Courtney Banghart named coach at North Carolina, ending dominant run at Princeton

Courtney Banghart compiled a 254-103 (.711) overall record and 137-31 Ivy record (.816) in 12 seasons at Princeton while winning 89 more games than any other coach in program history. She now heads to North Carolina. (UNC Athletics)

Courtney Banghart took over as head coach at Princeton in 2007 aged just 29 with only four years as an assistant coach at her alma mater Dartmouth.

She leaves Princeton with 254 career victories and seven Ivy League championships, leading Princeton to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and then seven more en route to notching more than 36% of the program’s wins in its 48-year history herself.

North Carolina named Banghart its head coach Tuesday, seeing her as the key to a refreshing program restart after the messy exit of predecessor Sylvia Hatchell, who resigned earlier this month after 33 years at the helm in Chapel Hill, including a national championship in 1994, following an independent investigation finding that she made racially insensitive remarks to her players and pressured some to play through injury.

In its announcement of the Banghart hire, North Carolina Athletics led off by touting Banghart’s leadership credentials.

Read moreCourtney Banghart named coach at North Carolina, ending dominant run at Princeton

Harvard all-time moment No. 7: Harvard’s amazing comeback vs. North Carolina in first round of 2015 NCAA Tournament

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Harvard is next because …go Knicks!

March 15, 2015 was Selection Sunday, and Harvard fans and players gathered in the Murr Center in Cambridge to see who the Crimson would face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was the fourth consecutive year the Crimson would be dancing. In the previous three years, they had faced three solid teams in Vanderbilt, New Mexico and Cincinnati. Then the brackets were revealed, and Harvard learned that this year it was matched against perennial national championship contender North Carolina. Everyone knew this year would be different.

Read moreHarvard all-time moment No. 7: Harvard’s amazing comeback vs. North Carolina in first round of 2015 NCAA Tournament

Princeton all-time moment No. 4: 1997-98 Ivy champions

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Joseph Stalin’s daughter defected to. In Soviet Russia as in the United States, Princeton offense runs you!

Bill Carmody, an honorary member of the Class of 1975, joined Pete Carril’s staff in 1982. He spent the next 14 productive and mostly glorious seasons watching and learning. When Carril decided to retire after winning his final Ivy title on a heart-stopping three pointer by Sydney Johnson in a playoff against Penn (who else?), he made it known that no one was better qualified to succeed him than Bill Carmody.

Bill’s all too-brief four year tenure as head coach was among the most dominant periods ever in the long history of Tiger hoops. His overall record was 92-25. In the Ivy League he was 50-6, including a remarkable 28-0 in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 4: 1997-98 Ivy champions

Final thoughts on the 2014-15 Harvard season

Harvard took North Carolina to the wire last week in Jacksonville, bowing 67-65 to the Tar Heels in the Crimson's sixth NCAA tournament game since 2012. (Rob Crawford)
Harvard took North Carolina to the wire last week in Jacksonville, bowing 67-65 to the Tar Heels in the Crimson’s sixth NCAA tournament game since 2012. (Rob Crawford)

A few days after watching Harvard’s season end in Jacksonville with Wesley Saunders’ final shot clanking off the rim and backboard, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the Crimson season that was. Amid the shock and nostalgia comes perspective … and withdrawal. Here are my final thoughts on Harvard’s memorable 2014-15 season:

Read moreFinal thoughts on the 2014-15 Harvard season

2015-16 IHO Powerless Poll

Ben Franklin AQ 3Now that Harvard has been vanquished by North Carolina, Ivy basketball is officially over for the summer.  Since no one is still playing, you could say we are all equally impotent—or are we?  Thus, I give you the first annual IHO Powerless Poll. Naturally, as is my custom, I will rank teams according to how I view them from most feeble to strongest.

8. Cornell: Now that Shonn Miller is headed to some Power 5 school, the natural order of the Ivy will magically be restored and the Red can return to their rightful place at the bottom. Yes, Bill Courtney did make a nice recovery from the disaster that was the 2013-14 season, but success in Ithaca is as fleeting as the four days of summer that town is allotted each year. Look out below.

Read more2015-16 IHO Powerless Poll

North Carolina ekes past Harvard, 67-65

Wesley Saunders scored 26 points in his final collegiate game Thursday night. (zimbio.com)
Wesley Saunders scored 26 points in his final collegiate game Thursday night. (zimbio.com)

So close. So very close.

