Story and photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For the first time since 1946, the Harvard men's basketball team will play in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championshi, as the Crimson earned the Ivy League's automatic berth to the field of 68.
Harvard, which has set a school record with 26 victories this season, clinched the conference's automatic bid with Princeton's 62-52 win over Penn Tuesday night. This will be Harvard's second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history.
"We are thrilled and honored to have an opportunity to compete in the 2012 NCAA tournament," said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker, who is in his fifth season with the Crimson. "This is a tremendous moment for Harvard University, our basketball program and our community. Go Crimson!"
Harvard, which stands at 26-4 overall, finished 12-2 in the Ivy League, earning its second straight conference crown and its first outright title. The Crimson went 11-1 at home, 12-3 in road contests and 3-0 in neutral games. Harvard earned the first national ranking in program history, reaching as high as No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 22 in the AP poll.
The Crimson opened the season 8-0, winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas in November by defeating Utah, Florida State and Central Florida. Harvard won nine straight games from Jan. 7-Feb. 10 to improve to 21-2 overall, marking the best start in program history.
On March 3, Harvard clinched its second-consecutive Ivy League title by winning on the road at Cornell by a score of 67-63. The Crimson's 26 wins so far this season are a program record.
Harvard awaits Sunday's NCAA tournament selection show, which will be broadcast live nationally on CBS at 6 p.m. EST.