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College hoops action on Saturday afternoon and we will see the Penn Quakers battle it out with the Harvard Crimson in the Semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament. This contest will take place at Payne Whitney Gym in New Haven, Connecticut. Harvard won both meetings between these teams during the regular season.
Penn Finished Strong
The Pen Quakers had a decent season as hey went 19-11 overall, but they were just 7-7 in league play. Still, it was good enough to land them in the Ivy League Tournament, which takes the top four teams in the league. The Quakers got in with a 58-51 home win over Brown in the season finale. it was their 3rd win in a row and now they have their sights set on the Big Dance if they can win the Ivy League Tournament. The Quakers will also bee seeking revenge as the Crimson beat them twice during the regular season.
KenPom has the Quakers at 121st in the nation and they have faced the 135th ranked schedule. Penn was led by their defense in the win over Brown as they allowed the Bears to hit just 34% of their shots from the field overall while forcing 21 turnovers. Penn allowed just 56 ppg in their final three games. The Quakers shot just 40% overall, including 22.6% (7/31) from long range against Brown, but it was enough thanks to their defense. Leading their attack was AJ Brodeur (17.4 ppg), who had 18 points. Penn averaged 69 ppg and allowed 67.9 ppg in league play this year.
The Quakers check in at 160th in the nation in scoring, putting up 73.1 ppg, while also ranking 121st in FG% (45.4%), 144th in 3-point shooting (35.1%) and 338th in free throw shooting (63.9%). At the defensive end of the floor, they have been solid as they come in ranked 93rd in points allowed, giving up 68.4 ppg, while also ranking 151st in defensive FG% (43.3%) and 132nd in 3-point defense (33.6%).
Harvard Takes Down Columbia In OT
The Harvard Crimson had a decent season overall as they were 17-10 on the year, but inside the Ivy League, they were a solid 10-4. Harvard will now take aim at winning the tournament Title and returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2014/15 season. The Crimson played well down the stretch as they won four of their last five games and they come in ranked 125th by KenPom while taking on the 106th ranked schedule.
Their season finale was a hard fought 83-81 OT win over Columbia on the road. The Crimson shot just 43.1% from the field overall and just 28% (7/25) from long range, but they hit 26 of their 28 free throw attempts. The Crimson allowed the Lions to hit 10 threes in the game, but held them to just 42.9% shooting overall and forced 16 turnovers. Leading their attack was Bryce Aiken (21.4 ppg), who had a huge game with 36 points. Harvard averaged 71.9n ppg and allowed 69.6 ppg in league play this year.
— Harvard Basketball (@HarvardMBB) March 10, 2019
The Crimson check in at 218th in the nation in scoring, putting up 71.2 ppg, while also ranking 90th in FG% (45.9%), 45th in 3-point shooting (37.3%) and 172nd in free throw shooting (70.7%). At the defensive end of the floor, they have decent as they come in ranked 127th in points allowed, giving up 69.4 ppg, while also ranking 141st in defensive FG% (43.1%) and 199th in 3-point defense (34.4%).
- 23-8-1 ATS in their last 32 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I know it is hard to beat a team three times in a season, but I feel that the Crimson can do it. The Quakers have played well down the stretch, but so have the Crimson and they are the league champs. Penn has played well on defense, but the Crimson have averaged 71.0 ppg over their last five games, while Penn has averaged just 64.2 ppg over the same stretch. I will look for the Crimson to complete the three-game sweep and move on to the Ivy League Finals.
Prediction: Harvard PK
Full-Game Total Pick
I will look for this game to go Under the Total. the First meeting put up 143 points, but just 122 of them were in regulation and the 2nd game saw just 111 points being scored. The Quakers have allowed just 55.4 ppg over their last five games and those games have averaged just 119.6 ppg, while Harvard’s last four games in regulation have averaged just 125.3 ppg. The Under is 5-0 in Penn’s last five vs. the Ivy League and 8-3 in Harvard’s last 11 games following a straight up win.
Prediction: Under 134.5