Friday, March 22, 2013

WHRB Coverage of Harvard vs. Arizona in NCAA Third Round to begin at 5:45 PM EST Saturday

SALT LAKE CITY--After their upset win over the New Mexico Lobos Thursday, the Harvard Crimson Men's Basketball team returns to 95.3 FM WHRB for the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 23rd. WHRB’s coverage begins with an extended edition of the Harvard Crimson Pregame show at 5:45 PM EST, leading into the opening tip at 6:10 PM EST. Charlie Hobbs (PbP), Brecka Fetzer (Color), and Ben Zauzmer (Color) will be live from EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City with the call.

The Crimson will face off against the number 6-seeded Arizona Wildcats for the chance to advance to play in the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles, California. The Wildcats, who were at one point mid-season ranked number three in the nation, defeated the Belmont Bruins 81-64 in their second-round contest. Arizona was led in part by senior guard Mark Lyons, who shot 8-15 from the floor (3-7 from three) and 4-5 from the charity stripe, tallying 23 points.

Lyons, a Wildcat stalwart who averaged 15.0 points per game in the regular season, is part of a top three of double digit scorers for Arizona that includes 6’7 senior forward Solomon Hill (13.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG) and sophomore guard Nick Johnson (11.7 PPG, 3.2 APG). Kaleb Johnson, a 7’0 freshman, adds considerable size to the Wildcat starting five, and was a big contributor to Arizona’s 44-18 rebounding advantage over Belmont Thursday afternoon.

“As the game wore on we really got the ball inside, and as we got the ball inside a lot of good things followed,” said Arizona Coach Sean Miller of his squad’s effort against Belmont. “I think that shows the level of effort that we played with and whether it was defensive or offensive rebounding taking advantage of our strengths versus [undersized] Belmont.”

14-Seed Harvard Captures First Ever NCAA Tournament Win, Upsets New Mexico 68-62

By: Ben Zauzmer

SALT LAKE CITY--Since 1900, Harvard has played basketball. Since 1939, the Crimson have held hopes of winning a March Madness game. And on March 21, 2013, that dream finally came true.

The 14-seeded Crimson made one of the nation’s top defenses appear defenseless, stunning the 3-seeded New Mexico Lobos 68-62 at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. And along the way, they stunned the nation as well. “Harvard” became the number one trending word on Twitter, and basketball fans across America have suddenly noticed the newest comer to the national scene.

It was not an entirely smooth ride to the finish. Kenyatta Smith, Steve Moundou-Missi, Jonah Travis, and Christian Webster all got into foul trouble, but Coach Tommy Amaker utilized a series of substitutions to get as much as possible out of each forward.

“We were juggling a little bit, deciding who we wanted on the floor,” said Harvard Head Coach Tommy Amaker after the game. “Sometimes when you’re in foul trouble you play passive. We needed to maintain a certain aggression on the frontline…and I thought our kids did a really nice job of that.”

New Mexico big men Alex Kirk (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Cameron Bairstow (12 points, 9 rebounds), kept the game close, but Harvard effectively shut down star guards Kendall Williams and Tony Snell to stymie the Lobos offense.

“Wesley [Saunders] had to guard Tony Snell who is an outstanding player and a big-time prospect,” said Amaker, “[and] we had to chase those guys and dig in.”

This was the first win against a top-ten team in program, fueled by Laurent Rivard’s five three-pointers, Wesley Saunders 18 points, and Kenyatta Smith’s seven rebounds. When asked to describe the scene in the locker room after the win, Saunders only needed one word: “jubilation.”

For a school more associated with people who use such four-syllable words than people who use four-guard rotations, Harvard’s win is that much bigger. But there will be little rest for the victors: the Crimson face the 6-seed Arizona Wildcats on Saturday at 4:10 Mountain Time (6:10 Eastern). That game will be broadcast live on 95.3 FM WHRB-Cambridge by Charlie Hobbs (play-by-play), Brecka Fetzer (color), and Ben Zauzmer (color). Keep it tuned to WHRB’s Blog for more details on our extended pregame coverage.

The Wildcats will not be pushovers by any means, especially after they tore apart the 11-seed Belmont Bruins earlier Thursday by an 81-64 final. But the Crimson showed tonight that with tight defense and just enough offense, they can convince 20,000 fans – and an entire country – to believe in the underdog.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jesse! We'll Cook in the Round of 64!

