Vanderbilt will be stiff test for Harvard in NCAA Tournament

Brandyn Curry looks for the open man against Columbia earlier this month.

Vanderbilt is sometimes referred to as the “Harvard of the South,” whereas those on the Nashville campus like to look at Harvard as the “Vanderbilt of the North.”

Clearly, the two institutions take their academic reputations very seriously. However, when they tangle on the hardwood Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament, you will see few similarities.

The fifth-seeded Commodores have a great go-to guy in guard John Jenkins, who topped the SEC in scoring and leads the nation in 3-pointers, and plenty of size up front. Harvard starts nobody over 6-foot-8, has a leading scorer in Kyle Casey who averages just 11.3 points per game and is one of the stingiest defensive teams in the nation.

If the Crimson assert themselves early, set a defensive tone and get some production on the other end from Casey and a few others, they may be OK. But if Jenkins gets going and big men like 6-foot-11 Festus Ezeli and Lance Goulbourne prove too much along the frontline, Harvard could fall to 0-3 all-time in the NCAAs, the first two losses taking place 66 years ago in the Crimson’s last trip to the tourney.

And if (yes, another if) Harvard pulls off the upset (the 12-seed has won this game seven times in the last four years), a possible date with Wisconsin looms in the second round. The Badgers lead the nation in scoring defense (52.9 points per game) while the Crimson ranks fourth (54.8). The first to 45 may take that one.

First things first, however. In regards to Vanderbilt, here’s a little more to get you primed for the Crimson’s first NCAA tournament game since March 23, 1946.

When and where:
Thursday, 4:40 p.m., Albuquerque, N.M., TNT
Record vs. tournament teams: Harvard 2-1, Vanderbilt 6-5
Key matchup: Harvard F Keith Wright vs. Vanderbilt C Festus Ezeli – The two biggest starters in the contest will be central in the battle of the boards. Despite giving up three inches and about 20 pounds, Wright grabbed nearly three rebounds more per game. Goulbourne, a senior like Ezeli, led the Commodores on the glass this season.

Matching wits

Breaking down the Harvard-Vanderbilt matchup:
   
Numerically speaking: Seniors made 40 percent of Harvard’s starts this season. They comprised 79 percent of Vanderbilt’s.

Harvard ranks 27th in the nation in free-throw percentage at 74.6.

SEC?tournament In Vandy’s run to the tournament title, in which they beat No. 1 overall seeded Kentucky, John Jenkins shot 32-of-his 41 shots from deep…



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.