Three-quarters of Boston’s Division I teams played at the same time Sunday afternoon, with mixed expectations and mixed results. Here’s a quick summary of what we learned:
1. Harvard won’t go undefeated. Most of us probably believed this heading into Sunday — though not all of us — but Colorado made it official, rallying from a double-digit deficit to down the Crimson 70-62. For 20 minutes, Harvard looked unstoppable, making six of 12 three-pointers and taking a 42-30 lead into intermission — but the Crimson’s shooting woes returned in the second half, with a 1-for-11 performance from three-point range and 8-for-34 overall. Harvard was beaten soundly on the glass for the first time this season, and while an eight-point loss at Colorado is nothing to be ashamed of, a 40-20 second half leaves a bitter taste in anyone’s mouth.
Yes, this defeat may have been a missed opportunity for Harvard; the Crimson’s only other chance at a true top-tier victory will likely come at UConn in January. But that does not mean that Harvard will go 28-0 in the rest of its games, nor that the Crimson should be viewed as a disappointment if it doesn’t. In just the last 10 days, we’ve seen future Harvard opponents beat Georgetown, take Michigan State to the wire and lose on the last possession at Duke — and none of those are really even the Crimson’s strongest foes. Harvard’s schedule is light on elite opponents, which is a shame, but there also aren’t many truly terrible teams on the slate; most are of the Top-150 class that can challenge any team on any given night.
2. Northeastern’s frontcourt is legit. We already learned this during the Georgetown game, but Sunday’s tilt against Florida State offered a review session for anyone who had dozed off. For the second time this weekend, the Huskies faced a power-conference team with much more size — by Ken Pomeroy’s “effective height,” which measures the height of each team’s frontcourt, FSU is the nation’s sixth-tallest team — and more than held their own. Entering the game, FSU was shooting 58 percent from two-point range while holding opponents to just 41 percent — but the Huskies actually outshot the Seminoles inside, 51% to 40%. Scott Eatherton was a monster, scoring 21 points (8-13 FG, 5-5 FT) and grabbing 15 rebounds to cap a stellar tournament.
The Huskies also matched Florida State on the glass … until the final minute, when the Seminoles scored twice off of offensive rebounds, including Devon Bookert’s game-winning catch-and-shoot putback with one second left. Northeastern’s bigger problem, however, was turnovers, which have been an issue all season — the Huskies committed 19 giveaways for the game, including four in a four-possession stretch that saw FSU take its first lead.
3. BU will shoot from outside. Last week, I studied how BU shoots almost exclusively layups and three-pointers, and coach Joe Jones said he wants his team to tilt away from the “three-pointers” end of that spectrum. But in three games this weekend in California, the Terriers chucked a total of 73 treys, including 28 in a 72-57 defeat of Long Island University-Brooklyn. Their effectiveness varied by game — BU hit only eight of those 28 on Sunday, though a 10-for-18 performance from long range was crucial in beating UC-Irvine — but it’s clear that when the Terriers can’t get shots at the rim, they’ll eagerly settle for the next-best thing: three-pointers.