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Giant Killers: East Region

Best chances for potential NCAA tournament upsets

Updated: March 18, 2014, 1:16 PM ET
By Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner | ESPN Insider

West | South | East | Midwest

For each of the four regions, we'll break down the six Giant vs. Killer matchups. (Remember, a Giant Killer is any team that beats an opponent seeded at least five spots higher. See our full methodology here for more details.)

Per tradition, we have divided the games among four categories: Best Bets, Worth A Long Look, Not Completely Crazy and Stay Away. We can't tell you exactly how to play your brackets; that depends on how much upsets are worth in your pool. But we can give you the odds of upsets, based on statistical analysis that begins with teams' basic power ratings and layers in their "Secret Sauce" (their statistical similarity to past Davids and Goliaths) and adjusts further for the matchup of their playing styles.

We covered the Midwest and South on Monday, have the East and West on Tuesday and look ahead to future rounds on Wednesday.

Here are matchups to watch in the East Region ...

Best Bets

No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats (Giant rating: 85.9) vs. No. 12 Harvard Crimson (Giant Killer rating: 19.6)
Upset chance: 36.2 percent

The case for Harvard is straightforward and actually getting a little trendy. This Crimson team is the best and deepest of the squads Tommy Amaker has assembled since arriving in Cambridge. They protect the ball and hit the offensive glass far better than they did on their way to Cinderella status last year. And their defense is better than most past Killers in that they're effective against both interior and perimeter shooting (allowing 96.3 points per 100 possessions after adjusting for opponent strength, ranking 35th in the NCAA).

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