West Region NCAA Tournament Betting: (3) New Mexico Lobos vs. (14) Harvard CrimsonWeNew Mexico vs. Harvard
Time: 9:50 PM ET, Mar 21, 2013
Spread: NM -10.5
M/L: NM -625, HAR +500
Betting Odds From Bookmaker
Harvard has been one of the chic 14 over 3 picks this year, and the 19-9 Crimson finished 11-3 in Ivy League play. I like to call them my “Ivyrella.” The Crimson lost to some of their major opponents, like UConn and Memphis, but they also beat Cal and Boston College. They are a team heavily reliant on the three point shot, but at their best that makes them a very effective and difficult to beat team.
The Crimson have four three-point shooters who hit over 37 percent from behind the arc, paced by Wesley Saunders’ 52.6 percent. Saunders leads the team in scoring with a 16.5 point per game average, and he also plays 37.3 minutes per game. The 6’5″ sophomore scored in double-figures in every Harvard game this season, and he’s going to look to exploit New Mexico’s backcourt in transition, where the Crimson shoot a lot of quick threes.
Harvard was just 2-3 when Saunders scored 20 points or more, though, suggesting the real key to winning may be involving Siyani Chambers and Laurent Rivard more. Chambers averages 12.9 points and 5.8 assists per game, and Rivard averages 10.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. Chambers is a 6’0″ freshman from Golden Valley, Minnesota, and the diminutive guard shot 44 percent from three this season. Harvard is 9-1 when Chambers hits at least two threes in a game.
The New Mexico Lobos finished 29-5 with a 13-3- record in the Mountain West Conference. They closed the season by winning 9 of their last 10 games, including victories over then-No. 22 Colorado State on February 23, and San Diego State on February 27.
The Lobos also defeated then-No. 21 UConn on Nov 19 and USC, Valpo, UNLV, New Mexico State and Mercer. The Lobos can play with big conference opponents, which has many feeling the No. 3 seed in the West advances far in this tournament.
The Lobos have three players who average double-figures: Kendall Williams (13.5 ppg), Tony Snell (12.6) and Alex Kirk (11.9). Wiliams, a 6’4″ junior point guard, leads the team in minutes, scoring and assists. He averaged five assists per game, a high for him after averaging 4.2 as a sophomore and 4.0 as a freshman. The Lobos are 7-1 when Williams has at least seven assists.
Harvard: 2-6-1 ATS in last 9 Thurs. games, UNDER 6 of last 8 overall
New Mexico: 9-2 AT in last 11 neutral site games, 42-18-2 ATS in last 62 overall.