Besides that devastating loss to Arizona in the Round of 32, this season has looked good for Harvard. They won their first ever NCAA Tournament game this year, creating a new hope for Crimson Basketball. And with a relatively young team, next season could bring bigger and better things for the team.
The Crimson’s win against New Mexico was an example of how much Harvard basketball has improved. That was their first ever NCAA Tournament win, and their first time on the national stage, in the hunt for the championship. They shut down the Lobos’ offense, who only shot 37.5%. Harvard also forced New Mexico to play long periods of defense with good passing and good rebounding, which tired the Lobos out and made it easier for Harvard to clinch the win. But the most impressive thing that Harvard pulled off was withstanding a comeback by New Mexico, and pulling off a comeback of its own to win. New Mexico came back in the second half and eventually led the game by two. Harvard responded by playing excellent defense and getting shots in on offense, leading to their victory.
The next game, Harvard lost badly to the Arizona Wildcats. Their offensive production was stopped and the net seemed to have a lid on it. The Wildcats limited Laurent Rivard to only 3 points, and the Crimson’s offense started to fall apart. They couldn’t stop Mark Lyons of the Wildcats, who had 27 points, 36% of the team’s total points.
Regardless of this recent loss, Harvard does have a pretty good team going into next season. Only Christian Webster is leaving, and Laurent Rivard is becoming a senior next year. The team will have their young stars, Kenyatta Smith, Wesley Saunders, Steve Moundou-Missi, and Jonah Travis back. They will also be expected to have Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry back (who were forced to take a temporary leave due to a cheating scandal). Kyle Casey was the leading scorer of the 2011-2012 team, and analysts were expecting Harvard to have an extremely poor season without him. Now that Harvard has seemed to do the impossible this year, who knows how much they can accomplish next year.
Follow us on Twitter: @BigPlayTweets