Harvard vs. Columbia, 02/17/17 - Expert Prediction

Game Snapshot

#855 Columbia University Lions
#856 Harvard University Crimson

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Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Columbia Lions (10-11 SU, 7-6 ATS, 7-6 O/U) vs. Harvard Crimson (14-7 SU, 10-3-2 ATS, 8-7 O/U)

NCAAB: Friday, February 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. EST

The Line: Harvard -8 Total: 142.5

The Harvard Crimson will be attempting to push their winning streak to three games when they host the Columbia Lions at Lavietes Pavilion on Friday night. Harvard is coming off consecutive victories last week over Brown and Yale. The Lions have lost two in a row at the hands of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

Slow starts

Columbia was plagued by slow starts in last week’s pair of losses. The Lions trailed Pennsylvania by nine points at halftime en route to a 70-62 setback. They mounted a charge to lead by four midway through the second frame of play, but the Quakers eventually regained control. Columbia sealed its fate by grabbing only 10 rebounds in the first half compared to Penn’s 30, and the Lions lost the overall rebounding battle 48 to 31. One day later, Columbia trailed Princeton by as many as 20 points early in the second half. The Lions stormed back for a chance to either tie or take the lead late, but an off-the-mark three-point attempt allowed the Tigers to hold on for a 61-59 victory.

On the bright side for Columbia, sophomore Quinton Adlesh has emerged as one of the top sixth men in the Ivy League, providing a spark on both ends of the floor. In conference games, Adlesh leads the league in three-point shooting percentage (.583) and steals (2.1 spg). In the last six games, he has drained 12 of 17 attempts (70.6 percent) from downtown and is averaging 2.3 spg.

Players of the week

Harvard freshman Bryce Aiken, who is averaging 14.3 points per game, was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Monday. Aiken matched a career-high with 23 points against Brown before going for a new career-high of 27 at Yale’s expense. The Randolph, N.J. native helped the Crimson come back from a 10-point deficit against the Bears and emerge from an eight-point hole to overcome the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, senior Siyani Chambers simultaneously earned Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors. Chambers averaged 15.5 points in the two victories, adding 13 total assists to just three turnovers. He scored nine points in the second-half comeback against Yale, including seven over the last four minutes. Chambers leads the conference in assists at 5.9 per outing.

The Crimson have reeled off four consecutive wins since falling to Columbia last month. Last weekend consisted of an 87-74 defeat of Brown and a 75-67 triumph over Yale.

NCAAB Trends:

The Columbia Lions are:

  • 13-6 Over in their last 19 road games
  • 10-4 Over in their last 14 road games against teams with home winning percentages over .600
  • 13-6 Over in their last 19 games following a loss

The Harvard Crimson are:

  • 8-3 Over in their last 11 home games against teams with losing road records
  • 5-2 Over in their last seven games following an ATS win
  • 14-3-2 ATS in their last 18 overall

Columbia forward Luke Petrasek is approaching the 1,000-point milestone (957). The senior is averaging a team-high 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season (fourth and seventh in the Ivy League, respectively). Petrasek’s fine form must continue given that Aiken and Chambers have been outstanding for Harvard of late. The over is 13-6 in the Lions’ last 19 on the road, 10-4 in their last 14 on the road against opponents with home winning percentages over .600, and 13-6 in their last 19 following a loss. It is also 8-3 in the Crimson’s last 11 at home against opponents with losing road records and 5-2 in their last seven following an ATS win. Look for this one to go over the total.

Pick: Over

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Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.