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Harvard at Columbia

1/29/10

Ah, Friday. Friday is like a vacation day for a hoops handicapper. It's "Ivy Night". A short card with only 8 college hoops games to look at as we prepare for the onslaught of Saturday. It's not uncommon to have to pass the entire card on Friday, but we did manage to find one game worth a look.

Harvard goes on the road tonight to take on Columbia. Currently Harvard is favored at most sportsbooks by 8 to 8.5 points. It was -9 initially but some of the early action came in on Columbia which has brought the line down a tad.

In reality, this is a game that Harvard can name the score if they show up to play and don't take Columbia lightly, which is always a danger. The difference between these two programs is like night and day this year. Harvard is the real deal. They have proven already this season that they can play with anyone in the country. They came damn close to knocking off UCONN. They won on the road at Boston College. They played competitively at Georgetown earlier in the year before the Hoyas put them away. They also knocked off George Washington. Those are some big time names on their dance card, all of which they beat, or almost beat, with the exception of the Hoyas.

There are no such results on 6-10 Columbia's record. Their trip to the big time was a 25 point loss to Syracuse earlier in the year. Scroll thru the rest of their schedule and you'll see a list of schools that oddsmakers don't even put on the betting board. Teams like Quinnipiac and Maine, which, by the way, both beat Columbia. Their only other games of note were two games against Ivy powerhouse Cornell, both losses by 20+ points.

Once again the danger of a spot like this is the letdown. It happens in all sports. Teams often play to the level of their competition. It's easy to see how a team as good as Harvard might take a team like Columbia lightly. Next thing you know, they are down with 5 minutes to go and have to scratch and claw to pull out a win. But if they show up and play full throttle from start to finish, they name their score here.

As mentioned in previous articles, we play hoops by the numbers. The numbers say Harvard 75-57. We'll lay the spot. Harvard -8

 

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