With Selection Sunday just around the corner, the Harvard men’s basketball team will know who it will be matched up with in the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament soon enough. But sometimes speculation is more fun than reality, so we at The Back Page decided to look at what we consider to be the Crimson’s potential opponents in the NCAA tournament and to try and speculate what chance—if any—Harvard will have at pulling the upset.
Record: 26-7, 13-5 SEC
Best Wins: #20 SMU, Dayton
Worst Loss: Clemson, Tennessee
Ken Pomeroy Ranking: 29
Projected Seed (from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi): 5
Star Players: Bobby Portis (So. Forward) 17.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg; Michael Qualis (Jr. Guard) 15.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Harvard should become acquainted with the name Bobby Portis.
The sophomore has been one of the most productive players in the nation this year. He was named to the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 List. He’s averaged almost 18 points per game and over eight boards per contest, and is projected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft by many experts.
His partner-in-crime is junior guard Michael Qualis, who also has been a consistent scorer and has cleaned up on the boards. Together, they’ll be a tough duo to stop down low, with heights of 6’11” and 6’6”, respectively. In its late season loss and postseason win against Yale, Harvard lost the battle on the glass. The Crimson’s frontcourt of co-captain Steve Moundou-Missi and sophomore Zena Edosomwan will need to match up well against the Razorback duo.
Arkansas finished in second place in the SEC–a conference that is often maligned for its lack of depth in quality teams behind No. 1 Kentucky. They also made it to the conference championship on Sunday before losing to the Wildcats for the second time on the season.
One knock on Arkansas is that the team plays much better at home than on the road. Bud Walton Arena is one of the toughest places to play in the country, as the Razorbacks went 17-2 in Little Rock this season. The team is only 7-5 on the road, however.
The Razorbacks are 8-4 against the RPI top 50 this season, including a win over No. 20 Southern Methodist. The team has come up short against Tennessee and Clemson, who are ranked 98th and 103rd in the RPI, respectively. Harvard sits tied for No. 53 in the RPI.
—Staff writer Kurt Bullard can be reached at email@example.com.
After a combined 2,400 minutes on the hardwood this season, the Harvard and Yale men’s basketball teams will take the floor of the Palestra in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon with just 40 minutes standing between each program and the NCAA Tournament.
Per a press release from the Ivy League, the matchup will take place at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast by both ESPN3 and the American Sports Network.
After the Crimson (21-7, 11-3 Ivy) fell to the Bulldogs (22-9, 11-3) in front of a capacity Lavietes Pavilion crowd on Friday night, Harvard’s chances of dancing at a fourth consecutive March Madness were slim: a Dartmouth team entering its final game under .500 would need to beat Ancient Eight top dog Yale on Saturday in order for the Crimson’s tournament chase to remain alive.
For much of the contest in Hanover, that improbability remained. According to collegiate hoops pundit Ken Pomeroy, Yale had a 99.1 percent chance of taking down Dartmouth and thereby punching its ticket to the Big Dance late in the contest, when it was up five with less than 30 seconds to play. But March Madness has earned its moniker for a reason—and just a few minutes later, Dartmouth and Harvard were each celebrating the Big Green’s comeback victory in their respective gyms, states apart.
This weekend, fourth-year forward Colin Blackwell helped the Harvard men’s ice hockey team advance past Brown into the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals with two goals on Friday and the game-winner on Saturday. Several other Crimson athletes also had particularly impressive performances this week:
Sarah Edney, Women’s Ice Hockey
Senior defenseman Sarah Edney took Most Outstanding Player honors in Potsdam, N.Y., this weekend as the Harvard women's ice hockey team captured its first ECAC title since 2008.
On Saturday, Edney provided the tying goal midway through the third period to force overtime in a 2-1 Crimson win over Quinnipiac in the semifinal. The Ontario native continued to shine in the final against Cornell the next day, as she kick-started the Crimson’s eventual 7-3 win by scoring the team's first and third goals. Her unassisted strike at 3:59 in the third period gave Harvard its first lead of the game less than a minute after she provided the primary assist on freshman Karly Heffernan's tying goal.
Jimmy Vesey, Men’s Ice Hockey
Junior forward Jimmy Vesey is no stranger to outstanding performances – he recently received Ivy League Player of the Year honors. This weekend, Vesey did not disappoint in the ECAC Tournament action against Brown.
On Friday, Vesey scored two goals, which brought his tally up to 24 goals this year. He also assisted on the game's first goal on his way to his his sixth three-point game this season.
Vesey upped both of these season stats on Saturday with a goal and two assists. Vesey is the first Harvard player to reach the 50-point plateau since Dominic Moore ’03 (51 points) did so during the 2002-2003 season.
David Ng, Wrestling
This weekend at the EIWA Championships, senior wrestler David Ng was a standout competitor in a challenging tournament for the Crimson. Despite injuries to his teammates, Ng finished fifth after going 4-2 in the tournament. The senior advanced to the fifth place match after narrowly missing a spot in the third place match in a tiebreaker.
Not only did this fifth place victory secure Ng the fifth and final bid for the heavyweight NCAA championship, but it was also Ng's highest career finish at the EIWA Championships. Having come in eighth in his sophomore year and seventh in his junior year, Ng advanced in the rankings by defeating Garrett Ryan of Columbia, 2-0, to clinch the win.
This wasn’t Ng’s first meeting with Ryan – Ng had lost to Ryan only the day before in the quarterfinal of the championship bracket, 3-1. However, Ng bounced back from this loss by defeating Ryan after an extremely close match. Ng will continue to represent Harvard at the NCAA championships on March 19 in St. Louis.
