Alex Prewitt | Live from Mudville

This is a scam of Winklevossian proportions.

Looking for evidence of sweeping NCAA corruption, of the proletariat jealousy plaguing college sports’ governing body? Look no further. March Madness will begin later this week, the bracket officially announced Sunday in a travesty of shameful decision-making.

Sixty-eight teams. Four will reach New Orleans. And Harvard is only a No. 12 seed.        Are you kidding?

We’re talking about Harvard, folks; the pantheon of upper-class academic and fashion prominence down Mass. Ave, and yet again the NCAA fails to recognize the superiority oozing from ivy-classical architecture in equal parts crimson and green. I’m surprised that Harvard wasn’t mysteriously left out of the tournament all together.

Thesis: Harvard should have been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and its absence from the ranks of the nation’s great men’s basketball teams demonstrates a longstanding anti-Harvard bias prevalent not only in collegiate athletics, but in this nation.

Supporting evidence: In clinching their first bid since 1946, the Crimson had 26 wins this season. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Harvard graduate, spent only 12 years in office. Twenty-six versus twelve. That’s math even I can do. Snubbing Harvard is just plain un-American. Do you hate Harvard? Then you hate this country.

More supporting evidence: Coach Tommy Amaker’s unit boasts wins over MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, Penn, Brown and Princeton. That’s not a resume, that’s a curriculum vitae worthy of a presidential appointment.

So Harvard’s weak Ivy League schedule equates to the Crimson deserving a No. 12 seed, meaning that they’ll face a first-round matchup against No. 5 Vanderbilt in the decidedly cardigan-lacking Albuquerque. The Commodores don’t stand a chance, and neither does the rest of March Madness.   

Listen, Harvard needed this. The student body is athletically starved. Not since the illustrious Ed Smith reached the NBA in 1953-54 have the Crimson demonstrated this much fanaticism for hoops. Rare is the occasion when success marches through the Harvard gates all willy-nilly.

When Princeton beat Penn last week, sending Harvard to the tournament, some players were studying in the library; for a Harvard man is far too consumed in learned affairs to engage in such plebeian celebration.

This is not about the program, about the tradition of triumph that Amaker has reintroduced into the Harvard community. This is about something bigger. Harvard made the Boston Herald’s front page on Monday, but where was the Boston Globe or the New York Times? Denying veritas, that’s where.

The least the Times could do was muster a reaction story on March 7 that quoted passers-by on the Harvard campus. Take sophomore Danielle Rabinowitz, for example, who told Bill Pennington that, “People always stereotypically feel that our conversations are generally about philosophy, or obscure topics that the common man can’t relate to. I think that just adding this element of sports to the mix kind of grounds us in a more human way that is really great.” Spot on, Danielle, but let’s not forget that we refer to athletics as “sport” in the singular. A-minus.

Tyler Neill was spotted walking along campus, reading a copy of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” He said, “I watch sports none at all.” Impeccable sentence structure, and an even better choice of literature. If only the NCAA selection committee adhered to pure reason, then Harvard would have been a No. 1 seed instead of Kentucky. Come on, Vanderbilt beat Kentucky, and Harvard will beat Vanderbilt. Transitive properties never lie.

The East Regional semifinal and final will take place at the TD Garden, Harvard’s backyard. This amounts to nothing more than a glorified taunt from the selection committee. “Try to make it,” they say. “It won’t happen.” Well, what happened when people told Matt Damon he couldn’t become the Sexiest Man Alive? That’s what I thought.

Alex Prewitt is a senior majoring in English and religion. He can be reached on his blog at http://livefrommudville.blogspot.com or followed on Twitter at @Alex_Prewitt.


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