After trailing 50-34 with 16:36 remaining in its NCAA tournament matchup with North Carolina, Harvard looked done. The No. 13 Crimson looked one-dimensional nearly the entire game up to that point, with that dimension being senior guard Wesley Saunders.

But a true team comeback propelled Harvard to its first lead of the game with 1:17 remaining, and Saunders had a chance to win the game with a three-pointer as time expired. The shot hit the glass and rim before popping out, ending Harvard’s season and giving No. 4 North Carolina the 67-65 victory in Jacksonville.

Read moreNorth Carolina ekes past Harvard, 67-65

North Carolina leads Harvard at halftime, 36-25

No. 4 North Carolina leads No. 13 Harvard at halftime in Jacksonville, 36-25.

It’s been a game of many runs so far, and a whole lot of Wesley Saunders. The Harvard senior guard posted 15 points in the stanza, including the Crimson’s first 10 points. It took 10:56 for a Harvard player other than Saunders to score, and at one point, Harvard was shooting 1-for-14 outside of Saunders.

And yet the Crimson reeled off a 16-5 run in 6:04, cutting North Carolina’s lead to 26-23 before the Tar Heels in turn bounced back to finish the half on a 10-2 run driven by sophomore forward Isiah Hicks, who leads UNC with nine points off the bench.

Eight Tar Heels have scored, many of them notching easy buckets in transition off of long rebounds. Still, three Tar Heels also have two fouls – freshman forward Justin Jackson and junior forwards Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto.

Can Harvard ride Saunders to another improbable victory? We’re about to find out.

Should you root for Harvard?

Don
Don”t you just love watching Harvard celebrate? Oh right, you probably don”t. (gocrimson.com)

With Harvard set to take on North Carolina Thursday in the Crimson’s fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance, Peter Andrews and I debate whether non-Harvard Ivy hoops fans should root for the Crimson to win their third straight opening NCAA tourney game.

MT: Look, I know you probably hate Harvard. And you have every reason to.

The cheating scandal that forced Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry to withdraw from the team in 2012-13 only to win another Ivy title the following year.

The loosening of academic standards for basketball players.

The sending of an assistant out on “unethical recruiting trips.”

The way Harvard teases Ivy fans every year by getting entangled in close games against underdog conference competition only to emerge victorious almost every time. (The Crimson have won five straight games this season decided by three points or fewer.)

But Harvard beating UNC wouldn’t be so bad.

Read moreShould you root for Harvard?

Harvard-UNC: What to expect

As mentioned in Tuesday’s On the Vine podcast, pace of game will determine whether Harvard can win a NCAA tournament game for the third straight season.

The Tar Heels are 1-5 in games with fewer than 65 possessions, while Harvard has played in only eight games this season with more than 65 possessions. In other words, the slower the game, the more successful the Crimson are likely to be.

Harvard ranks 34th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, and North Carolina has been a turnover-prone team all season, prone to poor passing and occasionally pushing tempo at the expense of smart offense.

Read moreHarvard-UNC: What to expect

No. 13 Harvard to play No. 4 UNC in NCAA first round

No. 13 Harvard (22-7, 11-3 Ivy)  will play No. 4 North Carolina (24-11, 11-7 ACC) in the West Region in Jacksonville Thursday in the Crimson’s fourth straight NCAA appearance. The game will tip off at 7:20 p.m. Thursday on TNT.

The Crimson clinched their NCAA bid Saturday with a 53-51 win over Yale in the Ivy playoff game at the Palestra. Harvard defeated Cincinnati as a 12 seed last season before losing to then-No. 4 Michigan State. In 2013, Harvard defeated New Mexico as a 14 seed before losing to then-No. 6 Arizona.

The matchup interestingly pits Harvard coach and Duke grad Tommy Amaker against the Tar Heels, which made best online casino the round of 32 last season as a 6 seed before losing to then-No. 9 Iowa State. North Carolina has never lost its first game in the NCAA tournament under coach Roy Williams, who took over at UNC in 2003, and Williams has never lost an opening-round game in 24 NCAA tourney appearances at UNC and Kansas.

The last time UNC played an Ivy League team in the NCAA tournament was 2001, when No. 2 North Carolina defeated No. 15 Princeton, 70-48. No. 1 North Carolina also defeated No. 16 Penn in 1987, 113-82, eight years after losing to the No. 9 Quakers as a 1 seed in 1979, as Penn went on to a Final Four appearance.