BOSTON (CBS) – For the second straight year, the Harvard men’s basketball team is heading back to the NCAA tournament.
Winners of the Ivy League, the Harvard Crimson were awarded a 14-seed in Sunday’s NCAA Tournament selection show and will now take on three-seeded New Mexico on Thursday in Salt Lake City in the West Regional bracket.
“It’s just a fun day; a great day for college basketball,” head coach Tommy Amaker said Sunday evening. “We’re excited to participate in this great tournament.”
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“It’s a testament to a wonderful year and a lot of hard work,” continued Amaker. “To have it come to this point in the year, to see your named called up there, it’s a very special, meaningful moment. I’m so proud of these guys and our whole team for putting us in that position.”
Harvard, 19-9 overall and 11-3 in the Ivy League, is led by All-Ivy first-teamers Siyani Chambers (who was also named Ivy League Rookie of the Year) and Wesley Saunders. With a younger squad, the expectations were not as high for the Crimson heading into the season, but they fought through some growing pains to claim their spot back in the big dance.
“Last year we were expected to be in this position,” said Amaker. “This year, a different set of circumstances and a different way we were able to get this point. None-the-less just as meaningful and in some ways, it’s even more impressive. With the youth of our team, the way these guys have responded, you cant say enough about what this team has done for this season.”
Thursday’s matchup is no easy task for the Crimson, as the Lobos finished the season ranked 15th nationally after posting a 29-5 record. New Mexico claimed the Mountain West Conference with a 63-56 victory over UNLV, and also took home the conference’s regular season title with a 13-3 record.
Thursday’s winner will face the winner of Belmont-Arizona in the next round.