Let’s Play Two: Ivies hope to put 2nd team in NCAA

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With a tournament field that has expanded to 68 teams, there is room for three more than last year. And the conference’s recent success in the event could also work in Harvard’s favor.

Last year, Cornell made it to the round of 16 before losing to No. 1-seed Kentucky in the East Region semifinals. Harvard guard Brandyn Curry remembers watching the Big Red knock off Temple and Wisconsin _ schools with long basketball pedigrees _ and thinking the Ivies’ time had come.

“It gave the Ivy League some respectability,” he said. “I don’t think anybody will take an Ivy League team lightly anymore.”

Former Cornell coach Steve Donahue, who left for Boston College after the season, agreed.

“I think Harvard and Princeton are two of the best teams in the country,” he said, even though an at-large Ivy bid could come at BC’s expense. “They deserve it.”

Vitale noted that strange things can happen in other conference tournaments that eat up the available at-large bids. So, he has some advice for the Crimson as they head into the Saturday’s game.

“Go for the knockout punch,” he said, “and win.”

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