For the second consecutive year, Harvard Men's Basketball has made the tourney.  For the second consecutive year, there's a New Mexico connection.  Last year the Crimson faced Vanderbilt in The Pit, on the campus of the University of New Mexico.  Today they get a crack at the Lobos themselves, in Salt Lake City.  I don't know anything about basketball, but I love looking at Wikipedia.  Consider this your compendium of off-court knowledge in advance of tonight's showdown.

The University of New Mexico
-Founded in 1889 by legislative decree
-27,197 students are enrolled at UNM for the Spring 2013 semester
-19,464 of those are undergraduates
-15,047 of those are full-time students
-UNM has more undergrads who identify as "Hispanic" than who do as "White"
-402 students list their prior residence as Dona Ana County, home of New Mexico State University. Turncoats.
-Exactly one student lists his/her prior residence as Harding County
-Besides basketball, UNM athletics is famous for 1) Brian Urlacher and 2) that is all. 

-Hosted Harvard last year
-Have you watched even five minutes of Breaking Bad
-Or what about The Hills Have Eyes
-Albuquerque needs to triple funding to its tourism board, because Hollywood has me convinced that New Mexico is a terrifying hellworld. 

Salt Lake City
-Home of WHRB Sports' own Anton Khodakov
-Only a 10-hour drive from ABQ. Luckily UNM's Spring Break was last week.  Regardless, I expect a pro-Lobo zoo
-Located in the Great Basin, but pretty much abutting the western edge of the Rocky Mountains 
-Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young
-In 1856, SLC cruelly stole the title of Capital of the Utah Territory from Fillmore. Fillmore has been getting on just fine, though, thank you very much. 
-Was (sort of close to) the site of the "Golden Spike", marking the ceremonial completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad
-That was basically it for excitement until 1979, when New Orleans Jazz showed up

Friday, March 8, 2013

ECAC Men's Hockey First Round Predictions

#9 Cornell at #8 Princeton
The Big Red are riding a 4-1-1 streak into the playoffs.  The Tigers had been heading the other way, but they cobbled together a three-pointer last weekend.  These two last met a month ago; Princeton limped away from Lynah with a 1-0 win on the back of a Mike Condon's 39-save shutout.  Greg Miller against Michael Sdao should be fun; I think Cornell's got the deeper team.  Big Red in 3.

#10 Clarkson at #7 Brown
I can't figure Clarkson out at all.  Can you?  Please help.  Brown's Anthony Morelli appears to be some sort of trickster demon bent on taking goals from us humans.  Maybe over the short burst of hockey that is the best-of-three Greg Lewis can match--or at least come close--his counterpart. If not, Bruno should get by.  Bears in 3.

#11 Colgate at #6 St Lawrence
I...I think the Raiders can take this thing.  I don't believe in St Lawrence's depth (said the foolish coureur des bois).  Jeremy Price and Thomas Larkin were pretty impressive in my viewings this year; if they can hold Kyle Flanagan, Greg Carey and Jeremy Wick to, say, three goals in three games, the 'Gate ought to have a chance.  That said, it's in Canton, so I'll push it SLU's way.  Saints in 3.

#12 Harvard at #5 Dartmouth
Eep.  So.  I want to believe.  Dartmouth took three of four points from the Crimson this year, but both games were pretty close.  Both teams had been playing fairly well before last Saturday, when they each laid a hefty egg.  The Everson-Criscuolo-Hart line had been killing it all February for the Crimson.  If they can give Harvard a couple goals this weekend, and keep cycling the puck like madmen, it will go a long way towards the on-paper upset.

Assuming that line stays intact, I'm still at a loss as to how to organize the other lines.  Vesey's an animal, and Fallstrom, O'Regan, Blackwell, Gozzo, and Greiner have each had solid years.  Still, I can't help but feel that there must exist some combination thereof that would give the Crimson at least one other real killer line.  Whatever that combo might be, the recent experiment of Vesey-Fallstrom and O'Regan-Greiner-Morison has not really yielded the results I'd hoped for, and I expect/would like to see a shake-up this weekend.

The Big Green are led up front by Tyler Sikura and his 19 points in 22 league games.  Whether it's Biega-Jaw, Ford-Rempel, or Next-Man-Up drawing that assignment this weekend, marking Sikura will be the Crimson's biggest challenge this weekend.

