Sweet 16 odds for Harvard, Dayton
March, 20, 2014
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesDon't write off Wesley Saunders and the Crimson, even against Michigan State.With a pair of upsets in the books, the Giant Killers team looks ahead to assess the likelihood the Harvard Crimson and Dayton Flyers can advance to the Sweet 16. Is the Syracuse Orange actually a better matchup for Dayton than OSU was? And can the Crimson survive a date with the Michigan State Spartans? Despite Tom Izzo's squad's position on the short list of title favorites, the Giant Killers sees Harvard with a 1-in-4 shot to topple Michigan State.
Why Crimson can keep rolling
Round of 32 upset odds: 24.0 percent
How they beat the Bearcats: We hate to say we told you so, but ... Aw, who are we trying to kid? We told you so! Here at GK Central, we thought the key to the Cincinnati-Harvard matchup would be whether the Ivy Leaguers would recognize the need to take more risks against top-flight competition, change their style and shoot more 3s. Based on our study of their previous games against nonconference opponents, we expected they would, writing, "This could be the week the chameleon turns crimson." And they did: The Crimson took seven of their first 15 shots from downtown, and 38.6 percent for the game (17-of-44) -- way up from their regular-season proportion of 28.2 percent, which ranked just 287th in the country. They hit on 35.3 percent of those shots, and, just as important, because the Bearcats couldn't help off sharpshooter Laurent Rivard, driving lanes opened up for the Crimson.
Can they do it again?: Harvard didn't even play particularly well in this game. The Crimson committed 12 turnovers, grabbed just nine offensive rebounds against a Cincinnati team that doesn't hit the defensive glass and hit only 17 of 28 free throws (60.7 percent). That is one reason they have a stronger chance than you would probably expect against Michigan State, a team many are picking to win the national championship.