Harvard Crimson (14-11 SU, 11-9-1 ATS, 7-14 O/U) vs. Princeton Tigers (11-14 SU, 7-14 ATS, 10-11 O/U)
NCAAB: Friday, February 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Princeton Tigers will be desperate to halt a six-game losing streak when they host the Harvard Crimson at Jadwin Gym on Friday night. Princeton most recently saw its woes extended with setbacks at Cornell and Columbia last weekend. The Crimson, on the other hand, are 5-0 in their last five and 8-1 in their last nine following recent victories over Brown and Yale.
Down the stretch they come
With the Ivy League lead in hand, Harvard is hitting the road for its final regular-season weekend away from Lavietes Pavilion (at Princeton and then at Penn). The Crimson are 14-11 overall and 9-1 in the Ivy League–the latter of which marks their best conference start since the 2o14-15 campaign. Harvard most recently clinched a top-two seed in the second-annual Ivy League Tournament with victories last week over Brown and Yale. The Crimson held their opponents to 58 and 49 points, respectively, while improving their league-leading scoring defense to 65.5 points per game.
Sophomore Seth Towns leads the Crimson with 15.8 points per game, including a league-best 19.7 points per game against Ivy competition. Towns also ranks second with 29 made threes during Ivy League action, and he picked up an Ivy League Player of the Week award on Jan. 22. Sophomore Christian Juzang has burst onto the scene in conference play, averaging 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and a team-high 3.4 assists per game. Juzang set a career-best with 20 points against Princeton and topped it just a week later with 21 against Brown. He also dished a career-best eight assists at Yale’s expense. The sophomore didn’t have any career double-figure games entering the Ivy season, but he has five since the league slate began–including four of the last five games.
Now or never
The Tigers’ six-game Ivy League skid is the program’s longest since the 2007-08 squad lost nine in a row against conference competition. That stretch in 2008 is the only other time that Princeton has lost as many as six straight Ivy games, so this is rare territory to say the least for Princeton. A berth in the four-team Ivy League Tournament, however, is still possible. Yale sits in third at 5-5 with Brown, Columbia, and Cornell all at 4-6 and Princeton one game back of that group at 3-7.
Princeton committed 15 turnovers in a 66-51 loss at Harvard two weeks ago, leading to a 17-8 Crimson advantage in points off turnovers. That tied for the Tigers’ second-most turnovers this season and was one of six games in which they committed at least 15. Harvard has forced at least 15 turnovers on nine occasions and has forced at least 10 TOs in all but four contests. Princeton has played seven games in which it has committed a single-digit number of turnovers. Harvard also outshot Princeton from the field in that game 44 percent to 34 percent despite going just 5-of17 (.294) from three-point range. Only six opponents have succeeded in holding Harvard worse than 40 percent shooting from the field. Juzang led Harvard with 20 points in the previous meeting between these two teams.
The Harvard Crimson are:
- 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games
- 20-7-2 ATS in their last 29 games against the Ivy League
The Princeton Tigers are:
- 0-7 ATS in their last seven overall
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a loss
- 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games following at least three consecutive road games
Harvard took care of business against Princeton without any trouble two weeks ago despite being unable to throw the ball in the ocean from three-point range. Juzang and Towns have been in fine form for Harvard of late, and there is no reason to think that will suddenly change. The Crimson are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 overall, 20-7-2 ATS in their last 29 against the Ivy League, 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road, 14-3-1 ATS in their last 18 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 following a win, and 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between the two teams. Princeton is 0-7 ATS in its last seven overall, 0-7 ATS in its last seven against the Ivy League, 0-5 ATS in its last five following a loss, and 2-7 ATS in its last nine at home following at least three consecutive road contests. Count on those trends continuing.