Add Columbia +6.5 To Your NCAA Basketball Picks In Ivy League Clash vs. Yale

Mark Lathrop

Friday, February 5, 2016 12:48 AM UTC

Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 12:48 AM UTC

The Columbia Lions stunned Yale on their home court last year. Do they have what it takes to do it again and upset the NCAA Basketball odds in Friday afternoon's Ivy League matchup?

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Columbia +6.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 


In a matchup between the leaders of the Ivy League, the Columbia Lions (15-6, 4-0) travel to the Yale Bulldogs (13-5, 4-0) to decide the early frontrunner in the league. Both teams are undefeated in league play thus far, but play each team twice before season’s end. Yale has opened up as a 6.5-point home favorite on the NCAA Basketball odds board at sites such as Heritage. The O/U total has been initially listed at 135.5 at Bookmaker. This game has a 11:00 AM EST start time, so don’t sleep in too much, and it can be seen nationally on Fox Sports 1.

In their last game Yale was able to hold off the Princeton Tigers at home 79-75 for their eighth straight victory in a row. Yale’s leading scorer for the season, sophomore guard Makai Mason, was huge in that game and put up his best scoring effort of the season. Mason logged 22 points on a blistering 5-6 shooting performance from 3-point range. It was Mason’s best shooting night of the year from that range, as he averages just 36.9% from three over the season. He is averaging 15.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game this year as well.

Yale is 13-5 this year, but the five losses they have been stung with were from no lightweights. Losses to SMU, Duke, Illinois, Albany, and USC are the only marks on Yale’s campaign this year. Nearly all of those teams are ranked in the top 100 of RPI while Yale is carrying a RPI rank of 84 so far this year. The character of SMU’s season would have been incredibly different had they not come back and beat Yale 71-69 on their home court in the 4th game of the season.

Columbia is coming off a win that required 39:59 to pull off, as senior forward Alex Rosenberg drained a last second jumper to beat Harvard 55-54 at Harvard. The Lions got off to a terrible start, trailing 33-17 at halftime, before rallying in the second half to win the game. Close games are not new to Columbia, even in their losses, as four of their six losses on the year have been by differences of three points or less.

Although it was Rosenberg who was the hero against Harvard, Columbia is led in scoring on the year by senior guard, Maodo Lo. Coming over from Germany, Lo averages 15.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game this year over 32.1 minutes. It is the third season in a row that Lo has averaged more than 32 minutes per game for the Lions. The starting five of Columbia is mostly upper classmen as a result.

In the last matchup between these teams almost a year ago at Yale, it was the road underdog Columbia winning outright 56-50 as 7.5 point underdogs. Maodo Lo was again the top scorer for the Lions in that game, scoring 18 points. Columbia had the rebounding edge in the game, 35 to 24, and Yale struggled from the free throw line shooting only 7-16 – good for 43.8%.

There are simply too many points being given to Yale in what should be an intense league matchup for me to feel comfortable laying the chalk. With many of Columbia’s players on the team that successfully upset Yale last year in their house, it is hard to think that they will lose by double digits. Take the Lions and the 6.5 points at Heritage in what should be a good game in the Ivy League to start your Friday with a winning NCAA Basketball pick.

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