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NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Harvard

Mar 10, 2013, 7:30 AM EDT

Steve Moundou-Missi, Will Barrett

Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Ivy League

Coach: Tommy Amaker

Record: 19-9, 11-3

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 103
– RPI: 100
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Princeton as a No. 15 seed in Friday’s Bracket Projection, but the Crimson have a stronger overall profile than the Tigers. They might be able to sneak up to a No. 13 or No. 14 seed, depending on how the rest of the automatic bids play out.

Names you need to know: Wesley Saunders (16.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.4 apg), Siyani Chambers (12.7 ppg, 5.7 apg)

Stats you need to know: Given Harvard’s issues with turnovers and their inability to get to the offensive glass, it’s relatively surprising that the Crimson have a top 100 offense according to Kenpom. The reason why? They’re 11th nationally in effective field goal percentage and second in the country in free throw rate.

Tendencies: Harvard is a much more perimeter-oriented team than they were a season ago thanks to Kyle Casey’s suspension and Keith Wright’s graduation. Example? 6-foot-5 Wesley Saunders, a playmaking three at heart, sees the majority of his minutes at the four.

Big wins, bad losses: Harvard has a win at Boston College and also beat Cal at Cal this year, but the losses to Columbia and Penn will hurt.

How’d they get here?: Harvard won the Ivy League’s automatic bid on Saturday when Princeton lost back-to-back games at Yale and Brown this weekend.

Outlook: The Crimson have made a moderately surprising run this season after many of the opinion-makers wrote this group off when Casey and Brandyn Curry were suspended for the season back in September. But thanks to the maturation of Saunders and the gutty play of freshman Siyani Chambers at the point, Harvard will now be heading to their second straight NCAA tournament after a 66-year drought. With wins at Cal and BC and impressive performances on the road against teams like St. Mary’s, Memphis and UConn, the Crimson have the talent to pull off an upset or two.

How do I know you? The Crimson were here last year, and were a sexy pick by many to spring a first round upset. Unfortuantely they fell to Vanderbilt 79-70, and remain winless in NCAA tournament play.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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