The NCAA Tournament second round gets underway on Thursday. In the East Region the 12th seed Harvard Crimson will take on the No. 5 seed Vanderbilt Commodores. The game is scheduled for a 4:40 pm start time and it will be televised nationally on TNT. Currently the odds have favored by 5 points with the total for the game sitting at 123 points.
Free Analysis: Vanderbilt is making a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, but in a dramatically different fashion coming off its first SEC tourney title since 1951. The Commodores capped a thrilling run through the league bracket as a three-seed with a 71-64 triumph over the top-ranked team in the country in Kentucky. This will be Vanderbilt's 13th appearance at the Big Dance with an all-time record of 9-13. The program has gotten as far as the Elite Eight on one occasion in 1965 and has reached the Sweet 16 four times, the last in 2007. The Commodores may have pulled off a surprise win in the SEC championship, but the numbers suggest the squad should have been there all along. Vanderbilt has the SEC's top two scorers in junior John Jenkins and senior Jeffery Taylor. The veteran duo are as impressive as any in the country, with Jenkins topping out at 19.9 points per game and Taylor adding 16.4 ppg. Not to be outdone, senior Festus Ezeli checks in with 10.0 ppg and leads the team in field-goal percentage (52.9 percent). Jenkins and Taylor are much more than just scorers, though, with both ranking among the league leaders in field-goal percentage and three-point shooting. In fact, Jenkins led the nation in three-pointers with 129 on 44.8 percent shooting while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor overall. Taylor is the complete package, dropping 63 three-pointers on a 43.2- percent accuracy with an overall shooting percentage of 49.9 percent and 5.8 rebounds per game.Vandy's offense ranked third in the SEC with 72.9 ppg behind only SEC stalwarts Kentucky and Florida. Vandy stands in the same position in field-goal percentage at 45.9 percent while ranking second to Florida with a 38.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. The Commodores manage to hold down a decent plus-1.2 margin on the glass (34.5-33.4) while the defense often does enough in yielding 65.0 ppg and a 41.8 shooting percentage. Harvard made a bit of history of its own this season, earning the program's first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1946 and for just the second time in school history. The Crimson went 12-2 in Ivy League play to grab the automatic bid with its first-ever outright conference championship and set a school record with 26 wins overall (26-4), plus they were also in the national rankings for the first time ever. The Crimson get things done in large part on the defensive end, ranking fourth in the country with a mere 54.8 ppg allowed. Teams are held to 40.6 percent shooting from the field, a number that also ranks favorably across the country, as well as Harvard's 74.6 free-throw percentage -- good for 27th in the nation. The Crimson are also inside the top-50 in field-goal percentage, landing 46.7 percent of their field goals, though the offense remains a bit underwhelming at 65.4 ppg. Junior Kyle Casey and senior Keith Wright are at the head of the Crimson attack, averaging 11.3 and 10.7 ppg, respectively. Wright also tops the Ivy League with a 59.4 shooting percentage with Casey not far behind in fourth (51.9 percent). Vanderbilt has faced the Crimson on just one previous occasion, logging a 74-58 victory back in 1993 at Memorial Gym.
Free Pick: Gonna go with the Over in this one. Despite two of their last 3 games being really low scoring, that is not the norm for this Vanderbilt team. Overall this year Vanderbilt games have averaged 137.9 ppg while their games away from home have averaged 140.6 ppg. Vandy averages a solid 72.9 ppg overall and 72.2 ppg away from home, including 69.8 ppg on neutral courts. Harvard does play good defense as they have allowed 55 ppg overall, but they can be scored upon as they have allowed 60+ point in 7 of their 16 non-Ivy games this year and Vandy has the offense to put points in this team. Harvard doesn't score a whole bunch but they have put up 65.1 ppg overall and 64.9 ppg on the road, while Vandy has allowed 65 ppg overall and 68.4 ppg away from home. I look for 130+ points in his one.
Free Picks: St. Bonaventure vs Florida State Bettinghttp://PregameVideos.com - Florida State is ripe for a let down spot and St. Bonaventure is peaking at the right time plus other factors college football bettors need to know about St. Bonaventure vs Florida State (Friday, March 16, 2012) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Vegas Runner and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.