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A quick review of local hoops

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  January 18, 2010 01:50 PM

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Something is going on off the court with this Boston College basketball team. There has to be.

I'm not suggesting the Eagles should be winning 25, or that they ought to be thinking NCAA, but they have too much talent to be doing the stuff they're doing these days.

After watching them defeat South Carolina, which put them at 11-4, I figured they could win six or seven more in the ACC (they already had one, over Miami) and get to the NIT. Now I'm hoping they can win a game.

Al Skinner has done a tremendous job, but we all know emotion is not exactly his calling card. Is his approach too professional and lofty for this particular bunch? I'm just asking.

Right now the standard bearers for local Division 1 college basketball are Northeastern and Harvard. How about that?

Caught the Huskies against Delaware last week. They allowed a game they were in control of to get scary close, and they were lucky in the end when a semi-unforced error meant that the Blue Hens could not even get off a game-tying attempt, but they did some good stuff to get the lead. By the way, what a job they've done with 99-year old Matthews Arena! You should check out both the Huskies and the building.

Harvard gets back into action Saturday against Dartmouth. The Crimson have won five straight and are 12-3. We can't expect them to beat defending champ Cornell, a senior-laden club that recently frightened third-ranked Kansas at home, but the pressure is on them to go at least 11-3 in the league, finish second, and win a school record 23 games.

The Dartmouth game is the first of three roadies, culminating in a Jan. 30 clash at Ithaca. Now if you call yourself a college basketball fan, you will make sure you're in Lavietes Pavilion on Friday night, Feb. 19, when Cornell comes to town. Carolina is at BC at 12 noon the following day, so it's quite the college hoopapalooza in our town that weekend.

Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1955, Harvard is the only school that has not won a league championship. But if you wonder why Harvard is never listed among the few schools who were in existence when the NCAA tournament was founded in 1939 but have never appeared in the tournament, it's because the Crimson were selected to participate in 1946, when they had a 19-3 record. They journeyed down to Madison Square Garden to play Ohio State, losing by a gentlemanly score of 46-38.

That was the high water mark of Harvard basketball, at least in terms of wins and losses. In the ensuing 63 years, the Crimson have never won more than 16 games. They should exceed that total by the middle of February.

Don't forget that they have already beaten BC -- at BC. Last year, too.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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