2014 Harvard Crimson Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/18/2014
The Harvard Crimson shouldn't be considered a "Cinderella" team anymore. That term is usually saved for teams that either aren't expected to win or probably shouldn't win in the NCAA Tournament. Harvard has won their first game in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row. The Crimson upended New Mexico two years ago as a No. 14 seed and then beat Cincinnati as a No. 12 seed last year. On the surface it appeared to be two stunning upsets, but they really weren't. The truth is, this Harvard team didn't luck their way into winning those games; they were just the better team. It wasn't their fault the tournament committee underseeded them.
Harvard now has their sights set on making it at least one step further in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson want to make it at least to the Sweet 16. Last year's team nearly pulled off a big upset in their Round of 32 game against Michigan State, but they came up just short. Can the Crimson get back to the tournament and make it to the Sweet 16?
2014 Harvard Key Losses and Additions
Harvard did lose three key seniors from last year's team. Kyle Casey, Laurent Ravard, and Brandyn Curry were all huge parts of the team's success over the past few seasons. All three of them averaged between nine and 10 points per game last year. Rivard and Curry were the team's most explosive three-point shooters, while Curry was a strong player in the post and on the glass. All three of those guys are going to be missed in a big way.
The newcomers to the Harvard Crimson team include Chris Egi, who is expected to contribute right away for Harvard. Egi is a Canadian who played at Montverde Academy in Florida, and he's a 6-foot-9 frontcourt guy who has a very nice skill set. Corbin Miller returns from an LDS Mission last year. Miller averaged 3.8 points per game as a freshman in the 2011-12 season. Andre Chatfield should give the team some extra depth on the wing.
2014 Harvard Backcourt
Harvard has the perfect point guard to run Amaker's system in Siyanni Chambers. Chambers is a heady player, but he knows when to take chances. His athletic ability allows him to get into the lane with ease. While he doesn't often take it all the way to the hoop himself, he does get into the lane and kick it out to open shooters with regularity. Chambers is also a 38 percent shooter from long range. Wesley Saunders is the starting shooting guard, and he was the Ivy League Player of the Year last year. Saunders is a do-everything type of guard who means a ton to his team. He's only a junior, but he is the leader of this team. The one knock on this year's backcourt is they don't have much depth. That depth issue won't show up much in the Ivy League, but it could hurt them in the NCAA Tournament.
2014 Harvard Frontcourt
Harvard's frontcourt is extremely deep, so depth won't be an issue here. The Crimson have tons of talented players up front. Steve Mondou-Missi will start and star in the post. Mondou-Missi was their best low-post scorer and rebounder a year ago. It's a little bit open as to who will start up front beside him, but there are plenty of great candidates. Kenyatta Smith has loads of talent, but he was hurt most of last year. Smith should be back this year, and he has the potential to be a big impact guy for the Crimson. Zena Edosomwan was a highly-rated recruit a couple years ago, and I expect him to make some noise with Casey gone. Egi is only a freshman, but he has the type of game to come in and make an impact immediately.
2014 Harvard Crimson Futures Odds
The Harvard Crimson have made some noise at the NCAA Tournament in the past couple years, but they still aren't getting much respect from the oddsmakers as far as their potential to win it all. Harvard is going to be very good again, but it's highly unlikely a team with depth issues in the backcourt from the Ivy League could make a deep run in the tournament. BetOnline lists Harvard at +15,000 to win the NCAA Tournament.
2014 Harvard Crimson Predictions and NCAA Basketball Picks
Harvard looks just a little weaker on paper coming into this season compared to last year. Still, this team should once again dominate the Ivy League and coast into the NCAA Tournament without hardly any issues. Amaker is a very underrated coach, and by the end of the season this team is going to be very dangerous. Hopefully the tournament committee won't underseed them so badly again this year. I don't think this team has quite enough depth to reach the Sweet 16, but I'll call for another win in their first game of the tournament.
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