Does Harvard Have a Chance? Arkansas

Published by Kurt T. Bullard on March 16, 2015 at 2:09PM

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

RPI: 17

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