Harvard Crimson (20-10 overall, 11-3 league)
Projected starting five:
So. G Siyani Chambers
Sr. G Laurent Rivard
Jr. G Wesley Saunders
Sr. F Kyle Casey
Jr. F Kenyatta Smith
G Christian Webster (8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 apg) is the only starter who has departed.
87.7 percent of scoring and 90 percent of rebounding
Fr. F-C Zena Edosomwan
Fr. G Matt Fraschilla
Fr. F Hunter Myers
Harvard’s non-league slate is a good one, led by five home games that include visits from Northeast contender Bryant, America East contender Vermont and Boston College. They head to Colorado, Patriot League contender Boston University and Connecticut, and early on will be the favorites in the Great Alaska Shootout. In Anchorage, they will open with Denver and play either Green Bay or Pepperdine in the second game. Early in Ivy League play, they have four straight at home before going on the road for consecutive weekends, the latter of which is the big Penn-Princeton weekend.
Projected finish and outlook:
Simply put, Harvard is a prohibitive favorite to win the league. They return almost every significant contributor from last season’s league champion and add back two former starters who missed last season as well as a player who will be too good to keep on the bench in Edosomwan. It gives head coach Tommy Amaker a lot of options for lineups and how to play, and the character of this team is such that egos shouldn’t get in the way as far as minutes and roles are concerned. Between Brandyn Curry, Chambers, Rivard and Saunders, the Crimson are terrific on the perimeter, while Casey and Smith lead a deep frontcourt after Smith’s emergence during the latter part of last season. It’s a unit that also has juniors Jonah Travis and Steve Moundou-Missi, both of whom could start for just about any other team in the league, and Edosomwan, who has been much heralded. While he’s perhaps a bit overrated from a talent standpoint, Edosomwan’s intangibles are off the charts, something that isn’t often said about a freshman. The Crimson will get some challenges in non-league play, but shouldn’t have to worry about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They should simply be too good for everyone else in the league.