The Ivy League offers some of the best college lacrosse in the nation, and Saturday afternoon at Stevenson-Pincince Field should offer all the proof you need.

The Brown men’s lacrosse team will host Harvard in both teams’ conference opener. The game can be seen on NESNplus at 4 p.m. ET as the finale of a college lacrosse tripleheader beginning at noon.

The Bears are off to a 2-2 start this season, but are coming off an overtime loss on the road against Virginia, the No. 12-ranked team in Division I and annually one of the best teams in the country. Some might chalk that up as an early-season “moral victory,” but not Brown head coach Mike Daly, who expects his group to compete with elite programs.

“It’s definitely where we expect this team and program to be — to be competing at that level,” Daly told NESN.com on Wednesday. “(We expect to) go to places like Virginia and win, frankly. We fell short of that, and we feel terribly about that.”

So how does Daly feel about his team as it prepares to square off with the Crimson, who have won two straight games after starting the season with three straight losses?

“It’s early in the season, we’re going and we’re playing a lot of young guys,” Daly said. “A lot of those guys stepped up (against Virginia), and that was exciting to see. … And while we didn’t win, I definitely feel like our team grew up a bit, matured a bit, and that’s what we’re looking for entering Ivy League play.”

Again, the Ivy League is no joke. Cornell (No. 3), Yale (No. 4) and Penn (No. 20) all are nationally ranked, with Princeton falling just outside the top 20. And then you have Brown, which made the Final Four in 2016, and Harvard, which played well in a season-opening loss to perennial powerhouse North Carolina.

Simply put: There are no easy games in this conference.

“The Ivy League is a grind,” Daly said. “Everybody can beat everybody on any given day.”

Ultimately, as a young team, the Bears can’t afford to put the carriage in front of the horse. If they want to make it back to the NCAA Tournament, it starts with putting the Virginia loss behind them, and focusing on beating their Ivy League rival.

“It’s a great opportunity to measure that maturity, and measure where we’re at,” Daly said.

You can watch Brown take on Harvard on Saturday, March 16 at 4 p.m. ET on NESNplus. Here is NESN’s complete college lacrosse schedule for the day:

Saturday, March 16
Noon ET — Patriot League men’s lacrosse: Army at Holy Cross (NESNplus)
2 p.m. — Patriot League men’s lacrosse: Bucknell at Boston University (NESNplus)
4 p.m. — Ivy League men’s lacrosse: Harvard at Brown (NESNplus)

Thumbnail photo via NESN