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NCAA Tournament Recap: Harvard Upsets Cincinnati

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Turns out the rules of basketball are pretty clear. Most important among them is that you need to outscore your opponent to win. Cincinnati doesn't understand.

You've gotta be prepared, especially for an NCAA Tournament game. Cincinnati didn't get the memo, apparently, because the Bearcats' staff left Jermaine Sanders' name out of the official game book. No big deal, right? He's got a jersey with his name on it. Look in the media notes, freely distributed in the arena, and you'll see he's fifth on the team in minutes per game.

He's clearly not some ringer pulled off the streets of Spokane.

Rules are rules though, and not being in the official game book is an administrative technical foul. The officials realized this at the under-twelve media timeout, by which point Sanders had played an uneventful five minutes.

Of course this sort of oversight would come against a team like Harvard, far too smart and well-prepared to miss something so trivial but important.

Jermaine Sanders' absence wouldn't help, but it was far from the worst thing going for the Bearcats. A general inability to shoot the ball had more of an impact.

Cincinnati is defensive team, so a poor shooting day wasn't unexpected. Well, maybe an 11-31 first half performance was a bit unexpected.

Harvard's offense struggled but, unlike Cincinnati, Harvard actually has an offense. Two possessions illustrated that, and in turn the game as a whole.

First, with just over eight minutes to play in the first, Harvard had the ball out of a timeout. The Crimson couldn't find a look, much less an open one, at the basket. Cincinnati's defense swarmed for about 30 seconds before Brandyn Curry heaved a three pointer that fell well short of the basket. Evan Cummins caught the miss but his lay-up was blocked. The block caromed back out to Curry, who swished a three with one second left on the shot clock.

A great defensive possession, for 35 seconds, yet it still resulted in three points for the opposition.

Second, midway through the second half, Wesley Saunders found himself trapped under the basket by three Bearcats. He tried and he tried and he tried again to go up with the ball, but he just couldn't. Each shot hit the hand of a Cincinnati defender before falling back into his own. Finally the ball rolled to Kyle Casey, who also failed to put the ball up. Except, he was fouled.

Casey missed the second free throw but the Crimson came down with the rebound.

This game stayed close because Harvard proved incapable of scoring if not being defended. From the line the Crimson were just 17-28.

Sean Kilpatrick did his best, scoring 18 points, but it wasn't enough. Even he failed to make a majority of his shots. The team made 21 of 57 attempts.

The Crimson were a 14 seed last season when they upset No. 3 New Mexico in the first round. This year it's Cinderella again, but with a bit more respect, No. 12 over No. 5.