Miye D’Oench, Women’s Ice Hockey
Junior forward Miye D’Oench scored a controversial goal against Quinnipiac 2:39 into the overtime period Saturday to clinch a spot in the ECAC final.
D’Oench directed the puck into the back of the Quinnipiac net after the puck bounced off her chest near the crease. After a lengthy review, the goal stood.
D’Oench would continue to score in the championship with a power play assist and an empty net goal.
The awards just keep on coming for the Harvard men’s and women’s track teams.
Just one week after the women took home their third consecutive Indoor Heps title, while the men finished fifth, various individuals were recognized for their hard work.
The recognition began from the Ancient Eight, as head coach Jason Saretsky was named the Co-Women’s Head Coach of the Year, sharing the award with his Columbia counterpart, Dan Ireland.
The honors continued for Saretsky, as the USTFCCCA named him the women’s Head Coach of the Year for the Northwest Region, with assistant coach Kebba Tolbert, who works with the sprinters, hurdlers, long jumpers, and triple jumpers, tabbed as the women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Saretsky and Tolbert wouldn’t be the only one recognized, as a total of seven Crimson individuals, and one relay team, garnered First-Team All-Ivy League Honors after taking home the title in their events.
Senior Danielle Barbian led the pack with two selection, picking up her second straight first team nod in the 60 meter dash, while obtaining another first team honor in the 200 meter race. The senior is the first Harvard athlete to garner two first team nods since Helena Ronner ’03 did it in 2002.
Barbian was joined by sophomore Nikki Okwelogu and junior Autumne Franklin, who earned their selections in the shot put and 60-meter hurdles, respectively.
The good news didn’t stop there for Okwelogu, as the Fresno, Calif, native was announced as one of 16 participants in the shot put for the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships, the only Crimson athlete to qualify. The sophomore was also recognized as the Northeast Region Field Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA
The 4x880 yard relay squad consisting of junior Paige Kouba, senior Molly Renfer, co-captain Erika Veidis, and junior Gabrielle Scott, which clinched the women’s Heps victory, was also honored with a first team All-Ivy selection.
Veidis, co-captain Ashley Collinsworth, and junior Taylor DuPont were awarded second team honors for their performances in the 800 meter run, 60-meter dash, and weight throw, respectively.
On the men’s side, captain Jarvis Harris earned first team honors in the 60-meter hurdles for his championship performance in the event. Harris was joined by rookie Malcolm Johnson, who took home the first team nod in the 60-meter dash and was the only Harvard freshman to make it on to the top squad.
Sophomore Efe Uwaifo joined the sprinters, garnering the first team selection for his performance in the triple jump. Freshman Matthew Hurst was named to the second team for his runner-up performance in the 200 meters.
With the indoor season now behind them, the Crimson squads look forward to the outdoor portion of the season, where the women will once again try to defend their Ivy League title, while the men look to improve on their performance from the indoor season.
Jimmy Vesey will enter the ECAC tournament this weekend with another accolade to his name.
Four days after the junior forward clinched the ECAC Hockey scoring crown, the Ivy League named Vesey its 2014-2015 Player of the Year Thursday. The league also recognized linemate and junior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo, fourth-year defenseman Patrick McNally, junior defenseman Desmond Bergin, co-captain defenseman Max Everson, and fourth-year goaltender Steve Michalek.
Vesey is the ninth Harvard player to win the award since the 1979-1980 season and the first since 2000, when senior goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo received top honors. Vesey’s win, coming on the heels of an All-Ivy Rookie of the Year award in his freshman season, snaps the Crimson’s longest drought since 1980.
The Boston native finished the regular season on Saturday with 22 goals and 22 assists to lead all Division I players in goals per game (0.76). His 1.52 points per game are good for third-best in the country.
A Nashville Predators draft pick, Vesey was one of four unanimous selections to the Ivy League’s first team. Harvard’s last first team selections were defenseman Danny Biega ’13 and forward Alex Killorn ’12 during the 2011-2012 season.
After Vesey, the Ivy League’s next-highest scorer this season was Criscuolo, who received Second Team All-Ivy honors. The New Jersey product tied with Vesey for the most assists among Ivy players and added a career-high 15 goals.
Despite a season shortened by injury, fourth-year defenseman Patrick McNally was also recognized on the Second Team. Among Ancient Eight blue liners, McNally led all in points per game and finished just two total points off the pace set by first team selection Rob O’Gara, who played in 29 games to McNally’s 15.
Outside the first and second teams, the Ivy League recognized three players as Honorable Mention All-Ivy. All three wear Crimson: Everson, Bergin, and Michalek. Everson and Bergin have anchored the Crimson’s top two defensive pairs all season while Michalek has been the team’s answer in net, setting a Beanpot single-game saves record in the process.
Yale coach Keith Allain won the inaugural All-Ivy Coach of the Year award as the Bulldogs placed three players on the first team. Yale freshman Ryan Hitchcock was the league’s unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year.
HARVARD ALL-IVY PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
1982-1983 Mark Fusco, D
1983-1984 Grant Blair, G
1984-1985 Scott Fusco, F
1985-1986 Scott Fusco, F
1989-1990 C.J. Young, F
1990-1991 Peter Ciavaglia, F
1992-1993 Ted Drury, F
1993-1994 Steve Martins, F
1999-2000 J.R. Prestifilippo, G
2014-2015 Jimmy Vesey, F