NCAA Basketball Pick: Yale Bulldogs vs. Dartmouth Big Green

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 7, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

It is Friday night Ivy League action when the Yale Bulldogs try to buck the early success of the home teams in Ivy play as they pay a visit to the Dartmouth Big Green.

The road team looks to make a statement with a big road win to help stamp itself an Ivy League contender this season Friday night when those Yale Bulldogs (9-9, 2-7 away) pay a visit to the Dartmouth Big Green (9-9, 7-4 home) at Leede Arena in Hanover, NH at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Yale as a tiny road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1 with odds of -113.

Most experts are conceding the Ivy League to Harvard this year, and understandably so as the Crimson have been nationally ranked at times this season and are ranked 36th in the country on the Pomeroy Ratings. However, the other Ivy League teams will not just hand Harvard anything, and Yale was considered one of the Crimson’s biggest challengers entering this season.

This could be a chance for Yale to show that it belongs in the conversation. The Bulldogs are ted with Brown in the Ivy League standings at 3-1, just one game behind 4-0 Harvard as of now, but the Bulldogs have gone 3-0 at home while losing their only conference road game at Brown. That has been par for the course in the Ivy League so far this season as the home teams have gone 13-2 straight up in all conference games!

Yale needs to show that it can buck that trend if it wants to be taken seriously as a title contender, and this trip to Hanover tonight is a nice place to start. The Bulldogs were one of just three Ivy League teams to post a winning conference record last season finishing third at 8-6, and that was with a young club that graduated only one senior, fueling some optimism for this year.

Yale has played good defense in its Ivy games ranking third in the conference in efficiency, and the Bulldogs in fact rank a good 71st nationally in defensive turnover percentage, which is a big key in this game vs. a turnover prone Dartmouth team. Now, the Bulldogs are not a great shooting team, but they have helped offset that by leading the Ivy in both offensive rebounding percentage and in FTA/FGA percentage.

Dartmouth may have the same overall record as Yale at 9-9, but keep in mind that the Bulldogs faced a considerably tougher non-conference schedule ranked 126th in SOS prior to the start of Ivy play while the Big Green only tackled a non-conference slate ranked 324th in SOS.

Dartmouth evened up its Ivy League record at 2-2 last weekend while also continuing the early dominance of the home teams in the conference by beating Penn and Princeton here in New Hampshire. However, that home streak could be in jeopardy here vs. a good defense that turns teams over as the Big Green are a dismal 304th in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 20.8 percent, well above the national average of 18.5 percent.

Furthermore, it was recently learned that leading scorer Gabas Maldunas is now out for the season with a torn ACL, and considering that Dartmouth is ranked 249th in the country in scoring at 68.8 points per game even with Maldunas for most of the season, the Big Green may now have to really scramble to score points.

Thus, look for Yale to get that big road win to show that they can still be a threat to Harvard for the Ivy title on Friday.

[gameodds]14/257053/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Yale -1 (-113)

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