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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Ticket punched: Harvard ends its 66-year drought

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Brandyn Curry (Getty Images)

One year after Princeton upset Harvard in a one-game playoff for the Ivy League title to extend the Crimson's NCAA tournament drought another year, the Tigers also delivered the win that ended the dry spell.

Princeton beat Penn 62-52 in the final Ivy League game of the year, dashing the Quakers' hopes of forcing a one-game playoff with Harvard and giving the Crimson the outright conference title and their first NCAA tournament bid since 1946.

The accomplishment is the culmination of the five-year metamorphosis of Harvard basketball from Ivy League lightweight to league contender to national relevancy. The Crimson (26-4, 12-2) defeated the likes of Florida State, Central Florida and Saint Joseph's this season and cracked the Associated Press Top 25 in December.

[Related: Major college basketball conferences take center stage]

The way Harvard coach Tommy Amaker built the program was simply by landing higher-profile recruits than the Crimson had previously been able to attract. While ex-Harvard star Jeremy Lin only received offers to walk-on at other programs, Keith Wright, Kyle Casey and many of the other top players on this Crimson squad were well-regarded prospects recruited by numerous top mid- and high-major programs.

It would have been nice if Harvard had clinched the Ivy League title with a win of its own just so fans and TV viewers could have seen the team's joy that its faith in Amaker's vision had been rewarded. Instead, there were no TV cameras to catch Harvard's fist pumps and high fives at the end of the Princeton-Penn game, but here's a glimpse into their digital celebration via Twitter:

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