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Preview: After taking down Cal to close out 2018, Harvard opens Ivy League season against Dartmouth

The Crimson are on a three-game winning streak, capped off by their defeat of then-No. 13 California on the road. Can they continue their success this afternoon against a Dartmouth team they went 1-1 against last season?

Junior forward Jeannie Boehm was one of five players in double figures in Harvard’s upset of Cal, scoring a season-high 14 points.
Gil Talbot - Harvard

Glancing at the records of the Harvard Crimson and Dartmouth Big Green, nothing particularly stands out on its own. Both teams are 7-6, smack-dab in the middle of the Ivy League standings. Neither has the defending-champion status that Princeton has enjoyed by making the NCAA Tournament seven of the last nine seasons. Neither is on a five-game winning streak like Penn or Yale.

But this season, Harvard has one thing that neither Dartmouth nor the rest of the Ivy League does: a win over a ranked, power-conference team on that team’s home floor.

The Crimson have some experience upsetting ranked Pac-12 teams away from home. Not recently — it was over twenty years ago — but they do have the distinction of being the first 16-seed to topple a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. That win came against No. 1 Stanford, but considering Harvard has already faced and decidedly not beaten a No. 1 this season, taking down then-No. 13 Cal has to be just as satisfying.

Dartmouth’s season hasn’t been too shabby, lest we forget the Big Green’s and Crimson’s overall records are identical, but all of Dartmouth’s wins have come by 13 points or more, and their only truly enormous loss came at Boston College, which they followed up with an enormous win against Binghamton. The Big Green also own the Ivy League’s best-shooting game this season, going 60.5 percent from the floor and 60 percent from three in their Dec. 9 win over Fairfield.

Both teams come into their Ivy League openers after a nearly three-week break, with Harvard’s win over Cal coming on Dec. 30 and Dartmouth’s win over Binghamton happening on Dec. 31. So, both should be lavishly well-rested heading into what’s actually a quick home-and-home — they’ll play today in Boston, then again next Saturday in Hanover.

If recent history holds up, the Crimson should take at least one of these games, as they haven’t lost consecutive games to the Big Green since a four-game skid from 2008-10. But in spite of Harvard’s very recent success, a sweep against a foe like Dartmouth is far from guaranteed.

Game information

Dartmouth Big Green (7-6, 0-0) at Harvard Crimson (7-6, 0-0)

When: Saturday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Lavietes Pavilion, Boston, MA

How to watch: ESPN+

Harvard Crimson (7-6, 0-0) at Dartmouth Big Green (7-6, 0-0)

When: Saturday, Jan. 26, at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Leede Arena, Hanover, NH

How to watch: ESPN+