On to the 3rd Round of the NCAA tournament and we will see the Arizona Wildcats take on the Harvard Crimson. The game is scheduled for a 6:10 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on TNT. Currently the Odds for the game have Arizona favored by 10 points while the total sits at 133.
Analysis: Thanks to an early defensive stand and some timely 3-point baskets, the Crimson found themselves as the latest Cinderella Story for the postseason as they stunned third-seeded and 10th-ranked New Mexico on Thursday night by a score of 68-62. For Harvard, it was the first win ever in the NCAA Tournament, and the first for an Ivy League program since Cornell advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2010. Except for Siyani Chambers who chose to hand out seven assists instead of focusing on his own scoring output, every starter for the Crimson landed in double figures, beginning with Wesley Saunders who tallied 18 points. Laurent Rivard added 17 points as he knocked down 5-of-9 shots behind the 3-point line, Christian Webber tacked on 11 points and Kenyatta Smith logged 10 points and seven boards before fouling out. Arizona and Harvard haven’t played since 1977 but that doesn’t mean some players haven’t crossed paths. Arizona has six players with Southern California ties and Harvard has two; Smith and Wesley Saunders, the team’s leading scorer (16.5). Saunders, a 6-5 sophomore guard, has reached double figures in scoring in every game this season, including a team-high 18 points in the second-round upset against New Mexico. Another player that can’t be left alone is shooting guard Laurent Rivard, who’s shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
As for the Wildcats, a squad which is an impressive 13-3 since 1985 during the round of the NCAA Tournament when there are 32 teams still fighting for survival, they bounced back from their loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament last week by thumping Belmont in the second round on Thursday by a score of 81-64. With the victory, the Wildcats are now 47-26 in this event all-time, after taking into consideration previous decisions that had to be vacated. rizona should be able to take advantage of its interior height against Harvard. New Mexico 7-foot sophomore center Alex Kirk put up 22 points and 12 rebounds against the undersized front line for the Crimson. Arizona has its own 7-footer in the middle, freshman Kaleb Tarczewski, with freshmen forwards Grant Jerrett (6-10) and Brandon Ashley (6-8) coming off the bench. Mark Lyons had his best game in six weeks in the tournament opener, scoring a team-high 23 points. The senior transfer from Xavier has been playing out of position at point guard the entire season, but appears to be more comfortable with the ball-handling responsibilities. He hasn’t turned the ball over more than twice in the last three games, something he struggled with at times this season. His defense will be just as important against the Crimson, who are sixth in the nation in 3-point shooting (40.3 percent). Arizona senior F Solomon Hill is eight points from moving into 20th in career scoring at the school and three rebounds from moving into 10th. Six former Wildcats rank in the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in rebounding. Arizona is 26-5 all-time against teams seeded 10th through 16th in the NCAA Tournament.
Pick: I know that the big dance is not a place where you would expect a team to have let down, but this is one spot for that. Harvard didn't have a great year in the Ivy League yet they still won the Conference Title thanks to weaker overall competition in their conference. Then they follow that up with the first ever NCAA Tournament win for the program. This team has to come out a bit flat and they will be taking on an Arizona team that completely dominated a very good Belmont squad in their opener. Harvard does play solid defense, but the big edge for Arizona is at the offensive end of the floor, especially on the inside, where Harvard just doesn't have anyone that can slow down Solomon Hill. Just like I said in my Arizona/ Belmont pick, I expect the Wildcats to wear down a smaller Harvard squad on their way to a big 14+ point win.
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College Basketball Free Picks: Harvard vs Arizona BettingWhat college basketball bettors need to know about Harvard Crimson vs Arizona Wildcats on Saturday (3/23/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Marco D'Angelo with Vegas Runner.