#24 Harvard vs St. Joseph's: Preview & Prediction

December 31st, 2011

ST. JOSEPH’S (10-3) AT NO. 24 HARVARD (10-1)

 

Time: 4 p.m.

 

Location: Lavietes Pavilion

 

Line: Harvard -6.5.

 

St. Joseph’s Players to Watch: G Carl Jones, Jr. (18.5 ppg, 3.2 apg); G Langston Galloway, So. (16 ppg, 49.3% 3s); C C.J. Aiken, So. (11.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.3 bpg). Jones and Galloway are top-notch scorers and Aiken protects the rim like no one else in America.

 

Harvard Players to Watch: F Keith Wright, Sr. (10.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg); F Kyle Casey, Jr. (11.5 ppg, 53.5% FG); PG Brandyn Curry, Jr. (6.7 ppg, 4.8 apg). Wright’s scoring average is down nearly four points from last year, but he’s shooting 58 percent from the field. Casey – Harvard’s leading scorer – has scored just nine points in his last two outings.

 

Storylines: This is a big game for both teams, which would both be borderline at-large NCAA teams if one or the other doesn’t win its conference. St. Joseph’s lost a couple of head-scratchers early, but has looked like one of the Atlantic 10’s best teams during a 10-game winning streak, which includes a 74-58 win over Villanova. Harvard has won 11 of 12 and is coming off a 21-point bombing of Boston College.

 

Keys to Victory: Both teams are very balanced. Harvard will have to have its perimeter game going – as it has most of the season – with Aiken manning the middle for the Hawks.

 

The Bottom Line: Close games almost always come down to players who can create their own offense. The two best offensive weapons on the floor are Jones and Galloway, giving the Hawks a slight advantage, even on the road.

 

The Pick: St. Joseph’s 73, Harvard 68.