Harvard basketball coach Tommy Amaker knows that the TV talking heads have their pots to stir. Amaker thus is unaffected by predictions that his team will upset Cincinnati in the NCAA tournament.

Harvard is a No. 12 seed and UC a No. 5 seed for their second-round game Thursday (2:10 p.m.) in Spokane, Wash., with analysts Doug Gottlieb and Seth Davis both picking Harvard to oust UC during the CBS-TV selection show Sunday.

"It makes for good banter and debate, but I don't know that it has any bearing on the teams involved," Amaker said, speaking Monday on a media teleconference.

Ivy League champion Harvard was an NCAA tournament darling in 2013 when, as a No. 14 seed, the Crimson upset No. 3 seed New Mexico. The fairytale was ended by Arizona in the next round, but in 2014 Harvard again is a popular choice to make noise.

"We weren't picked last year, and I think that's one reason why someone thinks of us as a trendy pick," Amaker said.

Amaker, 48, was a point guard for Duke from 1983-87. Amaker then was a Duke assistant coach for nine years before taking head coaching jobs at Seton Hall, Michigan and Harvard. This is Amaker's seventh season at Harvard.

After going 8-22 in his first year at Harvard, Amaker has built things to where NCAA tournaments are the norm. This is the Crimson's third consecutive NCAA appearance but only the fourth overall.

"These were the types of things we talked about when coach Amaker recruited us," Harvard senior guard Brandyn Curry said during Monday's teleconference. "This was the program we were trying to build."

Curry also said that Harvard respects UC and its reputation for hard-nosed play.

"We know they're very aggressive, and we know we'll be in for a dogfight," Curry said. "We pride ourselves on being a great defensive team as well."

Harvard also can score, with all five starters averaging in double figures. The top Crimson player is 6-foot-5 junior guard Wesley Saunders, who averages 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists and was named Ivy League Player of the Year.

"These kids know what it means to prepare for these types of moments," Amaker said. "We will be ready. We will be prepared for it."