Monday, January 16, 2012
Harvard No. 24 in ESPN/USA Today poll
By Jack McCluskey
After another two-win week, the Crimson moved up one spot to No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll but remained nowhere near the AP Top 25.
Harvard, led by leading scorer Keith Wright -- named Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 14.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins over Monmouth and George Washington -- has a week off before starting Ivy League play for good with a game at Dartmouth (Saturday, 7 p.m.).
After dropping a surprising decision at Fordham on Jan. 3, Harvard has taken care of business. The Crimson dispatched Dartmouth 63-47 at home on Jan. 7, keeping them in the ESPN/USA Today poll at No. 25, then went to Monmouth on Tuesday and won 70-61 and ran George Washington out of Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday in a 69-48 win.
The W over the Colonials pushed the Crimson’s home win streak to 23 games, the fifth longest such streak active in the country. Harvard is off to its best start since the 1945-46 season, when it started 16-1, and the best start for an Ivy team since Princeton also started 15-2 in 1997-98.
While Harvard remained in the ESPN/USA Today rankings with 61 points, it received only 22 in the AP poll -- 80 behind No. 25 Kansas State. While the Crimson have a respectable RPI of 57, they do not play another team in the top 100 the rest of the season. Yale, at 102, is their best remaining opponent.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.