A victory Friday night would go a long, long way toward helping the Brown University men’s basketball team make the Ivy League tournament.
The Bears (3-5 in conference, 15-9 overall) will host the Harvard Crimson (6-2 in conference, 13-8 overall) in a matchup set to air Friday on NESN at 7 p.m. ET. Only four teams qualify for the Ivy League tournament, and Brown, currently sixth in the standings, has a tough road ahead in qualifying for the postseason.
But the Bears do control their own destiny, as closing the season on a 6-0 run would guarantee them a spot in the tourney.
“We can only control what we can control,” head coach Mike Martin told NESN.com on Tuesday. “We’ve got six games left, and we’ve got to win as many as we can. If we do that, hopefully it’ll be enough.”
Brown played well during its non-conference slate, but has struggled to find consistency since Ivy League play began. Ultimately, Martin’s team needs to be more balanced.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best on the offensive end. We’re not running the offense at a consistent level when we need to,” he said. ” … But our defense has been keeping us in games. Our defense has been really good all season long.”
Friday night’s game will be a rematch of Feb. 2, when Harvard pulled off a convincing 68-47 victory on its home court. If Brown’s offense can limit turnovers and knock down more open shots, it has more than a good chance of flipping the script.
“I thought our defense kept us in the game the first 30 minutes. Our offense struggled all night,” Martin said. “They’re big, they’re long, they’re athletic. They present a lot of issues for you when you’re trying to guard them.
” … From an offensive standpoint, we’ve got to execute better. We’ve got to take better care of the basketball.”
If Friday serves as your first exposure to Ivy League basketball, you could be in for a treat. Sure, you’ll want to keep an eye on key players — Brown’s Desmond Cambridge and Harvard’s Bryce Aiken — but you’ll also likely appreciate the high level of skill on both teams, as well as the typically scrappy, competitive play from Ivy League squads.
“Fans will be impressed with the overall level of athleticism and talent on the floor Friday night,” Martin said. “Both teams have really good athleticism and length on their roster.
“It’s a really competitive, balanced and deep league.”
You can watch Brown take on Harvard on Friday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. ET on NESN. Here is NESN’s complete college game schedule for the weekend of Feb. 22-24.
Friday, Feb. 22
7 p.m. ET — Ivy League men’s basketball: Harvard at Brown (NESN)
7 p.m. — Hockey East: Northeastern at New Hampshire (NESNplus)
Saturday, Feb. 23
Noon — ACC men’s basketball: Boston College at Clemson (NESN)
5 p.m. — Ivy League women’s basketball: Brown at Dartmouth (NESNplus)
7 p.m. — Hockey East: Northeastern at New Hampshire (NESN)
7 p.m. — Atlantic Hockey: Bentley at Holy Cross (NESNplus)
9:30 p.m. — Atlantic 10 Conference men’s basketball: St. Joseph’s at UMass (NESNplus)
Sunday, Feb. 24
1 p.m. — ACC women’s basketball: Virginia Tech at Clemson (NESNplus)
3 p.m. — ACC women’s basketball: Georgia Tech at Miami (NESNplus)
5 p.m. — ACC men’s basketball: Georgia Tech at Miami (NESNplus)