East - No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 12 Harvard

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: East Region – No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 12 Harvard

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Cincinnati -2.5
Why To Pick Harvard: No offense, no outside shooting, tough defense - Cincinnati is the perfect fit for the Crimson.Harvard will have a problem with the high-flying teams, but this game should be kept relatively slow with mistakes being the key. Neither one screws up, but Harvard is far better shooting. The Bearcats thrive off of forcing turnovers, but the Crimson don't give them away.
Why To Pick Cincinnati: Yeah, the two teams do a lot of the same things, but Cincinnati does them better. The defense could slow Harvard down to a dead stop, and forget about doing much around the rim. It should be a relatively low scoring game, and the Bearcats will end up getting more done on the boards.
The Pick: Cincinnati 67-63. Harvard will be a trendy pick, but the Bearcats are good, sound and tough.

Cincinnati Bearcats
Head coach: Mick Cronin Record: 27-6 Conference: American Athletic

What You Need To Know: The Bearcats are one of the best defensive teams in the country and boast wins over Memphis, Louisville, Connecticut and SMU. Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick is an electric scorer who can put a team on his back, helped by his ability to get to the free-throw line – his aggressive style takes its toll on opponents who lack depth up front. Justin Jackson is strong and tough to move off the low block with a nose for the ball. He also has a knack for swatting and altering shots, and his presence at the rim allows Cincy's guards to gamble a bit on the perimeter. Titus Rubles provides another quality forward who doesn't try to do too much on the floor but is smart enough to find teammates for open looks. The depth will keep the Bearcats fresh and wear down opponents.
Strengths: Scoring Defense, Steals, Field Goal Percentage D
Weaknesses: Scoring, Field Goal Percentage, Three-Point Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: This could be a tough and annoying out. The Bearcats are just though enough to battle with Michigan State in the next round, and past that, they could have the right mix to stop Virginia.

Harvard Crimson
Head coach: Tommy Amaker Record: 26-4 Conference: Ivy League

What You Need To Know: Like fun ‘n' gun, up-and-down, high-octane hoops? Look elsewhere. Harvard slows the tempo to the crawl, but it works. The Crimson won't blow anyone away with their athleticism, but the balance in their starting lineup ranks as high as anyone in the tournament. All five starters average double figures in scoring, and everyone must be accounted for on each possession – there's little wasted motion and everyone is a threat. Wesley Sanders is the top scorer, and he's also the Crimson's best distributor doing a fantastic job with the drive-and-kick game. Siyani Chambers and Laurent Rivard can knock down the three, and they never panic on the floor playing a sharp, sound style that rarely leads to mistakes. Steve Moundou-Missi and Kyle Casey combine to control the glass, and both have good timing to block shots.
Strengths: Turnover Margin, Steals, Blocked Shots
Weaknesses: Scoring, Rebounding, Free Throw Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: The Crimson have a good, sound team, but they're not going to be able to get past Cincinnati, and if they do, really, really bad things will happen against Michigan State.