In each of the last two offseasons Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker has lost an assistant to Vanderbilt, with Yanni Hufnagel (now at Cal) making the move in 2013 and Adam Cohen doing so this past spring. With Cohen’s departure there was a vacancy to be filled and on Wednesday Harvard officially announced its hiring of Brian Eskildsen.
Eskildsen followed a path to Cambridge similar to that of Cohen, as he was a member of Ben Braun’s staff at Rice last season. Cohen spent the 2012-13 season as a member of Braun’s staff before joining the Harvard staff for a season.
Eskildsen served as the recruiting coordinator at Rice, and he joins a staff that consists of associate head coach Brian DeStefano and assistant Christian Webster. Harvard’s won at least a share of the last four Ivy League titles, winning an NCAA tournament game in each of their last two appearances.
The Crimson lost three key seniors (forward Kyle Casey and guards Brandyn Curry and Laurent Rivard) from last season’s team but they’re expected to be the favorites in the Ivy League once again in 2014-15.
Guard Siyani Chambers, guard/forward Wesley Saunders and forward Steve Moundou-Missi lead the returnees, and highly-regarded power forward Chris Egi joins a front court that has a number of options.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: