NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet Princeton +4.5 vs. Columbia

Jeff Grant

Friday, February 6, 2015 2:01 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 2:01 PM GMT

Princeton has built a reputation of playing its best basketball late in the season, which makes it a dangerous road underdog against Columbia Friday night.

Coming Together
Princeton has won six of eight games since starting the season with a 3-8 record, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it looks to win its first game away from home or on a neutral floor.

The Tigers have won their last five road games in this Ivy League matchup—their longest such streak since winning seven straight from 1994-2000.

It’s important to point out that the program has compiled a 40-17 SU record after New Year’s Day in head coach Mitch Henderson’s four seasons on campus, while producing a 27-25 mark before the holiday.

Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the team is 3-13 SU and 9-7 ATS as underdogs, with the UNDER going 5-3 in eight opportunities.

 

Defensive Intensity
Columbia is 26th in the country in surrendering just 59.0 points per game, which can’t be ignored when looking over SBR's live college basketball odds, as it has done a remarkable job of defending the perimeter this season.

The Lions rank behind just 10 teams in allowing opponents to shooting 28.5 percent from beyond the arc, but they haven’t faced many perimeter-oriented teams through their first 18 games.

Over the past two-plus seasons, the squad is 3-2 SUATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 6 points.

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From Way Downtown
The Tigers have made more 3-pointers than their opponents in 11 of 17 games, while 47.4 percent of their shot attempts come from that area of the floor.

Princeton certainly isn’t going to change its offensive game plan due to Columbia’s success in defending the outside shot, as leading scorer Spencer Weisz will lead the charge—the 2014 Ivy League Rookie of the Year averages 12.6 points a contest.

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Coming Alive
In their last nine games, the Lions’ bench has outscored its opponents’ reserves by a 248-103 margin, but they still rank just 227th in the country in terms of minutes from reserves.

Columbia also has one of the more talented freshman in the country in Kyle Castlin, who has started all 18 games and leads first-year players in the league in shooting 49.3 percent from the floor.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Tigers as one of their free NCAA Basketball picks, as they’ve gone 5-0 ATS in their last five road games in this rivalry, while the visitor has also covered the number in the last four installments.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Princeton Tigers +4.5 at Pinnacle 

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