March Madness

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: (4) Michigan State vs. (12) Harvard

A preview of a Round of 32 matchup between Michigan State and Harvard.

Yannis Koutroupis profile picture
Updated 12 months ago on
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(4) Michigan State Spartans
There was no bigger star on the opening day of the tournament than Spartans senior power forward Adreian Payne. Payne erupted for a career-high 41 points on 10-15 shooting from the field, 4-5 from three and 17-17 from the charity stripe – a NCAA record. Former Davidson Wildcat and now Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the last player to go for 40 in the tourney. His performance completely overshadowed strong showings from Delaware’s Devon Saddle (21 points, 4-5 from three) and Davon Usher (20 points, five rebounds). Travis Trice was the Spartans’ second lead scorer with 19 off of the bench. As a team they shot 53 percent from the field, 52 percent from deep and 92 percent from the free throw line. They also outrebounded Delaware by 18. They came into the tournament rolling and their opening round performance did nothing to dispel the notion that they’re the best team in the field right now. For a lot of teams in the Round of 32 the Crimson would be a scary matchup, but the Spartans are equipped with everything the Bearcats lacked to attack the Ivy League representative. Payne probably won’t have another night like he did on Thursday, but his teammates are sure to make up for the inevitable dropoff.

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(12) Harvard Crimson
For the second consecutive season and second time in program history the Crimson have advanced to the Round of 32. From a seeding standpoint their 61-57 victory against the Cincinnati Bearcats is an upset, but it’s hard to really classify it as such because so many people predicted and expected it. The Crimson did a great job defensively against one of the premier scorers in the country in Sean Kilpatrick, limiting him to 18 points while forcing him into five turnovers. Wesley Saunders led them offensively with 12 points and four assists, while Laurent Rivard and Siyani Chambers chipped in 11 apiece as well. There are few coaches in the country whose stock is as hot as Crimson head coach Tommy Amaker’s, however this was not his team’s best performance this season even though it led to their most important victory. They really struggled on the defensive glass, allowing the Bearcats to grab 16 offensive rebounds. They also missed 11 free throws in the game. In the Round of 32 they’re going against a team in the Spartans that many have picked to win the national championship. They’re going to look to further expose them on the glass and see how their defense handles their offensive attack that is much more versatile and balanced than Cincinnati’s.

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Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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