Harvard vs. N. Carolina NCAA Tournament Pick

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 19, 2015 1:31 PM GMT

The Crimson of Harvard, a No. 13 seed, meet the Tar Heels of N. Carolina, seeded 4th in a 7:20 tip in the opening round of NCAA Tournament play at Jacksonville, FL. 

Harvard (13) vs. N. Carolina (4) (-10) 7:20 ET TNT
?The Crimson of Harvard, a No. 13 seed, meet the Tar Heels of N. Carolina, seeded 4th in a 7:20 tip in the opening round of NCAA Tourney play at Jacksonville, FL.  Each of these teams are veterans of post-season play.  But, I will outline numerous reasons why N. Carolina is your NCAA Tournament odds pointspread winner today.

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Do not confuse this Harvard team with those of the last 2 seasons who won outright as dog (61-57) last year against Cinci and (68-62) in 2013 vs. New Mexico.  The Crimson remain smart and patient under 8th year HC Amaker in winning their 5thconsecutive Ivy Title.  There were, however, numerous losses from last season’s team.  The Crimson lost their best 3 point shooter in Laurent Rivard, their best interior defender in Kyle Casey, and their top team leader in Brandyn Curry.  As a result, the Crimson were inferior in every statistical area to last year’s team.  They lack offensive options, depth and fire power, scoring only 64 PPG and converting just 35% from the arc.  The final here could be frightening, considering they lost by 49 at Virginia!  There were also losses of 10 to Arizona St. and 7 to Boston College, a pair of teams who did not even sniff the field of 68.

 

We have ridden N. Carolina to many top rated plays down the stretch.  I find this to be a particularly appealing matchup with their strong rebounding at +8.1, a 17.7 to 12.7 assist/TO ratio and a defense that allows just 40% from the field and 30% from the arc.  Quite succinctly, the Tar Heels are better at every position.  Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson are interior performers that will own the glass.  There is no one on the Harvard team who has anywhere near the same athleticism as JP Tokoto.  Veteran PG Marcus Paige is among the best in the business. Clearly, they played the much tougher schedule.  While Harvard was toiling against the Dartmouths and Browns of the world, N. Carolina just faced Notre Dame, Virginia, Louisville and Duke in 4 of their last 5 games.  They are also in a huge moneymaking situation which you should keep in mind when placing your NCAA Tournament picks.  Under 12th year HC Roy Williams, the Tar Heels, who lost in the ACC Final to Notre Dame, are 57-26 ATS following a loss, including 8-2 ATS this  year. Should N. Carolina get their preferred pace and open up a double digit lead, the Crimson will have real problems playing from behind. Also keep in mind that if they win, they move to the second round to race the winner between Wofford vs. Arkansas

NCAA Tournament Pick: Take N. Carolina -10 at Pinnacle.

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