Harvard has Sweet 16 potential

Siyani Chambers helped lead Harvard to its first NCAA tournament win last season. Michael Ivins/USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the golden age of Harvard basketball. In the entire history of the program, the school is 1-4 in the NCAA tournament, and, as you may remember, that "1" came at the expense of No. 3 seed New Mexico in the round of 64 last March. Heading into this season, Tommy Amaker's team is widely expected to be even better (read on), and indeed it's possible that this particular Ivy League team may be a consensus top-25 team in the preseason.

Think about that for a moment. The Ivy League still doesn't have a conference tournament. The conference as a whole is just 3-14 in the NCAA tournament since 2000, and prior to Cornell's run to the 2010 Sweet 16, the Ivies were laboring under a 12-season tournament-win drought.

So what Amaker and his men are attempting to achieve this season is little short of remarkable. College basketball is one of the few venues, surely, where "Harvard" is synonymous with "plucky underdog," and this overachieving program is likely to be one of the season's more compelling stories.