The goalie situation is similar.  The top end forwards are similar.  The Big Green have better scoring depth, and home ice.  Based on that, the pick should be Dartmouth.  Which is why I'll say Crimson in 3.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Final ECAC Power Rankings

Headed into the playoffs, several teams aren't playing up to their spot in the standings...

1. Quinnipiac -- 17-2-3 (24-5-5), 1st
...and the Bobcats aren't one of those teams. Quinnipiac is the oldest and deepest team in the conference. Ranked first in the nation, they don't need to win the ECAC to make the NCAA tournament, but anything less would be disappointing.

2. Union -- 10-8-4 (17-12-5), 4th
The #20 Dutchmen barely earned a first-round bye and have only played .500 hockey over the last month. But their experience and incredible group of defensemen playing in front of Troy Grosenick give them a strong advantage in the post-season.

3. RPI -- 12-7-3 (17-12-5), 2nd
The #17 Engineers have charged up the table with wins in 9 of their last 10 by dominating puck possession. The games haven't been close either, with seven wins coming by three goals or more. Ahead of Union and tied for 14th in the PairWise Ranking, they need a strong tournament showing to secure an NCAA nomination.

4. Yale -- 12-9-1 (16-10-3), 3rd
After dropping five in a row at the beginning of February, the #13 Bulldogs have righted the ship just in time for the playoffs with three straight wins, albeit by one goal each. Their group of star forwards is streaky, making them a dangerous tournament team. Ranked 12th in the PairWise, Yale is in a similar position as RPI regarding an NCAA berth.

5. Cornell -- 8-11-3 (12-14-3), 9th
A team that hasn't even earned home ice in the first-round? At number 5? Amazingly, if Cornell had defeated Yale this past Saturday, they might've jumped the Bulldogs into the top four. The Big Red had gone 4-0-1 in the previous five games. During that stretch, they became the only team to beat RPI since January and only tied Harvard due to a referee's error. No one - especially first-round opponents Princeton - wants to face this team right now.

6. St. Lawrence -- 9-9-4 (16-14-4), 6th
The Saints followed a four game win streak with three losses to close the season, but two came against RPI and Union. Hosting the first round at Appleton is a big advantage, not that it should mean much against Colgate, but St. Lawrence will be lucky to get past the second round.

7. Brown -- 7-9-6 (11-12-6), 7th
A hot goaltender is the great equalizer in all forms of hockey. Behind Anthony Borelli, who has played lights-out since taking over the starting job, the Bears have hung tough against some of the ECAC's best. Nobody envisioned this team earning a first-round bye, and they are favored over Clarkson, from whom Brown has taken 3 of 4 points this year.

8. Dartmouth -- 9-9-4 (13-11-5), 5th
The Big Green finished 5th in the conference, mostly on the strength of early season points. They won only two of their last nine games, and both of those by one goal. Dartmouth is vulnerable and inconsistent, but their stellar record at Thompson Arena (10-4-1) should worry Harvard fans.

9. Princeton -- 8-10-4 (10-14-5), 8th
The Tigers' play over the last month has been less than inspiring. Saturday's win over Harvard was their first in six games, and their lack of depth at both forward and defenseman is worrisome over the stretch of a conference tournament. Princeton somehow earned home ice for the first round, only to draw the surging Big Red. The Tigers are underdogs at Hobey Baker Memorial.

10. Harvard -- 6-14-2 (9-17-3), 12th
The Crimson's February run couldn't rescue them out of the first last-place ECAC finish in their history. However, Harvard fans have to be happy with the team's form as of late, and provided that Saturday's loss to Princeton was a blip on the radar, the Crimson have a good chance to upset Dartmouth.

11. Clarkson -- 8-11-3 (9-18-7), 10th
The Golden Knights lost their final three games of the season by a combined score of 15-2. They have been maddeningly inconsistent all year long, but an 11th ranked defense has to have Brown middle-of-the-road forward group excited.

12. Colgate -- 6-13-3 (14-16-4), 11th
The Raiders have been so bad over the last month, they almost snatched last place away from the Crimson. Colgate has only won one of its last ten, and outside of a top-ranked powerplay, they rank in the bottom half of the conference in every major category. The loss of Spiro Goulakos has hurt the Raiders greatly.

