Harvard in the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Harvard is going to the tournament for the third time in three years! General information and a link to watch events is here.
Harvard has won the 2014 Ivy League basketball title with a 13-1 record (one loss to Yale). This gives it an automatic entry to the NCAA's "March Madness" tournament. Since the Ivy League does not have post-season playoff events, we are the first team in the country to qualify. Now comes the hard part ...
Update on March 21:
While last year's victory over New Mexico busted lots of brackets, this year there was anticipation that Harvard would do well against Cincinnati. Harvard led during much of the game, but never by more than 9 points, and ended up winning 61-57.
Now Harvard will face Michigan State University, whose first-round game against Delaware ended at 93-78. Some guy named Obama (JD '91) who thinks he knows about basketball has said he thinks MSU is going to win the tournament.
The Harvard / MSU game will be played on Saturday, March 22, at 6:40 pm MDT. If you think you're coming, please RSVP at http://rmhuc.clubs.harvard.edu/article.html?aid=512
The winner of this game will play one of the University of Virginia (seeded first in the Eastern bracket), Memphis (8), George Washington (9), and Coastal Carolina (16) on Thursday the 27th or Friday the 28th.
Update on March 17:Harvard's first game is with Cincinnati University on Thursday, March 20, at 12:10 pm MDT. See http://rmhuc.clubs.harvard.edu/article.html?aid=509 for details about watching this game in the company of Harvard alums.
The winner of the Harvard / UNM game will play the winner of Michigan State / Delaware on Saturday at a time not yet announced.
The NCAA tournament began in 1939. The 1945-46 Harvard team was the first Crimson squad to get to the tournament. At that time, Harvard was not a member of an intercollegiate league.
The Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Basketball Association (EIBL), the progenitor of the modern Ivy League men's basketball conference, was founded in 1902. In 1946, it contained only some of the Ivy League schools, not including Harvard. For a variety of reasons, Harvard dropped out and rejoined the conference multiple times. During World War II, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton withdrew from the conference and didn't rejoin it for a couple of years afterwards.
Dartmouth, the 1945-1946 EIBL champion, did not go to the 1946 NCAA tourmanment because that league's champion was not automatically included in the tournament. Harvard went as an independent with a 19-1 record. At that time, only eight teams went to the NCAA tournament. Harvard lost in the first round at Madison Square Garden to Ohio State (46-38), and also lost a consolation game for third place in the Eastern Division to NYU (67-61).
The Ivy League as we now know it was established in 1954. Since then, Harvard did not win even a share of an Ivy League title until 2011 when we lost (63-62 at the buzzer) in a special playoff game after tying Princeton for the regular season title. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Harvard won the League title outright.
In 2012, Harvard lost in the first round of the Tournament to Vanderbilt, 79-70.
In 2013, Harvard won its first NCAA game ever by defeating New Mexico 68-62. In the Round-of-32, we lost to Arizona, 74-51.
In summary, it's amazing that it took 109 years for Harvard to win a league championship, and, now for 4 consecutive years, we been either the co-champion or sole champion of the conference. And after a 66-year gap between NCAA tournaments, we're now going three times in a row!