Vermont at Harvard, 7:00 PM Eastern, NESN+/ivyleaguenetwork.com
There are still a small handful of conferences that have not yet tipped off conference play, and the preseason favorites from two such leagues are meeting tonight in our Under the Radar Game of the Day. Vermont, the early pick to win the America East, will be travelling to Cambridge to take on a Harvard team that has been somewhat disappointing in non-conference play, but is almost ready to clear the slate and begin anew with league play. Vermont enters tonight’s game at 8-5 on the season. The Catamounts’ losses include Kentucky, Marquette, St. Bonaventure and a very good Bucknell team. The only somewhat surprising loss was a game at Northeastern, though star point guard Trae Bell-Haynes missed that game due to injury. Injuries could be a major factor tonight as well, unfortunately, as sophomore forward Anthony Lamb, who has been in double digits in scoring 11 times already this year, is out with a fractured foot that will cost him at least eight weeks, and potentially the rest of the season. Vermont will need to find a way to win without Lamb, and tonight’s contest at Harvard is their lone chance to do so before conference play starts on Thursday night.
Harvard enters tonight’s game at 5-8, including having suffered disappointing losses to Holy Cross, Manhattan and Cal State-Fullerton. The Crimson are coming off an 11 point loss on Saturday at Minnesota, and need to find a way to start winning games with their first conference matchup coming this weekend. As with Vermont, Harvard is dealing with an injury — to point guard Bryce Aiken. Aiken has been key to the success they have had, including an impressive 21 point and 8 assist effort in a win over St. Joseph’s. If he can get healthy and back on the court, the Crimson will be in a much better position to not only win tonight’s game, but to be successful once league play begins.