Harvard snagged the Ivy League's automatic NCAA bid with Princeton's loss on Saturday. (Landov)
After Harvard was upset at Penn last Saturday, the Crimson fell a game behind Princeton in the loss column and suddenly didn't control their own fate for the Ivy title. Princeton still had three road games remaining while the Crimson finished with two at home, so a playoff game seemed a strong possibility.
Well, the Crimson held up their end of the bargain, slipping past Columbia and handling Cornell, and they got the news they were looking for elsewhere around New England, as the Tigers lost at both Yale (on Friday) and Brown (tonight), giving Harvard the title and the league's auto bid (there is no Ivy tournament).
This is Harvard's third straight season with at least a share of the Ivy crown, and weirdly, it still doesn't appear they have been able to celebrate an NCAA tournament berth while in a gym. Harvard junior (and Phoenix Suns worker bee) @JohnEzekowitz said via Twitter that the Crimson left the court after beating Cornell tonight, as their game ended well before Princeton's. In 2011, the Crimson clinched a share of the title at home and cut down the nets, but they were beaten by Princeton at the buzzer in a one-game playoff for the NCAA bid. Last year, Harvard found out it had won the league outright while in its dorms, when Princeton beat Penn three days after Harvard's season had concluded.
Whatever the celebration, the Crimson are dancing again. This season was supposed to end in the NCAAs, but expectations were altered when a campus-wide cheating scandal snared two of their standout players, forward Kyle Casey and point guard Brandyn Curry, who were forced to withdraw from school for the year. The Crimson have done this without an Ivy player of the year candidate and their senior point guard, leaning on sophomore Steve Moundou-Missi and freshman point Siyani Chambers to claim what appeared to be rightly theirs in the fall.
Whatever happens to the Crimson in the NCAAs, they definitely can look toward next season, when top-100 big man Zena Edosamwan joins the program and, if everything goes right, Casey and Curry have a chance to rejoin the team, as well. Senior guard Christian Webster
is the only departure from the current roster, so look out for the Crimson next year as a team that once against could threaten the Top 25. Expect a lot of celebrating on the court, too.