Friday, March 22, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Arizona vs. Harvard
Harvard will try to become the third No. 14 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 when it plays sixth-seeded Arizona on Saturday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. Chattanooga in 1997 was the last No. 14 seed to win its first two games. The Crimson have a shot if they play like they did in their tournament opener, shooting 52.4 percent in the 68-62 victory against third-seeded New Mexico. The Wildcats looked strong as well, shooting 56.9 percent in an 81-64 victory against Belmont.
Arizona should be able to take advantage of its interior height against Harvard. New Mexico 7-foot sophomore center Alex Kirk put up 22 points and 12 rebounds against the undersized front line for the Crimson. Arizona has its own 7-footer in the middle, freshman Kaleb Tarczewski, with freshmen forwards Grant Jerrett (6-10) and Brandon Ashley (6-8) coming off the bench. Kenyatta Smith, the 6-8 sophomore center for Harvard, needs to avoid the foul trouble that kept him on the bench for long stretches against New Mexico.
TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT ARIZONA (26-7): Mark Lyons had his best game in six weeks in the tournament opener, scoring a team-high 23 points. The senior transfer from Xavier has been playing out of position at point guard the entire season, but appears to be more comfortable with the ball-handling responsibilities. He hasn't turned the ball over more than twice in the last three games, something he struggled with at times this season. His defense will be just as important against the Crimson, who are sixth in the nation in 3-point shooting (40.3 percent).
ABOUT HARVARD (20-9): Arizona and Harvard haven't played since 1977 but that doesn't mean some players haven't crossed paths. Arizona has six players with Southern California ties and Harvard has two; Smith and Wesley Saunders, the team's leading scorer (16.5). Saunders, a 6-5 sophomore guard, has reached double figures in scoring in every game this season, including a team-high 18 points in the second-round upset against New Mexico. Another player that can't be left alone is shooting guard Laurent Rivard, who's shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
1. Arizona senior F Solomon Hill is eight points from moving into 20th in career scoring at the school and three rebounds from moving into 10th. Six former Wildcats rank in the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in rebounding.
2. Of the 210 shots Rivard has taken this season, 193 have come from 3-point range.
3. Arizona is 26-5 all-time against teams seeded 10th through 16th in the NCAA Tournament.
PREDICTION: Arizona 72, Harvard 55