1. Harvard had a very good weekend. The Great Alaska Shootout didn’t give Harvard an opportunity for the sort of wins that might get national attention; Iowa bagged out of the field in May, and Indiana State, probably the best remaining team, ended up in the loser’s bracket. But winning an eight-team neutral-court tournament is never easy, and the Crimson’s first two opponents, Denver and Green Bay, are among the favorites in the Summit and Horizon Leagues. On Saturday, Harvard beat a BCS team for the seventh straight season — even if TCU is a Big 12 team in name only; it lost at home to Longwood this season — and did so in a 71-50 rout.
2. Is Harvard’s shooting back? Last season, the Crimson ranked eighth nationally in three-point shooting percentage, at 40 percent — but they entered this weekend under 30 percent through five games, with the only bright spot being a 6-for-12 first half against Colorado. Laurent Rivard, the Crimson’s primary sharpshooter, found his stroke with five treys against Green Bay, then hit five more — including four in the first 13 minutes — against TCU as the team went 8-for-17. Harvard’s offense has been great so far despite cold shooting, but if Rivard and Siyani Chambers return to form, it could be scary.
3. A healthy Brandyn Curry will help. Obviously, Harvard is a really good team without Curry, which it proved in winning the Great Alaska Shootout this weekend. But if the Crimson is going to be something like the Top 25-or-so team it hopes to be, it needs Curry back. On Friday, when Green Bay point guard Keifer Sykes went for 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting, getting to the rim at will early in the second half, the Crimson really missed Curry’s perimeter defense. And although Chambers had some bright spots this weekend, he still shot 9-for-27 with 11 turnovers in total, continuing a slow start to the season. A healthy Curry would allow Chambers to rest more than a minute or two per game and to pick his spots better.