HARVARD CRIMSON (26-4)
vs. CINCINNATI BEARCATS (27-6)
NCAA Tournament - Round of 64
Spokane Arena - Spokane, WA
Tip-off: Thursday, 2:10 p.m. ET
Line: Cincinnati -3, Total: 122.5
Looking to pull off an upset for the second consecutive year, 10th-seeded Harvard will face No. 7 seed Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon.
As a No. 14 seed in last yearís Big Dance, Harvard upset No. 3 seed New Mexico in the Round of 64. This yearís Crimson squad finished the season rattling off eight consecutive wins to clinch the Ivy League and an automatic berth, going 6-2 ATS in that span. They finished the year 15-8-1 ATS and 6-3-1 ATS in non-conference play. This includes a perfect 4-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS in neutral-site games, though they did not face a ranked opponent all season. They went 0-2 ATS as underdogs, losing to NCAA Tournament teams Colorado and Connecticut by single-digit margins, but failing to cover. As head coach of Harvard, Tommy Amaker is 1-11 ATS when playing with seven or more days of rest, but the Crimson are 19-9 ATS after 2+ straight wins over the past two seasons. The Bearcats had a strong stretch during the season, but four of their six losses came in their final nine games. They went 13-14 ATS and just 2-2 SU (1-3 ATS) in neutral site games. However, they posted a strong 5-2 ATS record against non-conference foes. They earned two wins against Memphis, while winning once against Connecticut and Louisville. Cincinnati also beat two other tourney-bound teams, NC State and Nebraska.
Can Harvard pull off a Round of 64 upset for the second straight year? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts opened the NCAA Tournament with a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in First Four games, making them a stellar 60% ATS (278-185-16) in college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Brian is on an amazing Best Bets run of 23-3-2 (89% ATS) since Feb. 6, 32-6-3 (84% ATS) since Jan. 17, and 74% ATS (57-20-3) since Nov. 26 to give him a robust 70% ATS (64-27-4) record in Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 65% ATS (41-22-1) since in Best Bets Dec. 18 and 61% ATS (58-37-2) this season, while StatFox Scott is 70% ATS (14-6-2) since Feb. 16 and 59% ATS (54-38-4) for the season. StatFox Gary is 61% ATS (50-32) on Best Bets since Nov. 22 and 57% ATS (54-40-2) for the season, while StatFox Zach 64% ATS (7-4) since March 2.
Harvard put up respectable offensive numbers this season, scoring 73.6 PPG (91st in Div. I) on 46.7% shooting (56th in nation). The team also outrebounded its opponents by +3.0 RPG. Defensively, the Crimson shut down their weaker competition, giving up 60.5 PPG on 40.7% shooting. They feature a balanced offense with five players averaging double-digit points, led by swingman Wesley Saunders (14.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.9 APG). PG Siyani Chambers (11.1 PPG, 4.7 APG) leads the offense, making up for his poor 39% FG clip with a strong rate from beyond the arc (40%). SG Brandyn Curry (9.3 PPG, 3.0 APG) is also an effective distributor in the backcourt. Down low, PF Steve Moundou-Missi (10.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG) and SF Kyle Casey (10.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG) lead the way, both averaging more than one block per game. SG Laurent Rivard (10.0 PPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers and is the best shooter on the team, knocking down 2.5 three-pointers per game on a fantastic 43% clip.
The Bearcats are best known for their stingy defense that gives up a paltry 58.3 PPG (6th in Div. I) on 39.4% shooting (20th in nation). That slow pace of play hurts their offensive numbers though, putting up only 68.7 PPG (237th in Div. I) on 42.7% shooting (256th in nation). But with 36.1 RPG, they dominate their opponents on the glass by +4.5 RPG. Their offense is really a one-man show, and that man is SG Sean Kilpatrick (20.7 PPG). The senior guard scores from all over, hitting 2.7 threes per game, though his FG Pct. is an uninspiring 42%. When Cincinnati was a 10-seed last year and lost in the first round to Creighton, Kilpatrick scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting, playing a grueling 38 minutes. Senior PF Justin Jackson (11.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG) is the teamís only other double-digit scorer and also the teamís top rebounder. With 2.9 BPG, heís a beast near the basket and discourages opposing drivers. He gets lots of help on the glass from SF Titus Rubles (7.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG), who is averaging 8.3 RPG over the teamís past five contests.