Ivy League: Pennsylvania Will Roll As Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Princeton

Willie Bee

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 12:52 PM GMT

The final Ivy League game of the season is part of the Tuesday college basketball betting card, and the Princeton Tigers are big home favorites against the Penn Quakers.

Let's begin with my respect the Ivy League where the term 'student-athlete' actually applies to every sport played at the eight institutions. The conference is steeped in rich traditions, both on the playing fields and in the classroom, and one certainly can't argue with the value a degree holds from any university belonging to the Ancient 8.

Still, it's time the conference came out of the dark ages and started holding its own postseason basketball tournament. If nothing else, it would keep us from having a useless game like Tuesday's battle between the Pennsylvania Quakers and Princeton Tigers, especially during a week when so many leagues are holding their tourneys.

The Quakers and Tigers will be under the watchful eye of ESPN3 where the game will be streamed from Jadwin Gymnasium beginning at 7 PM (ET). Bookmaker sent the Tigers outs at -16 with a 147 point total showing up first on SBR's live NCAA Basketball Odds.

As late as last Friday, it looked as if this game would hold some significance. Princeton went into last weekend just a behind Yale in the Ivy League ranks, giving the Tigers a chance to at least earn a tie with the Bulldogs by winning out. That would have forced a 1-game playoff between Yale and Princeton, but it's all for naught now after Harvard toppled the Tigers last Friday night in Cambridge.

Yale won its final two games to capture the Ivy League crown and send the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 54 years.

 

Princeton Should Still Get Dance Invite
Sure, this game does mean something to the fans, alumni and players on both sides, above all those players on both teams who are taking the court for the very last time before beginning their careers as doctors, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, etc. On the Pennsylvania (11-6 straight up, 9-10-1 against that spread) side, that list includes leading scorer Darien Nelson-Henry (12.7 PPG), the 6-11 center also topping the rebounding column at 8.1 boards a game.

Steve Donahue's group reaches New Jersey having lost their last three, and four of the last five while covering only once the past six trips to the floor. Defense has been an issue in the losing skid, opponents averaging nearly 80 points a contest and shooting 56% from the field, 46% from beyond the arc.

Only one senior on the Princeton (21-6 SU, 8-9-1 ATS) roster will be playing for the last time, that being guard Mike Washington Jr. who is averaging under four minutes of floor time per game. So the good news for Mitch Henderson is he'll have a very experienced club coming back next season to be among the favorites for the Ivy League title. Leading the way are juniors Henry Caruso, Steven Cook and Spencer Weisz, not to mention freshman Devin Cannady who is second on the team in scoring.

Even better news is the fact Princeton should still be headed for the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are in the top 40 on the RPI meter and sit 60th in the Pomeroy Ratings.

 

Tigers Have Dominated Quakers In Recent Years
Penn holds the 124-109 all-time advantage in this rivalry, one of the oldest in college hoops, and going back to the rich tradition of the Ivy League, the Quakers and Tigers have played their final conference games against one another each of the last 12 seasons. It  has been all Princeton recently, however, the Tigers winning seven of the last eight and 12 of the past 14.

They also opened their Ivy schedules against one another in January at The Palestra where the Tigers posted a 73-71 triumph in overtime  Cannady hit the shot that forced OT with 20 seconds remaining and made the steal with a few seconds left in extra play to seal the victory which failed to cover a -7 spread.

Princeton can't afford to lose this one or its chances to make the NCAA's could be gone. I still can't lay 16 on the Tigers for my NCAA basketball pick, so give me the Quakers

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Pennsylvania +16 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker