NCAA Basketball Picks: Friday's Value Plays

Joe Catalano

Friday, February 22, 2013 4:12 PM GMT

We have a very small slate of games for NCAA Basketball Friday with #15 Butler vs. St. Louis headlining the night. Let’s see if we can squeeze some profit as inter-conference tournaments are almost at our doorstep.

Princeton (12-9, 5-2) at Columbia (10-12, 2-6)

Both of these teams will have to win the Ivy League Tournament if they have any hopes of it making it to this year’s NCAA Tournament. In this matchup we have an average Ivy League school in Princeton that has fared well in the conference against a below average squad in Columbia, who has the home court advantage.

NCAA Basketball odds list Princeton as the small 2 point favorite. In a prior meeting, Princeton came away with a home win at 72-66, and they clearly have a larger advantage than they are getting credit for. Both are poor rebounding teams that score in the low 60’s; you can expect a tight game here if Columbia brings any legitimate effort.

Tough as a Hummer

This is what Princeton senior forward, Ian Hummer, brings to the table. The Tigers have been quite successful in the Ivy League thanks to Hummer and his ability to be efficient and active. Hummer leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game. He’s scored in double figures in 19 out of 21 games this season.

Look for Ian Hummer to be ill-affected by a hostile Frances S. Levien Gymnasium as he plays against an inferior Columbia team and looks to help put pressure on the Ivy League leading Harvard Crimson. Princeton trails Harvard by 1.5 games for the conference lead, and a win tonight is a must in their minds.

Columbia has little momentum coming into this game as they’ve lost 6 of their last 7 games.

The point spread is quite low and should be enough for Princeton to dispose of the Lions.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Princeton -2 at 5 Dimes

[gameodds]14/221682/43/us[/gameodds]

Harvard (15-7, 7-1) at Brown (9-13, 3-5)

We stick with the Ivy League for the second of our NCAA Basketball picks tonight, as Harvard take on Brown.

The Crimson have been quite impressive this season, as they currently lead the Ivy League. Harvard also has a win over Boston College and played well against Connecticut in an 8 point defeat.

It’s the Ivy League

Harvard has won 6 out of its last 7 games, with the one loss coming to Columbia by 15 points just 3 games ago. The Ivy League does becomes unpredictable at times, as you have a dominant team in Harvard that loses by double figures to a subpar Ivy League team with just 2 inter-conference victories. Nothing is etched in stone. That said, Harvard is a 6.5 betting favorite and has been a consistent winner for most of the season.

A Thrilling Rematch?

In their other meeting this season, it took Harvard 2 overtime sessions to defeat Brown, 89-82. Brown never led in this game, but came back from a 5 point deficit with 20 seconds to go in regulation.  Brown also trailed Harvard by 3 in the 1st overtime with 38 seconds to go and guard, Stephen Albrecht, nailed a 3 pointer to send the game into double OT. Will we see a Harvard blowout or is Brown capable of competing with the big boys again?

Bombs Away!

One decisive advantage that Harvard has in this game is their ability to shoot from the outside. They rank 9th in the nation in field goal percentage and their top 3 scorers all shoot 41.8% or better from beyond the arc.

With sophomore Wesley Saunders (16.7 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2 spg) leading the way, this is a team that has the advantage down the stretch with their ability to shoot and knock down free throws.

6.5 points are a lot considering their last meeting, but Harvard is still the far superior team and look for them to beat up on Brown on the road.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Harvard -6.5 at 5 Dimes

[gameodds]14/221679/43/us[/gameodds]