Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Harvard Hoops: National Powerhouse?

For the past month the Harvard University Crimson have been ranked in the top 25 in the country in Men's Basketball.  They peaked at #21 a few weeks ago, and despite an upset loss to Fordham Jan. 3, they still managed to hang on to the #25 spot in the poll last week.  This week they've climbed back up to #24.  Being ranked for 5 consecutive weeks is a pretty impressive feat for a team from the "no-athletic-scholarship" Ivy League.  But consider this: the Crimson have already played far and away the toughest teams on their schedule.  They are 15-2 this season (their other loss was to #11 UConn), and have beaten Holy Cross, BU, BC (not so impressive), George Washington, St. Joe's, Central Florida, Utah, and Loyola Marymount, among others.  Harvard's most impressive win was over Florida State, who at the time was ranked #20, and just the other day demolished #3 North Carolina 90-57.

So here's my point: usually top 25 schools beat up on a bunch of cupcake teams from weaker leagues in the first half of the season; in an attempt to build their tournament resumes and get some needed wins before having to fight through their conference schedules.  But for Harvard it's the opposite.  They're supposed to be one of those cupcakes.  And now all they have left to play are other Ivy League teams.  There's a decent chance they could run the table and finish 28-2.  If the Crimson rose a spot or two in the polls each week, they very well could finish the regular season on the brink of the top 10.  I doubt anyone would actually believe they are one of the ten best teams in the country, but that scenario is a definite possibility.

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