We will have a preview of the Harvard-Dartmouth series, to be broadcast this weekend on and 95.3 FM WHRB, up on this site tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All-ECAC Team and Harvard's Three Season Stars

Coming up this week, we will have our final Power Rankings of the season headed into the first round of the ECAC playoffs, as well as a preview of the Harvard-Dartmouth series.

But first, we unveil our 2013 WHRB All-ECAC Team.


Greg Carey (STL) - Kyle Flanagan (STL) - Andrew Calof (PRI)
Kenny Agostino (YAL) - Andrew Miller (YAL) - Matt Lorito (BRN)
Wayne Simpson (UNI) - Jeremy Langlois (QUI) - Robbie Bourdon (COL)
Ryan Haggerty (RPI) - Tyler Sikura (DRT) - Daniel Carr (UNI)

The ECAC is embarrassingly rich at center, and as a result we've embarrassingly slotted Andrew Calof and Matt Lorito at wing. Without question, however, they deserve to be on the top two lines of this terrifying group of forwards.


Mat Bodie (UNI) - Mike Dalhuisen (QUI)
Nick Bailen (RPI) - Shayne Gostisbehere (UNI)
George Hughes (STL) - Michael Sdao (PRI)

With apologies to Tommy Fallen, Nick D'Agostino, Zach Davies, Greg Coburn, Danny Biega, and many others.


Eric Hartzell (QUI)
Anthony Borelli (BRN)

There should be no controversy about Hartzell, while Borelli has played Brown into home-ice advantage in the first round from the bottom of the ECAC.

Defending conference champions Union lead our team with four selections, followed by three from St. Lawrence and Quinnipiac, and two each from Yale, Princeton, Brown, and RPI. No players from Harvard, Cornell, or Clarkson made the team.

In light of having selected no Crimson players, we do bring you Harvard's Three Season Stars from the '12-'13 campaign, compounded from our Three Star selections after every game dating back to October.

#3. Kyle Criscuolo (8 total points, with one First Star selection)
An impressive finish for Harvard's best two-way forward, considering the freshman missed ten games mid-year. Fearless in all zones, the spark plug has centered Harvard's best line in the last month.

#2. Jimmy Vesey (11 total points, with two First Star selections)
The freshman announced his arrival with three points in his first official collegiate game, and carried the team in the early months. Absences due to national commitments and injury have broken his rhythm at times, but Vesey remains Harvard's most dangerous forward and is tied for the team lead in goals.

#1. Raphael Girard (20 total points, with five First Star Selections)
No surprises here. Thirteen games of 30 or more saves. Three with over 40. Second in saves in conference. Girard won't get much recognition for turning seven-goal losses into three-goal losses, but the junior is Harvard's best player right now and the only reason the Crimson can dream about an ECAC tournament run.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Men's Hockey Playoff Possibilities

After a wild Friday night in the ECAC that saw Harvard knock off the top-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats, the playoff picture has become a little clearer for the Crimson.

Remarkably, Harvard still has a chance to climb out of last place in the conference. The Crimson sit one point behind the Colgate Raiders and will finish 11th in either of the following scenarios:

1. Harvard wins, Colgate loses
2. Harvard wins, Colgate ties

Harvard will finish last, however, if:

1. Harvard loses
2. Colgate wins

If Colgate loses and Harvard ties, a complicated system of tiebreakers kicks in to determine which team receives the odious honor of twelfth place.

Regardless of Harvard's finish, possible first-round destinations are now down to four teams. Harvard could be travelling to Yale, Dartmouth, St. Lawrence, or Union next weekend. Yale currently sits in third place with 23 points, while the other three are tied at 22, with Dartmouth owning the three-way tiebreaker for the first-round bye. However, none of these four teams play each other in their final game, so the various combinations of final standings remain numerous. None of these teams can be caught for sixth place by Cornell or Clarkson, three points behind, should Harvard finish 11th. Quinnipiac and RPI have clinched byes.

Of the four possible opponents, Harvard has looked best against Dartmouth, losing a tight contest in Hanover 3-2 before tying at the Bright at 1 goal each. Harvard also has looked strong against St. Lawrence, dropping the home game 4-3 in overtime before wasting a solid first two periods in a 4-2 loss in Canton. Union and Yale swept the Crimson this season by combined scores of 10-3 and 9-1, respectively.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Harvard Hockey Seniors and ECAC All-Name Team

We here at WHRB would love to break down men's hockey playoff scenarios for you. The problem is that it's impossible - Harvard could still potentially face nine of the eleven other ECAC teams after what happens this weekend, with only Quinnipiac and Colgate eliminated. The picture will be clearer after tonight's game against the Bobcats, and we will update this blog appropriately.

