PRINCETON, N.J.. -- Ivy League men's basketball is in the midst of its greatest postseason run in its 58-year history with four wins in its first five postseason games. League teams have showcased a flare for the dramatics with an upset victory by Harvard in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, last-second thrillers by Columbia and Yale in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and a one-point road win by Princeton in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
No. 12 seed Harvard answered the predictions of various pundits with a near wire-to-wire win over No. 5 seed Cincinnati in an NCAA Tournament second-round game in Spokane, Wash. The Crimson led all but just under four minutes and was ahead of the Bearcats from the 13:34 mark in the first half until time expired on the 61-57 victory. Harvard is making the 71st NCAA Tournament appearance for an Ivy League team and the 57th for the League since its first official season The Crimson is in the postseason for the fifth-straight year -- 2009-10 (CIT), 2010-11 (NIT), 2011-12 (NCAA), 2012-13 (NCAA) and 2013-14 (NCAA) -- which is the longest streak since Penn advanced to seven-straight postseasons from 1995-96 to 2001-02.
Columbia and Yale provided back-to-back, buzzer-beating wins in the CIT first round. First, sophomore guard Maodo Lo hit a step-back jumper as time expired to give the Lions a 58-56 victory at Valparaiso. The next night, sophomore forward Justin Sears banked a three-pointer with just seven tenths of a second on the clock to send the Bulldogs to a thrilling 69-68 victory over nearby rival Quinnipiac. The wins were the Ivy League's first in the CIT and moved the conference's record to 2-3 (.400) in five CIT appearances. Yale is back in the postseason for the sixth time (3 NCAA, 1 NIT, 2 CIT), while Columbia is back in the postseason since three NCAA Tournament appearances in 1947-48, 1950-51 and 1967-68.
Princeton fought off a tough Tulane squad to squeak out a 56-55 victory on the Green Wave's home court in a CBI first-round matchup. The Tigers held off Tulane's 7-0 run in the final 90 seconds to hold on to the one-point victory. The win moved the League's record to 5-4 (.556) in five CBI appearances. Princeton is back in the postseason for the 32nd time (24 NCAA, 5 NIT and 3 CBI) and the fourth time in five seasons.
The Ivy League boasts a record five teams in the postseason and multiple teams in the postseason for the fourth time in five years. The League has three or more teams advancing to postseason play for the fourth time in conference history (2001-02, 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2013-14). The League's previous high was four postseason teams -- Harvard (NCAA), Penn and Princeton (CBI) and Yale (CIT) -- just two seasons ago.
Saturday, March 22
CIT Second Round
Eastern Michigan at Columbia, 7 pm
Yale at Holy Cross, 7 pm
NCAA East Region Third Round
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Wash.
(12) Harvard vs. (4) Michigan State, 8:40 pm [TNT]
Monday, March 24
Princeton at Fresno State, 10 pm
Tuesday-Thursday, March 25-27
Wednesday, March 26
Friday & Sunday, March 28 & 30
NCAA East Regional
Madison Square Garden, New York
Monday, March 31, Wednesday, April 2 &
Friday, April 4
CBI Championship Series
Tuesday, April 1
Thursday, April 3
Saturday, April 6
NCAA National Semifinals
AT&T Stadium, North Texas
Monday, April 8
NCAA National Championship
AT&T Stadium, North Texas
TNT – Turner Network Television (DirecTV 245, DISH 138, Verizon FiOS 51 [SD]/551 [HD], AT&T U-verse 108 [SD]/1108 [HD])