The Harvard Crimson (No. 14 seed) have provided the first major upset of the tournament with their shocking 68-62 win over the New Mexico Lobos (No. 3 seed) in Salt Lake City.
Many college basketball fans might have felt a little disappointed with the lack of stunning upsets on Thursday, but as they say, good things come to those who wait.
Few would have seen this win for Harvard coming, as big things were expected of New Mexico in this tournament, and the Crimson had never once won a tournament game in their history. Some experts even had the Lobos making the Final Four.
Well, kiss that idea goodbye.
For New Mexico, it was its defense that was its ultimate undoing. The Lobos out-rebounded the Crimson, had fewer turnovers and went to the free-throw line on more occasions. They did not, however, have an answer for the Harvard offense.
As a team, the Crimson shot 22-of-42 from the field, including 8-of-18 from three-point range. They received standout performances from Laurent Rivard and Wesley Saunders. Rivard went for 17 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Saunders added 18 points, three assists and four rebounds.
Both also shot better than 50 percent from the field, with all five of Rivard's made field goals coming from downtown.
At no point in this game did Harvard look like the worse team on the court. It was a deserved victory for the Crimson and coach Tommy Amaker.
To make the upset even bigger, only seven Harvard players showed up in the box score. Don't forget either that this Harvard team had lost its best two players prior to the season because of an academic scandal (h/t Craig Bennett of USA Today).
Jeremy Lin was quick on Twitter to offer his praise to his former school:
Jeremy Lin @JLin7
YYYYYEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!! HARVARD winssss!!! hahahahhah i told you.... #threepointgoggles #bracketbusters http://t.co/ZlpqTFCPtM3/22/2013, 4:23:25 AM
Kendall Williams and Tony Snell had rather forgettable performances for the Lobos. The top two leading scorers during the season, they only combined for only 5-of-18 from the field for 17 points. Had it not been for Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, who combined for 37 points, this game would have been over a lot sooner.
ESPN's J.A. Adande was far from positive regarding New Mexico and why the school doesn't receive major attention:
J.A. Adande @jadande
New Mexico, one of those teams no one talks about, showing why no one talks about them.3/22/2013, 3:30:19 AM
On the other hand, Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports felt the performance by New Mexico was very out of character for what the Lobos did during the regular season:
Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg
Media who have covered the MWC are stunned here in San Jose, and so am I. If you saw New Mexico last week in Vegas, you would be too.3/22/2013, 4:07:22 AM
Dan Wolken of USA Today couldn't believe the kind of performance he saw from Harvard:
Dan Wolken @DanWolken
This Harvard team was not very good this year. I am absolutely shocked this is happening.3/22/2013, 4:08:44 AM
Of course, Not Bill Walton chose to evoke Coronado in describing the Lobos' disappointment:
Not Bill Walton @NotBillWalton
Not since Coronado failed to find the mythical Seven Cities of Gold has New Mexico looked this worthless.3/22/2013, 4:11:40 AM
ESPN revealed just how much the Lobos were favored and how many brackets could possibly be wrecked as a result of this game:
95% of Tournament Challenge entries picked New Mexico to advance over Harvard. This game is has HUGE implications.3/22/2013, 3:59:24 AM
Harvard will now face the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday in the next round.
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