounding wins at Princeton and Penn

With one Ivy weekend in the books, the Crimson are looking up at Yale in the Ivy standings. Harvard is fortunate to only be one game back, however, considering the two tough road tests that loomed prior to this past weekend. Penn-Princeton on the road doesn’t mean two guaranteed losses like it used to for Harvard, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk, either. In two must-win games, Harvard needed to respond with two wins. They did just that, and more.

On Friday, the Crimson headed to New Jersey to face the Tigers of Princeton. Not only were they facing a formidable Princeton bunch; they were playing in an arena in which only one Harvard team over the last 26 years had won a single game (prior to Friday). Luckily for Harvard, 14 current Crimson players were also on the team that downed Princeton at Jadwin Gym a year ago.

Read moreHarvard responds with resounding wins at Princeton and Penn