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The Ivy League in the NCAA Tournament this century
March Madness brings with it one of sport's unique cliche dichotomies. That bracket looks like this:
"In the NCAA Tournament, it's all about matchups" vs. "There's always a 12-seed upsetting a 5-seed."
There's an inherent contradiction there, but so be it. Hence, the "madness" of this month, which actually is scheduled to last into the following month as well.
One of those 12 vs. 5 games catching some buzz around various TV and radio guest spots by analysts, and other places such as the Internet, is No. 12 Harvard vs. No. 5 Cincinnati. (Bonus inherent contradiction: The game, scheduled for Thursday at 2:10 p.m. ET on TNT, is part of the East Region and is being played in Spokane, Wash.)
Harvard (26-4), the Ivy League champion, could very well beat Cincinnati (27-6) in that game, but it won't have much to do with 12-seeds and 5-seeds and matchups. It would be because the Crimson played better than the Bearcats for the right two hours on a Thursday.
Or, the big bad Bearcats out of the American Athletic Conference will beat the Crimson of the one-bid automatic qualifier Ivy League for that same reason.
The Ivy League as a whole has struggled in the NCAA Tournament, as you might expect. Harvard won its opening round game last year as a 14-seed, upsetting No. 3 New Mexico. The Cornell team of 2010 is the only Ivy League school since the turn of the century to win more than one tournament game, reaching the Sweet Sixteen before running into top-seeded Kentucky.
Here's a look at how the Ivy League has done in the NCAA Tournament since the 21st century began: