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SPOKANE, WA (FOX19) -
It doesn't take a Harvard grad to figure out who the experts are picking Thursday in Spokane.
Many analysts are predicting Harvard to beat Cincinnati as the upset special of the bracket, with Harvard looking for their second tournament win in program history.
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin has made a point since Sunday of reminding his team that Harvard upset New Mexico last year as a 14-seed.
"They're a whole new team and it's a whole different environment" said Senior Sean Kilpatrick. "They're a great team, but also we're a great team as well. We're a top ten team in defense in the country. So, it's going to be a good match for the both of us."
"I really don't care what people have to say. I never did, so why would I now? All that matters is what happens between them lines," fellow senior Justin Jackson added.
These are two great programs with great respect for each other, even though they haven't met on the court since 1974, both coaches are very locked in on what to expect.
"They'll run sets in their offense where they throw six or seven passes before the ball hits the floor. And then your heads spinning, and the guy just goes and shoots a layup. They are a very skilled team when it comes to passing the basketball," said Cronin.
Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker led the Crimson to a 26-4 record this season, and has the program believing they can do the unthinkable again, but it won't be easy against one of the top defensive teams in the country.
"You look at their team through the years and they've always been known for blue collar, tough brand of basketball. So, we anticipate that. That's what we've seen all season. That's why, in my opinion, they've been successful," said Amaker.
This is the fourth straight tournament appearance for the Bearcats, they're a long way from home, and still a long way from completing the ultimate goal this season.
"A win is big, not to lose in the first round, to prove people wrong. We had a wonderful season," said freshman guard Troy Caupain. "Why end it now? I don't think we should. We put in too much time to end it. The seniors don't want to and the underclassmen don't want to. We're playing for them."
"If we win this game tomorrow, it's something that's huge for all of us because we get a chance to let the world see what we're about and that's going to help us a lot," adds Kilpatrick.
Cincinnati and Harvard tipoff at 2:10 p.m. eastern time in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Spokane. If the Bearcats win, they would face Michigan State or Delaware in the third round Saturday.
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