It’s the ‘feel good story’ of the early college basketball season. I understand if you ‘want’ Harvard to win tonight. Many neutral fans probably do. But don’t let ‘want to’ blend with ‘gonna happen.’ It’s a dangerous recipe, and one that has kept Vegas casinos in business for quite a many years.
UConn and Harvard nearly faced off two weeks ago in the Bahamas as the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Harvard pulled off the ‘upset’ of Florida State in one semi-final in a game I had classified as the most dreadful watch of the season until last night’s Illinois v St Bonaventure 49-45 clunker. The Crimson’s 46-41 win over the Seminoles was highlighted by 17 turnovers and 27% shooting. And that was by the WINNING team. Not pretty.
UConn was derailed by an inexplicable, and somewhat fluky, 17-point blown second half lead and lost in the other semifinal to UCF. UCF will compete for third in a decent Conference USA, but let’s face it – that comeback was a complete fluke. The other huge difference? UConn was still without point guard freshman sensation Ryan Boatright. Their point guard, Shabazz Napier committed seven turnovers in the second half. That won’t happen now that Boatright is holding the reigns.
Harvard is a nice story. They are a smart team who takes good shots and defends well as a team. They are, however, way too small and too slow to defend Boatright and All-American Jeremy Lamb. I think UConn’s high octane offense will be able to dictate the pace enough to speed up Harvard just enough to take control of the game. UConn is bigger, quicker, stronger; better at nearly every position. And to have to only lay five and a half at home??? It’s a no-brainer. Gimme the Huskies in Storrs rolling over the Crimson tonight.
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