Lock Princeton In Potential Blowout vs. Cornell Is Our NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 12, 2016 4:25 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 4:25 PM UTC

There is potential for a blowout in Ivy League action Friday night when one of the conference title contenders, Princeton, looks to flex its muscles during a visit to Cornell.


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NCAA Basketball Pick: Princeton -9 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


The road favorite seems to have a huge edge talent wise in Friday evening Ivy League action when those Princeton Tigers (14-5, 4-5 ATS) pay a visit to the seemingly outclassed Cornell Big Red (9-11, 6-7 ATS) at Newman Arena in Ithaca, NY at 6:00 ET in a game available on ASN.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Princeton as a fairly big road favorite for this contest with the current line at -9 on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.


Trying to Keep Pace with Yale
Princeton has a tradition of Ivy League supremacy, and here they are back in the mix for another Ivy title at 4-1 in conference play. That actually leaves them third in the conference behind Yale, which is a perfect 6-0 and handed the Tigers their only loss, and Columbia at 5-1. Princeton has a big date at Columbia tomorrow night, but given the tightness of the standings, the Tigers know that they can ill afford to look past Cornell here.

And if Princeton comes to take care of business as we expect, then we simply do not see how Cornell can remain competitive this game. The Big Red have been the losing NCAA Basketball picks in their last two contests, and probably the best win for Cornell all season was by one point in non-conference play vs. a Siena team currently ranked 112th in the country overall on the Pomeroy Ratings. Most recently, Cornell lost by 31 points at Yale 83-52 last Saturday.


Ranked 69th on Pomeroy
The Ivy League will almost certainly be a one-bid conference when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, but it is still interesting that the conference currently has two teams safely in the Pomeroy Top 100, with Yale ranked a very good 57th in the country overall and this Princeton team ranked 69th. That would have put the Tigers on the fringe of an at-large berth if they played in a stronger conference. Comparatively, Cornell is ranked 215th on Pomeroy.

As it stands, only the winner of the Ivy League is going to the Big Dance and remember that this is the only conference that does not play a post-season tournament, meaning that the Tigers have to win all winnable games like this to have a chance at winning the regular season title.

Princeton is solid on both ends of the court, ranking 61st in the country in offensive efficiency and 93rd in defensive efficiency. Furthermore, the Tigers are second in both of those categories in conference play as all four of their Ivy wins have been by double-digits, with the latest win being by 13 points 83-70 vs. Dartmouth on Saturday. Princeton also played well in its only Ivy loss to Yale, losing by only four points on the road in New Haven.


What Can Cornell Do?
So what can Cornell do to hang close in this game assuming Princeton is not looking ahead to Columbia on Saturday? Well, that is a very good question that we do not have an answer to, which is why this is one of those rare occasions where we have no qualms about giving this many points on the road.

The betting market seems to agree with us as this betting line has been rising across the board since its opening including what looks like some sharp early action. And why would it not be? After all, while Princeton is solid on both ends, Cornell is not ranking 272nd nationally in offensive efficiency and 167th in defensive efficiency, as well as ranking seventh and sixth respectively in those two categories inside the eight-team Ivy League.

Besides Princeton figuring to hit more shots in this game, Cornell also figures to be severely lacking in second chance opportunities that may be necessary to try and stay close. That is because the Big Red are an abysmal 337th out of 351 NCAA Basketball Division I teams in offensive rebounding percentage at 22.9 percent vs. a national average of 29.9 percent, while Princeton is an outstanding ninth in the entire country in defensive rebounding percentage!


Head-to-Head Success
Finally, Princeton has had good success in this head-to-head series going 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings overall. The Tigers have also been resilient from a betting perspective, going a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss, which come into play here because they “only” won by 13 points as hefty 15-point favorites over Dartmouth.

We do not expect Princeton to be looking ahead to the Columbia game here because the Tigers know that all of the remaining regular season games are big in an Ivy League that has no post-season tournament, so look for a decisive double-digit win visiting seemingly outmanned Cornell on Friday.

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