Home » Columns »Full Court Sprints » Currently Reading:

Harvard’s path to the elusive NCAA Tournament bid just got tougher

February 26, 2012 Columns, Full Court Sprints No Comments
hoopguy-orange

Harvard is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning. Many of the brightest young people grow up dreaming of attending the school, unless you’re like me and dreamed of going to MIT (or Cal Tech) because of engineering. The university has produced a number of high achievers in just about every field imaginable.

On the hardwood, it’s been a different story. Harvard has had seasons of 20 or more wins, and they’ve been to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and NIT the past two seasons. But they have yet to get to the holy grail of college basketball, the NCAA Tournament. That has eluded them, including last year when they went to a one-game playoff against Princeton and lost on a buzzer-beating jumper in New Haven. And after Saturday night, they might be on a path to such a game once more, as Penn came to Lavietes Pavilion and stunned Harvard 55-54 on Senior Night.

Harvard could have clinched a tie for the Ivy League title on Saturday night with a win. They would be two games up on two teams, including Penn, with a trip to Columbia and Cornell remaining. Instead, they are tied in the loss column with Penn and could be headed for a one-game playoff with the Quakers. It’s far from a given, as the Quakers’ still have to go to Princeton after hosting Brown and Yale, but now both teams equally control their own destiny since they are even in the loss column. And by now, one can figure Harvard is taking nothing for granted.

For Harvard, it was a tough loss to take. At times, it looked like they would will their way to victory by their defense, as the offense struggled for a lot of the night. Their defense kept them in the lead. But with Zack Rosen willing Penn back into the game, it was Penn whose defense ultimately gave them a chance to win the game. As good as the Harvard defense was, Penn’s defense was even better in the second half, holding Harvard below 32 percent shooting. For the game, they forced 20 Harvard turnovers.

Harvard could be back in the same position it was in a year ago come a day before Selection Sunday. After Saturday night, that is more likely than it was at the beginning of the day.

 

We take you coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported that Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun is planning to return to the sidelines for the regular season finale on March 3 against Pittsburgh.

Kansas beat Missouri 87-86 in overtime, rallying from a 19-point deficit in the second half. With the win, the Jayhawks clinch a share of their eighth straight Big 12 title.

Staying in the Big 12, Iowa State hasn’t been talked about much in regards to the NCAA Tournament. But after a 65-61 win at Kansas State to improve to 11-5 in conference play, they should at least be a borderline lock.

Purdue scored a big 75-61 win at Michigan that will certainly help its NCAA chances. It was Michigan’s first home loss of the season.

Alabama got JaMychal Green back for Saturday’s 67-50 win over Mississippi State, although it was Levi Randolph who led the way.

St. John’s snapped Notre Dame’s nine-game Big East winning streak, which was a program record. It’s amazing that record was set with this team, but it’s one more reason Mike Brey should run away with Coach of the Year in that conference.

Saint Mary’s won its first outright West Coast Conference title in 23 years with a 67-60 win at San Francisco.

Drexel captured the CAA regular season title outright by winning at Old Dominion. The Dragons already had the top seed locked up. VCU will be the No. 2 seed by virtue of its 89-77 win over George Mason.

Rhode Island handed Saint Louis a damaging 64-62 loss, although as weak as the bubble is this year the Billikens may be able to come back from this for an at-large bid.

 

Sunday’s key matchups:

 

Wisconsin at Ohio State
Florida State at Miami
Cincinnati at South Florida
Pittsburgh at Louisville
Iowa at Illinois
California at Colorado
North Texas at Denver

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

Best win November 2014-15
Which team has the best win thus far on the young season?

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.