The day after Harvard upset New Mexico for its first NCAA tournament win in 102 years of basketball, the Crimson started preparing for Arizona.
SALT LAKE CITY — Harvard has John Kennedy, Henry Kissinger and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Arizona has Bob Dole, Barry Goldwater and a Kardashian sister.
So, yes, if their alumni were taping episodes of “This is Your Life,” it might not be a fair fight.
But this is March Madness, a basketball tournament that sets pedigrees and grade-point averages aside.
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“It’s kind of nice to break the stereotype that we’re the nerdy kids and show people that we can play basketball as well,” said sophomore Wesley Saunders, an L.A. kid who bypassed chances to play at USC and Colorado to join the Crimson.
The day after 14th-seeded Harvard (20-9) beat New Mexico 68-62 for its first NCAA tournament win in 102 years of basketball, the Crimson started preparing for its next game in the West Regional. Its Saturday opponent: Arizona, a program that sends players to the NBA regularly and has been to the Final Four four times.
But coach Sean Miller has warned his Wildcats (26-7) not to coast.
“Harvard is really good. What they just did to beat a team as talented as New Mexico, that speaks for itself,” he said.
Harvard has talent. Coach Tommy Amaker, who played at Duke, had a 2008-09 recruiting class that was listed as one of the nation’s 25 best by ESPN.
And despite losing captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry to an academic scandal, Harvard won the Ivy League title this season.
It put a chink in the feel-good story, but only for a moment.
“The facts are what they are,” Amaker said. “But I think our guys have been able to adjust. They’ve done it exceptionally well.”
• Pac-12 tournament champ Oregon (27-8) takes on Saint Louis (28-6) in San Jose, Calif., in the Midwest Regional. Ducks senior Arsalan Kazemi said family and friends in Iran are staying up late to watch. “Somehow my mom finds the games on her computer and watches,” he said.
• In the East Regional, Cal (21-11) will face a Syracuse (27-9) defense that 37th-year Orange coach Jim Boeheim says is one of his best. Syracuse ranks No. 2 nationally in shooting defense (36.3 percent). Coach Mike Montgomery’s Bears throttled UNLV on Thursday with a zone of their own.
• The NCAA tournament’s first full day earned its highest television rating in 19 years. Thursday’s games on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 5.5 fast national rating and 12 share, up 4 percent from 2012.
At Baylor 89, Arizona State 86
Pierre Jackson’s 26 points and 16 assists led Baylor (20-14) to a second-round victory. Carrick Felix scored 23 points and Jahii Carson, the top-scoring freshman in the country, had 20 for the Sun Devils (22-13).
At Iowa 75, Stony Brook 63
Roy Devyn Marble scored 28 points to help the Hawkeyes (23-12) hold off the Seawolves (25-8).