NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day: Top ATS Plays For Friday

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 9:37 PM UTC

Yale can't clinch the Ivy League title and an NCAA bid Friday night, but it could get very close to doing so if it beats Cornell as expected and gets some help from rival Harvard. Here are my top three picks for Friday on Heritage's NCAA Basketball odds.

Princeton vs. Harvard (+6.5)
Yale and Harvard are bitter rivals, but sometimes your enemy can advance your own ambitions. That's why this week Yale star Justin Sears said this: "Yeah, it's tough to root for Harvard, but if it comes down to it, I will." Yale would win the Ivy League title and its first NCAA Tournament berth in 54 years if it sweeps this weekend -- at Cornell, at Columbia, and it should win both those -- and Princeton loses one of its final three games. Friday's matchup at Harvard is the Tigers' toughest test left; they finish at Dartmouth and home to Penn. If  Princeton and Yale tie, they have a one-game playoff. Princeton (20-5, 10-1) enters this on an eight-game winning streak since a close loss at Yale. This is the 17th time Princeton has been 10-1 or 11-0 through 11 Ivy League games. It won the title in the previous 16. The eight-game Ivy League winning streak is the school's longest in five years. Harvard (12-16, 4-8) is the four-time defending Ivy League champion but can only play spoiler now. Princeton's winning streak began with an 83-62 home win over Harvard on Feb. 5. Steven Cook had 21 points and Henry Caruso 19 for the Tigers, who led by 16 at halftime. The Crimson wouldn't get closer than 10 in the second half. Harvard's best player this season, Zena Edosomwan (13.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg), missed the game due to injury. Harvard has won five straight at home in the series.

Princeton at -5.5 NCAA Basketball odds. The Tigers are 3-0-1 ATS in the past four road games. Harvard  is 0-5 ATS in its past five at home. Princeton is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Princeton -5.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Southern Illinois vs. Northern Iowa (-4.5)
This is a quarterfinal game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, with SIU as the No. 5 seed and UNI at No. 4. The winner almost surely will play top-seeded Wichita State on Saturday. Southern Illinois (22-9) is led by Anthony Beane, who was named first-team All-MVC this week, becoming the first Saluki first-teamer since Randal Falker in 2008. He's undergoing concussion tests but  Coach Barry Hinson "anticipates" Beane will play Friday. The 6-foot-2 senior guard hit his head on the floor after trying to block a dunk attempt by a Missouri State player last Saturday. Beane left for a while, came back in and then left for good shortly after. Beane hasn't missed a game in his SIU career. Northern Illinois (19-12) closed the regular season winning three straight and nine of 10 -- and that includes  a victory over Wichita State. The Panthers are again one of the nation's best defensive teams, allowing just 63.6 ppg. SIU and UNI split two regular-season  meetings. Southern won  75-73 at home on Jan. 2. Beane had 32 points. Northern Iowa won at home 67-58 on Jan. 31. Bennett Koch scored 22 points with 11 rebounds -- both career highs -- in the win. Beane was held to 16.

Northern Iowa. Southern Illinois is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 games. UNI is 9-1 ATS in its past 10.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Northern Iowa -5.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


No. 23 Texas vs. Oklahoma State (+2.5)
It's the final home game for Oklahoma State, which probably means the final game in Stillwater for Coach Travis Ford, a former guard at OSU. The Pokes (12-18, 3-14) are going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 and finish with their worst record  under Ford, who has been there since 2008-09. I'm sure OSU boosters will dream of luring alum Bill Self away from Kansas, but that's crazy talk. One name you keep hearing as a possible replacement for Ford: former OSU player and current CBS Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb. He has openly campaigned for the job in the past. He also has no coaching experience. Oklahoma State dropped to 1-8 against ranked teams this season -- somehow it beat Kansas -- with a 58-50 loss at Iowa State on Monday. It was the Cowboys' fifth straight defeat overall and the previous four had all been by at least 14 points. OSU played Monday without two starters: guards Leyton Hammonds (finger) and Jeffrey Carroll (illness). Both are listed as questionable here. Jeff Newberry, the only OSU player to start every game this season, will be among the seniors honored before this one. Texas (19-11, 10-7) is looking to finish with a top-four seed for next week's Big 12 Tournament. The Horns were embarrassed in their home finale on Monday by  No. 1 Kansas, 86-56. Texas beat visiting OSU 74-69 on Jan. 16 but has dropped four straight in Stillwater.

Back Texas -3.5 with your NCAA Basketball picks. The Horns are 5-1 ATS in their past six road games. The Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their past four.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Texas -3.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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