Columbia Lions AT Harvard Crimson
Jan 28, 2011 at 7 PM EST
Opening Line: Harvard -10.5
Current Line: Harvard -10.5
Opening Total: 139
Current Total: 139.5
Opening Moneyline: Har -580 / Col +490
Current Moneyline: Har -675 / Col +475
Tonight’s game pits two very good Ivy league teams against one another. Harvard enters the game with a 13-3 record, tied for first place in the Ivy League with Columbia, who are 11-5. Both teams are an undefeated 2-0 in Ivy League play.
Columbia is riding a four game win streak with victories over Lafayette, UNNY, and back to back wins against Cornell. Harvard is also riding a four game win streak of their own, with victories over Monmouth, MIT, Boston College, and Dartmouth. Harvard won those four games by an average of 13.75 points, due largely to the fact that they tore MIT apart and won by 26.
Columbia has been on the wrong side of some blowouts and on the right side of a few, so it leaves their point differential at a sparce +1.9. Harvard, conversely, has been the victor of more blowouts and have a +7.9 point differential. Columbia is 65th in the nation in offensive output, while Harvard is 140th, despite only averaging 3.5 points less than Columbia.
Some betting trends:
Columbia is 4-1 SU in their last 5 road games and 8-17 SU in their last 25 road games. They are 3-7 SU in their last 10 road games at Harvard and the total has gone OVER in 5 of Columbia’s last 6 road games at Harvard.
Harvard is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games and 5-0 SU in their last 5 home games. They are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 home games against Columbia and they are 7-3 SU in their last 10 home games against the Lions.
Columbia is led by 6’3″ junior guard Noruwa Agho. Agho puts up a good all around line, scoring 16.3 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and 5.3 boards per game. He’s second on the team in minutes played, playing 33.6 minutes a night. He’s scored in double figures in 13 of Columbia’s 16 games and has scored 20 or more 7 times alreayd this year, with intermittent bad games holding down his scoring average. He seems to either show up big time or flounder in obscurity, something you would expect from a freshman or sophomore, but Agho is a junior and should be developing some consistency by now. Team leader in minutes Brian Barbour, a 6’1″ sophomore point guard, is averaging 12.9 points per game, but only 3.7 assists, a little low for a point guard on a potent offensive team like Columbia. He’s been pretty consistent, scoring in double figures in 13 of 16 just like Agho, but he hasn’t had the same number of big games, with only 3 games with 20 or more.
Harvard relies heavily upon their starters, four of whom play 30+ minutes per game. The five starters collectively average 60.5 points, 85% of Harvard’s total points. That shows the lack of bench they have, but it hasn’t mattered at this point in the season and probably won’t show up until the grueling stretch of March Madness, assuming Harvard makes it to the big dance, and they probably will. Keith Wright is Harvard’s best player. He averages 14.3 points per game and a nice 8.3 rebounds, not to mention his 1.6 blocks per game and 1.1 steals. If not for a few stinker games (3 against Mercer, 5 against Monmouth, and 7 against George Washington) he would be averaging 16.4 a game (that’s taking out the bad games and averaging only the good ones). Harvard will look to feed it inside to Wright a lot because other than Brian Grimes who is much too thin, they have no one to counteract his strength and athleticism in the post.
Tonight’s game will allow one of these teams to step into sole possession of first in the Ivy League. While Harvard is favored, if Agho can have one of his good games, instead of disappearing, the Lions could easily cover this spread.