Once upon a time, games between the Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team and the Harvard Crimson were considered “cupcakes.” Through the mid-2000s, the Eagles had won 32 games against the team from Cambridge while Harvard had taken just nine of those meetings.
Then, with a player named Jeremy Lin and a coach named Tommy Amaker, that changed.
In 2009, shock filled Conte Forum as Boston College, ranked #24 in the country by virtue of just having beaten #1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, got wasted by Harvard in one of the ugliest letdown games in recent BC sports history. Lin had 27 points that day, and the Eagles went on to make the NCAA Tournament that year, anyway. Virtually all Boston College fans, including this site three years ago, thought that the January 7, 2009 debacle was an aberration.
Then it happened again on December 9, 2009.
Then it happened again on January 5, 2011.
Then it happened again on December 29, 2011.
In the past four seasons, the personnel on the Crimson has changed, but the game outcomes have not. Harvard has built a four-game winning streak over the Eagles, and neither Al Skinner nor Steve Donahue were able to figure them out.
This Harvard team in 2012-13 is not as good as last year’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid squad; that team started the season 8-0, but this Crimson team is 3-3, having most recently lost a home game to Vermont and needing a comeback to beat Fordham. As for their opponents, the results have been decidedly mixed over the first seven games. Boston College has run the entire continuum from looking good (for 35 minutes) against Penn State and Baylor to godawful against Bryant for all 40. Nobody knows what they are as a team yet, not even themselves.
As a program, Harvard is definitely improved, though last year they seem to have reached their peak. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still very possible for the Crimson to win this game on Tuesday night and send the Eagles to the degrading ignominy of defeat to an Ivy League school for the fifth-straight season. It’s also possible that the Eagles will finally snap this losing streak, but that all depends on which Boston College shows up. There is no exact science to it, so it’s one of those things we’ll have to see from game-to-game to understand.
Far more than just winning a non-conference game in December to try to get back to .500, Boston College needs this win to finally get the stain of all of these losses to Harvard off of their backs. Nobody writing for Soaring to Glory has a Ph.D. in psychology but one would think that at a certain point, a team they can’t beat gets in their heads. Even with a near-total roster turnover last season, the trend continued. This young Eagles team cannot let the Crimson live rent-free in between their ears.
Tip-off is expected at approximately 7pm.