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NCAA Tournament Primer: Harvard Crimson

Mar 7, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

Tommy Amaker AP

Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.

Conference: Ivy League

Coach: Tommy Amaker

Record: 25-4 (12-1 Ivy League)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 33
– RPI: 52
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: In Dave Ommen’s most recent bracket the Crimson are a 12-seed.

Names you need to know: Wesley Saunders (14.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.9 apg), Siyani Chambers (11.0 ppg, 4.6 apg), Kyle Casey (10.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Stats you need to know: Harvard ranks 25th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, and they’re a top 100 team in offensive efficiency as well. Harvard currently ranks second in the Ivy League in both field goal and three-point percentage defense, and they allow just 0.91 points per possession. Offensively Harvard leads the Ivy League in both field goal and three-point percentage, and their 39.3% shooting from deep ranks 18th nationally.

Tendencies: This group is more balanced than the team that knocked off New Mexico in the NCAA tournament a season ago. While Saunders and Chambers are leading the way offensively they’ve got more help and the return of Casey and classmate Brandyn Curry is one reason why. Three players average double digits and three more are averaging between 9.4 and 9.9 points per game. Chambers can be difficult to defend in ball-screen situations, and the other players do a good job of finding their spots within the offense. Defensively, the Crimson play man-to-man the majority of the time.

Big wins, bad losses: The Crimson beat two regular season conference champions during non-conference play, taking care of both Green Bay (Horizon League) and Vermont (America East). And their lone “bad loss” came at Florida Atlantic in early January.

How’d they get here?: Clinched the Ivy League regular season title with a 70-58 win at Yale, earning the league’s automatic bid as a result.

Outlook: This is an group that not only has NCAA tournament experience but winning once there as well. With the right matchup the Crimson, now with Curry and Casey in the fold, could duplicate last season’s accomplishment.

How do I know you?: Harvard’s reached three straight NCAA tournaments, knocking off 3-seed New Mexico in their first game a season ago before falling to Arizona.

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