Sixty eight teams will begin the NCAA tournament this week, more popularly known as March Madness. All hoping to be the last team left to dismantle the hoop netting on April 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. However, so it doesn’t get to maddening, let’s just break down the two Boston teams heading to the big dance as trying to dissect bracketology for all 68 can be extremely challenging and “ain’t nobody got time for that”, well, I don’t anyway.
Harvard and Northeastern both learned their fate on selection Sunday and Beantowns potential doesn’t look promising to make it through Round 1 and neither is a “Cinderella team” per say.
Harvard earned a #13 seed in the West region with the Crimson boasting a 22-7 season to punch their ticket when they defeated Yale in a one game playoff on Saturday and will take on fourth seeded North Carolina (23-11). Harvard will be making its fourth straight appearance and sixth straight year winning 20 plus games. Much of this teams success this season stemmed from the defense, where they rank twelfth in the nation in points allowed (57-2). Eighteen of Harvards 29 opponents have failed to score 60 points with 8 teams scoring 50 points or fewer. They’ve also posted a 5-1 record in contests decided by 3 points or fewer including five straight wins. Sounds impressive huh? It would be if they weren’t mostly Ivy League wins.
Of course, this leads us right into the opponent, the North Carolina Tar Heels who, for all season, have been up and down, then down then up again. But after reaching the ACC tournament final proved to everyone just how good they can be. One of NC’s greatest strengths is their ability to crash the boards as they’re second in the country with an awe-inspiring 41 per game. But can they turn that into a tournament success? Momentum will be a major factor. If the Heels put Harvard into an early deficit, the Crimson will have little recourse. Harvard needs to slow down the Heels early and any way they can because NC’s transition game can be fatal. My prediction….. NC will be too much for the Ivy leaguers and as upsets can and will happen, its highly unlikely Harvard will get another opening round win.
Meanwhile, Northeastern drew a 14 seed in the Midwest clinching the Colonial League. The Huskies, making their first appearance since 19991 boasting a 23-11 record will host Notre Dame (29-5). Huskies head coach Bill Coen believes his teams journey isn’t over in the first round however, complimenting his men even though its been a long time coming, ” hard work, dedication and commitment to each other, they still have magic left in them” After all, they do have one of the best shooting teams in the country making 48.6% of their shots. They have their work cut out for them though and will certainly be the underdog as the Irish (29-5) are coming off an ACC tourney victory in which they beat Duke in the semi-finals and Carolina in the finals after eliminating Boston College twice this season.
Unfortunately for the Huskies though, they’ll be learning the waltz at the dance as the Irish have their jig down to a science. I predict that the Irish as well, will be too much for the inexperienced Huskies and Bostons only shot at a title will be the one it holds in snow accumulation this season.
So sit back, wait for spring, and enjoy the madness as the privilege of ripping down the net will be the Vegas strips unheard of 1/1 even clear favorite…. Kentucky Wildcats.