In the meantime, we have a silly segment and an incredibly important segment.

WHRB is proud to present our first all-ECAC Hockey Names team. These guys provide the subtle moments that make a radio broadcaster's life that much sweeter.

Clinton Bourbonais, F, Yale
Tommy Thompson, F, St. Lawrence
Bryce van Brabant, F, Quinnipiac
Nick D'Agostino, D, Cornell
Sam Labrecque, D, Clarkson
Cab Morris, G, Dartmouth

On a more serious note, six Harvard seniors will play their last game at the Bright this Saturday against Princeton, as Harvard is guaranteed to spend the entirety of the ECAC playoffs on the road. We congratulate the following on great careers in a Crimson sweater:

Conor Morrison

Number thirty-eight in your program, number one in your hearts, Morrison has been one of Harvard’s top energy guys since he arrived on campus. Never shy to make contact despite often being the smallest player on the ice, Morrison could turn any line into one of Harvard’s defensive best. He seemed to save his best performances for cross-town rivals Boston University, scoring four goals against the Terriers in November of his freshman year and the overtime game-winner this January. He enters the weekend with an even 100 games played for Harvard, netting 18 goals and 27 assists.

Luke Greiner

After recording 10 points in 57 games as a freshman and sophomore, Greiner has developed into one of Harvard’s most consistent two-way threats over the last few seasons. Another small forward who hits well above his weight, he is one of Coach Donato’s most-trusted players in any game situation, from the penalty kill to the third-period defensive zone draw. In his 114th career game earlier this month, Greiner recorded his first career hat trick against Boston University. He goes into the weekend with 19 goals and 19 assists in 118 career games.

Alex Fallstrom

In early 2010, Fallstorm suffered an injury against Clarkson that caused him to miss ten games. The Crimson, 11-12-1 that year with Fallstrom on the ice, promptly lost nine of those games. That fact alone can sum up Swede’s importance to Harvard hockey. Blessed with some of the best offensive talent on the team, Fallstrom has the ability to completely dominate entire games, as he showed against Cornell earlier this year. A top line player for the past three years, his partnership with Alex Killorn and classmate Marshall Everson was one of the most dangerous in the country. Now, he is regaining form right before the playoffs, riding a career-high six game point streak into the weekend. Fallstrom has recorded 30 goals and 36 assists in 108 career contests.

Marshall Everson

A classic power forward, Everson flashed a bit of scoring touch in his first two years before breaking out last year as one of the Crimson’s top offensive options. The big man’s has soft hands and knack for finding open spaces below the circles, a combination that makes him one of the best finishers in recent Harvard history. When he gets hot, he is unstoppable. Four straight multipoint games last January, and points in eight of nine, drove the Crimson’s run to a playoff bye, and just this past month he scored in five straight. Once again leading the team in goals, Everson has 31 goals and 31 assists in 114 career games.

Brendan Rempel

With the Harvard blueline core decimated this year, Rempel has become a stalwart second pairing defenseman and played big minutes for Coach Donato. A huge hitter and a leader on the ice, Rempel is always the first to throw his body against the boards or come in defense of a teammate in a scrum after the whistle. After being limited by injuries in previous years, Rempel has skated in all but two games this year, and notched his first career goal – a game-winner – against Brown in November. He also has 10 assists in 76 career games.

Danny Biega

The 120th captain in Harvard men’s hockey history, Biega has been showered in accolades and superlatives for the duration of his college career. He has deserved every single one. The Hurricanes prospect dominates both ends of the ice with his superb vision and skating, and no other player has been as critical to the Crimson’s success in Biega’s time. He is so consistent, and so irreplaceable, that you might even argue that the first team ECAC All-Hockey, two-time All-Ivy, and CCM Hockey All-American is underrated. Biega’s best performances are too many to list here, and his absence will be felt next year in a big way. He enters the weekend as Harvard’s leading active scorer, with 28 goals and 56 assists in 127 games.

Harvard men's hockey is off the air tonight, as WHRB Sports brings you men's basketball at Princeton. Hockey returns tomorrow night, hosting the Tigers at 6:45 pm.