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Harvard vs. Yale

Basketball Pick with Analysis

1/27/12

For today's college basketball game of the day we go to the Ivy League and a game between Yale and Harvard. Harvard is ranked 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and comes in at 16-2 overall and 2-0 in league play. Yale is 12-4 on the year and also 2-0 in Ivy League play. Harvard opened as a -6.5 favorite at 5 Dimes but the early money has been on Harvard, dropping the line to -6 and even -5.5 at a shop or two. The Total is 128.

Yale's claim to fame this year is a 1 point loss at Wake Forest. Their other step up in class was at Florida, a 90-70 loss. Otherwise their wins have all come against fairly weak opposition, even losing to Quinnipiac. They opened up Ivy League play by hosting Brown and escaped with a disappointing narrow win over a Brown team that actually went to the football team for players! The played Brown again last week, on the road, and came away with a 13 point win.

Harvard on the other hand looks to be the cream of the crop in the Ivy League. They did lose at Fordham, but their other loss came at UCONN, no shame there. They own a couple of impressive wins as well, such as beating Florida State on a neutral floor, Central Florida, Vermont and BU on the road and St Josephs and George Washington at home. Some of the teams we just mentioned, with the exception of Florida State, are not exactly world beaters, but they are good quality teams as good or better than any other Ivy League team, including Yale.

This will be a matchup between two teams that shoot the ball well and keep opponents at 40% or less. It will also be a battle between the two best big men in the Ivy League, Greg Mangano for Yale and Keith Wright for Harvard.

We're simply going to ride our models prediction here. Our model does a very nice job at weighing the strength of a teams schedule and factoring that into the predicted score. Certainly when you look at some of the stats side by side, Yale looks every bit as good as Harvard, even better in some categories such as offensive rebounds. But missing from that equation is how those stats were achieved.

Our model says Harvard by 11, 67-56. We think the Crimson are a notch above the Bulldogs here so we'll go ahead and lay the 6 in what figures to be a close exciting game, at least most of the way. Harvard -6

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