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The Ivy League is known more for its academia than it is its athletics, with some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning falling under its umbrella. But don't let their studiousness fool you, as catching the Ivy League on the wrong year can end in some resounding victories for those schools. These teams put on particularly tremendous performances when they took to the court for their NCAA Tournaments, showing the world that it is possible to have both brains and brawn.
Cornell wasn't expected to do much in their NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010, in which the Big Red were put into the same portion of the bracket as two top-15 teams in Temple and Wisconsin. But the Big Red managed to beat both teams in back-to-back games to earn a surprising berth into the Sweet 16. Their performance against Temple was extremely impressive, as they led at the half and managed to hold onto that lead in rather convincing fashion.
But it was the win over Wisconsin that got people talking, as they managed to beat one of the best defenses in college basketball with an 87 point explosion. That performance featured Cornell shooting over 60% from the field and making eight three-point shots, putting Wisconsin in a position where their slow-paced offense couldn't recover.
In the Sweet 16, Cornell was routed by number one seed Kentucky, ending their Cinderella run. But the Big Red represented the Ivy League extremely well in that season, with no team getting to the Sweet 16 from the Ivy League since.
Harvard is the quintessential Ivy League school, in that it is known for its academic prowess above all else thanks to its incredible law program among others. But the Harvard Crimson were plenty capable of getting the job done on the basketball court in the 2013 season, as they pulled off an upset in the first round as a 14-seed against the Lobos of New Mexico.
This game was won by Harvard in their ability to shoot the basketball, as they shot over 52% from the field and 44% from long range. On the flip side, they held New Mexico to an anemic 21% from beyond the three-point line, limiting the Lobos' ability to come back once they got behind. Wesley Saunders led the way for the Crimson with 18 points, against a New Mexico team that featured future NBA player Tony Snell, who has played professionally for a long time since falling to the Crimson on that fateful day.
Yale had an incredible regular season when they went 13-1 in the Ivy League to capture the league title and work their way into the NCAA Tournament. They even received a surprisingly strong 12-seed for their efforts, even though it was thought that their season would come to an end in the first round against a high-flying Baylor Bears team. Instead, Yale managed to get a win in that game and found themselves in a decent position to get into the Sweet 16 before falling in the second round.
Their first-round win over Baylor saw the Bulldogs outscore a Baylor team that preferred to play at a fast pace, as Yale won that game 79-75 in a game that busted its fair share of brackets. In round two, the Bulldogs drew Duke, who were an unusually low four-seed by their standards. Yale played admirably throughout, dropping that game by just seven points. They may not have been able to match Cornell's 2010 Sweet 16 run, but they certainly were everyone's favorite team for the Duke game despite the defeat.