Harvard Capable Of Upsetting North Carolina In NCAA Tournament
Very intriguing No. 4 vs. No. 13 matchup in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Jacksonville as No. 13 Harvard, the Ivy League champion, faces No. 4 North Carolina, which lost in the championship game of the ACC Tournament to Notre Dame. The Heels are 10.5-point favorites on Sportsbook.ag.
Class of the Ivy
The Crimson beat Yale on Saturday 53-51 for the Ivy’s automatic bid in a one-game playoff in Philadelphia. Steve Moundou-Missi hit a 15-foot jumper with 7.2 seconds left, and Wesley Saunders scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half. Yale and Harvard shared the Ivy League title with 11-3 records to set up the playoff to determine the conference’s automatic NCAA bid. The Ivy is the only Division I league without a conference tournament. Saunders passed former Harvard star Jeremy Lin to become the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer.
Harvard is be making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, becoming just the third program to represent the Ivy League in the Big Dance in four successive years. Princeton was the last to do so in 1989-92, with Penn making six straight trips from 1970-75. Dartmouth also went to the NCAA Tournament for four-straight years from 1941-44 before the formation of the league.
The Crimson boast a 22-7 overall record, marking the sixth straight year that Harvard has reached 20 wins. Much of the team’s success this season has stemmed from the defensive end of the floor, where it ranks 12th in the nation in points allowed (57.2). A total of 18 of Harvard’s 29 opponents have failed to score 60 points, with eight opponents scoring 50 points or fewer. The Crimson have also found success in close games, posting a 5-1 record in contests decided by three points of fewer, including five straight wins.
Heels Nearly Won ACC
UNC enjoyed a nice run in the ACC Tournament with wins over Boston College, Louisville and defending champion Virginia before losing 92-80 to Notre Dame in the title game Saturday. The Tar Heels are led by junior guard Marcus Paige, who played through a foot injury for much of the year but looked very good in upsets of Louisville and Virginia in the ACC Tournament.
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was excited with the matchup because of his long association as a player and coach with Duke, North Carolina’s historic enemy. Amaker played in four NCAA Tournaments with the Blue Devils and served as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for nine years.
This is North Carolina’s 45th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels are 110-43 all time, with five national championships and 18 Final Four appearances. The Heels have not been to the Final Four since winning the national championship in 2009. Coach Roy Williams owns a 63-22 career record in the NCAA Tournament, including his 15 seasons at Kansas.
The winner of the Carolina-Harvard game will play the winner of the game between fifth-seeded Arkansas and 12th-seeded Wofford on Saturday in Jacksonville. At Sportsbook.ag, Harvard is 100/1 to win the West Region and UNC is 10/1.
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