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Introducing Cinderella: Meet the Harvard Crimson

Wesley Saunders, Javier Duren, Greg Kelley

AP Photo


Wesley Saunders, Javier Duren, Greg Kelley

AP Photo


Conference: Ivy

Coach: Tommy Amaker

Record: 22-7 (11-3)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 79
RPI (per 62
AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding: The Crimson are looking at a No. 13 or No. 14 seed in this year’s tournament.

Names you need to know: Wesley Saunders (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.3 apg), Siyani Chambers (9.9 ppg, 4.4 apg), Steve Moundou-Missi (9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg)

Stats you need to know: The Crimson are very, very good defensively. Despite playing an Ivy League schedule, they rank 32nd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, and they do it through the kind of physical, fundamental defense you would expect out of a team in the Ivy. They force tough shots, they clean up the defensive glass and they don’t take risks going for steals or blocked shots.

Tendencies: Defensively, the Crimson are rock solid. Offensively, it’s a bigger question mark. They like to control tempo, but they are no where near as efficient as teams like Virginia and Wisconsin. They don’t really have any low-post scorers, and just 22.0 percent of their points come from the three-point line, which is 314th nationally. When it comes down to it, their offense is, essentially, Saunders and Chambers making plays.

Big wins, bad losses: Harvard has some solid wins this season, beating Yale twice, knocking off Northeastern and beating UMass. But they lost to Boston College and Holy Cross, among others.

How’d they get here?: The Crimson had a wild ride to the Ivy’s automatic bid. They lost to Yale in Cambridge last Friday, but the Elis went to Dartmouth and lost on the next night, making a tie for first in the conference and setting up a one-game playoff in the Palestra. Here’s how that ended, via college basketball’s dog vomit expert, Matt Norlander:

Outlook: Harvard has size, athleticism and depth up front and they pair that with a terrific back court -- Saunders and Chambers -- that has already won twice in the NCAA tournament. They’re staunch defensively and can score just enough to compete with some of the nation’s best. They need the right matchup, but they can win a game.

How do I know you?: Harvard has won a game in each of the last two NCAA tournaments. They beat No. 3 New Mexico in 2013 and No. 5 Cincinnati in 2014.