2014 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: (12) Harvard Crimson vs. (4) Michigan State Spartans
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
Harvard has pulled two straight consecutive upsets in the NCAA Tournament, as it defeated 5th seeded Cincinnati 61-57 in second round action to advance to what should prove to be a tough matchup against Michigan State.
MSU’s Adreian Payne turned in a monster game against Delaware, scoring a career high 41 points. Harvard will likely have no answers for the 6’10” 245 pound senior, who averaged 16.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists this season. Harvard has some players with size, but none are regular rotation players, and the task of guarding Payne may fall to 6’7′” Kyle Casey or Steve Moundou-Missi.
Harvard got 34 points from the trio of Laurent Rivard, Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders in its win over Cincy. Chambers struggled badly with his shot, hitting just 2-of-10 from the floor and just 1-of-6 from three-point range. His field goal percentage is low (38.3 percent), but the Crimson count on his three-point shooting and ball distribution; Chambers averaged 4.6 assists per game this season. He will have a heady task in covering MSU’s Keith Appling. Appling averaged 12 points and 4.7 assists per game this season.
Between Payne, Appling and the Spartans’ leading scorer Gary Harris (16.9 points per game), Tom Izzo has enough offensive weapons to call on that Harvard will have a lot of trouble containing them and answering back. It would be a tremendous story for Harvard to advance to the Sweet 16, but MSU is March-tested and loaded with talent, so the college odds are likely spot on for this game.
HAR Trends: 7-1 ATS in last 8 overall; 8-2 ATS in last 10 Saturday games; UNDER 9-3 in last 12 Saturday games.
MSU Trends: 18-7-1 ATS in last 26 games overall.