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

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

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?