Harvard in the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament

Harvard is going to the tournament for the fourth time in four years! General information and a link to watch events is here.

Harvard tied Yale for the 2015 Ivy League basketball title, each with a 11-3 record.  On March 14, they played a one-game match to determine which would get the automatic entry to the NCAA's "March Madness" tournament.  With the score tied at 51-51 and two seconds remaining, Harvard scored a field goal and held on to win the game 53-51.

Update on March 15:

Harvard's first game is with the University of North Carolina Tarheels on Thursday, March 19 at 5:20 pm MDT.  See  https://rmhuc.clubs.harvard.edu/article.html?aid=563  for details about watching this game in the company of Harvard alums.

The winner of the Harvard / UNC game will play the winner of Arkansas / Wofford on Saturday (21st) at a time not yet determined.

Some History:

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 the league's champion was not automatically included in the tournament.  Harvard was invited as an independent with a 19-1 record.  At that time, the NCAA tournament included only eight teams.  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 2014, Harvard drew Cincinnati University for the first round and prevailed,  61-57.  In the Round-of-32, Harvard faced Michigan State University, losing 80-73.  Michigan State subsequently lost in the Elite Eight round to Connecticut, the eventual tournament winners.

In 2015, Harvard tied Yale for the Ivy League basketball title, each with a 11-3 record.  With the score of the playoff game tied at 51-51 and two seconds remaining, Harvard scored a field goal and held on to win the game 53-51.  The first-round tournament opponent was the University of North Carolina.  Harvard trailed for most of the game, but took a two-point lead with 1:15 remaining.  However, UNC ended up with a 67-65 victory.

In summary, it's amazing that it took 109 years for Harvard to win a league championship, and, now for 5 consecutive years, we been either the co-champion or sole champion of the conference.  And after a 66-year gap between NCAA tournaments, we've now gone four times in a row!