Crimson FM Chair Mark J. Chiusano offers the fan's perspective on last Saturday's loss to Princeton.
Sometime in the first half, there is a play when Brandyn Curry, one of the explosive, intensely shouldered guards who has what is called fast-twitch muscles, finds himself hopscotched in the corner, surrounded by Princeton fans all in orange. You can’t see him from the Harvard stands but you can see the Princeton players beginning to collapse on him, sensing fear, and then you see him muscle the ball towards the hoop on a line with one hand, and Kyle Casey is there in midair above the prized Princeton center slamming it in, and at this point it puts Harvard up by five.
As often occurs in the days following Selection Sunday, the debate has begun over which teams should and shouldn't have gotten into the NCAA tournament.
For the first time ever, a great deal of the discussion has centered around the Harvard men’s basketball team, whose RPI of 35 was the highest of any squad not to be offered a spot in 2011's Madness.
Many analysts have argued that the Crimson deserved a spot in the 68-team field over squads such as UAB—which did not beat a single team in this year's tournament—and, to a lesser extent, VCU, which finished in third place in the Colonial Athletic Association with an RPI 14 spots lower than Harvard’s. Other bubble teams to make the tournament over the Crimson included Clemson (RPI 57) and USC (67).
In an ESPN poll taken during Selection Sunday, half the country felt the Crimson deserved an invite to March Madness. Here’s a look at what others have said regarding the Crimson and the Dance:
Immediately after Princeton hit the shot the first thing our point guard, Oliver McNally, did was drop to the floor to avoid the Princeton fans coming in from the stands. He ducked his head down towards them the way you do when a wave is coming at you, or if you’re a ball-carrier playing football and somebody bigger than you is heading your way; but when no one made direct contact with him—he wasn’t the main source of attraction—he fell out of balance to the floor, and then he lay there, and then he got up.
ECAC men’s hockey doesn’t get much better than this.
Because no remaining team could string together two consecutive victories in the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinals, today’s four games pose a very clear ultimatum: win or go home.
The action begins when Harvard faces off against No. 18 Dartmouth at 4 PM. So far, the series has been tightly contested. Harvard held on to win, 3-2, on Friday night, but Dartmouth evened the series with a 2-1 overtime victory yesterday.
With the entire campus caught up in basketball fever, some of Harvard’s other winter sports are due recognition as well: in particular, the Crimson men and women’s fencing teams, who are heading to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., this Sunday to compete in the NCAA regional championships. Last year Harvard qualified the maximum of 12 fencers for national competition and is hoping to repeat the feat this year.