CBB: Siena vs Harvard Preview and Prediction
Siena vs Harvard Preview
Harvard men’s basketball will continue its non-conference schedule this week, as it hosts Siena on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Toronto to face Buffalo in the James Naismith Classic on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Raptors.
The Crimson went 19-12 (10-4 Ivy) last season, earning its seventh Ivy League championship in the past nine years. Harvard advanced to the second round of the NIT for the first time in program history after beating Georgetown in the nation’s capital, 71-68.
Harvard returns one of the most experienced teams in the country, ranking second nationally in percentage of scoring (96.7%) and minutes (95.7%). Bryce Aiken led the team in scoring a year ago at 22.2 points per game, which was the third-highest average in a single season in program history.
Opening the season in dominant fashion, Harvard limited MIT to just 27 points, while forcing 29 turnovers, in its 84-27 victory Nov. 5. Chris Ledlum tallied a double-double in his first-career appearance, while 12 players scored a basket. The 57-points margin tied a program record that dates to 1946, vs. Northeastern. Harvard split contests over the weekend against Northeastern (79-84) and Maine (67-46), and seven different players have scored in double figures over the Crimson’s three games thus far. Chris Lewis leads the team at 12.0 points per game, while Robert Baker is close behind at 10.0.
We have already previewed Siena this season–and they have one player who will draw all of your eyeballs, sophomore Jalen Pickett, who has NBA aspirations.
The Saints (2-1) enter tonight’s matchup looking to build upon a 78-65 victory over sister-school and A-10 opponent St. Bonaventure in the Br. Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup Tuesday night at the Times Union Center. Siena is attempting to secure three victories in its first four games to open a season since starting 3-1 during the program’s most recent MAAC Championship season of 2009-10.
The Saints will now look to get it done on the road where the team will go 39 days between home games, marking the longest such stretch in the program’s 43-year Division I history. This marks the first time Siena will play four consecutive true road games since Feb. 12-26, 2010, and matches the program’s longest road trip since playing five straight away from home Dec. 22, 1994 – Jan. 7, 1995. Additionally, the first three games on the trip are against teams who won either their conference regular season and/or tournament championship last season.
The Saints took the inaugural matchup between the programs 67-64 last Dec. 1 at the Times Union Center. Siena led for the entirety of the second half and by as much as 13 midway through the stanza, although the Crimson shot 64% in the second half and had a look to tie on their final possession. Kevin Degnan led the Saints with 16 points, and Pickett added 14 and eight assists. Justin Bassey tallied 15 points and seven rebounds to pace Harvard.
LINE: Harvard -11
Score Prediction: Harvard 72 Siena 69
Dan’s Bet: Siena +11
Dan’s 2019-20 season record: 5-1