On an annual basis, there are one or two teams that shock the nation in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and as of Monday afternoon, there was a legit chance that a pair of Cinderellas would be representing Boston in next week’s Big Dance.
Unfortunately for Hub hoops fans, Northeastern was unable to hang with James Madison Monday night, falling 70-57, and leaving the city with Harvard as, likely, its lone rep.
The Dukes raced out to a 13-5 lead over NU Monday and built a 20-point (26-6) lead just 13 minutes into the game. The Huskies had been down 24 points on Sunday to George Mason, but clawed back to grab a stunner of a win. Though NU cut James Madison’s lead to just eight with under 10 minutes to go, there was no miracle comeback this time.
Harvard, meanwhile, punched its ticket to the tournament Sunday by beating Cornell, 65-56, and capturing the Ivy League title. The Ivy League is the only league to have an automatic bid tied to its regular season champion and is without a conference tournament. The Crimson were a 14-seed on ESPN.com’s “Bracketology” page yesterday and could face a powerhouse like a Michigan State, Michigan or Florida right off the bat in the NCAAs. Selection Sunday is March 17 when the Crimson will learn their seed and who and where they’ll be playing.
Boston College is the eight-seed and is matched up against Georgia Tech in Thursday’s first round (noon) of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.. If the Eagles can thwart the Yellow Jackets they would meet the No. 1 seeded Miami Hurricanes on Friday.