The Harvard University men’s basketball team is No. 25 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 24 in the coaches’ poll, the first time in the program’s 101-year history it’s been ranked among the best in the country.
The Crimson, 8-0, are the only unbeaten team in the Ivy League with early season victories over Florida State (46-41), which was in the Top 25 at the time, and Holy Cross (73-64). Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, plays the University of Connecticut, ranked No. 9 in both polls, in Storrs, Connecticut, on Dec. 8.
The University of Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in both polls this week. The unbeaten Wildcats defeated the University of North Carolina 73-72 on Dec. 3.
Harvard is one of 15 undefeated teams in the country and has a 19-game home-court win streak, tied with North Carolina for seventh-longest in the nation, the school said in a press release. Duke University and Kentucky share the nation’s longest home victory run at 39. Harvard’s next home game is Dec. 22 against Florida Atlantic.
According to CollegePollArchive.com, the Ivy League has had six teams ranked in the AP Poll. The University of Pennsylvania leads with 78 appearances, followed by Princeton University (41), Columbia University (31), Dartmouth College (5), Yale University (4) and Cornell University (3). Penn had the league’s highest AP ranking at No. 2 after finishing the 1971-72 season with a 25-3 record.
Harvard is led by senior forward Keith Wright, of Suffolk, Virginia (11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds per game), junior forward Kyle Casey from Medway, Massachusetts (10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds), and sophomore guard Laurent Rivard of Saint-Bruno, Quebec (10.1 points).
Cornell was the most recent previous Ivy team to be nationally ranked after cracking the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll for two weeks during the 2009-10 season. The Big Red entered the poll at No. 25 on Feb. 1 and moved to No. 22 the following week before dropping out. It ended the season back in the coaches’ poll at No. 17.
Princeton is the last Ivy squad to be ranked among the top 25 in the AP poll. The Tigers’ 1997-98 team was No. 8 in the final AP ranking and No. 16 in the final USA Today poll, which was then conducted with the National Association of Basketball Coaches.