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Harvard wins first Ivy League title, first NCAA spot since ’46

Tommy Amaker

FILE - In this March 12, 2011, file photo, Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker gestures during first half of an NCAA college basketball game in a playoff for the Ivy League championship against Princeton at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Harvard (8-0) entered the rankings at No. 25 on Monday, Dec. 6_ the first Ivy League school to be ranked since Princeton made the top 10 late in the 1997-98 season, and just the third from the conference in the rankings since 1970. It’s another milestone for a program that shared the Ivy League title last year _ its first-ever conference championship. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)


Princeton jumped out to a 21-6 lead on Penn on Tuesday night in New Jersey in the final game of the Ivy League’s regular season.

The Quakers fought back, cutting the lead to three at one point in the second half, but Princeton was able to pull away down the stretch, winning 62-52. Ian Hummer was fantastic, finishing with 18 points, 10 boards, four assists, four blocks and three steals for the Tigers. Zack Rosen, Penn’s star point guard, shot just 8-24 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times.

Why is this game significant?

A win for Penn would have meant that there was a tie for first place in the Ivy League. Since the Ivy doesn’t have a tournament, this would have forced another one-game playoff for the league title. But because of the loss, Harvard pulled off one of the rarest achievements in college basketball: it earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (its first since ’46) by sitting on their couch at home.

Well, sitting on their couch may not exactly be accurate. The team is studying for midterms. Seriously. That is so Harvard. And for the record, I don’t believe for a second that anyone on that team is going to be very productive tonight.

Once Tommy Amaker’s program gets through those midterms, it is headed to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history.

And for the first-time ever, the Harvard Crimson can call themselves the Ivy League champions.

I believe a congratulations is in order.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.