#21 Harvard Crimson at Pennsylvania Quakers
The Palestra – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Friday, February 10, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: None
Opening Line: Harvard -5
Current Line: Harvard -5
Opening Total: 121 1/2
Current Total: 121 1/2
Opening Money Line: Harvard -210 / Penn +175
Current Money Line: Harvard -210 / Penn +175
It has been a banner year for Harvard Athletics. The Crimson won the Ivy League Football title, and the basketball team is even better. The 20-2 Crimson are 6-0 in the Ivy League and nationally ranked. Harvard hasn’t qualified for the NCAA tournament since 1946, the first and only time they did so. That is almost certain to change as Harvard is in control of the Ivy League and could even be in line for an at large bid if they somehow lose the conference title. The Crimson are trying to win their first ever outright conference title. The Crimson have won 8 in a row including a 57-52 home win over Columbia Saturday.
The Crimson travel to the 12-10 Penn Quakers who are 4-1 in conference Friday night. The Quakers won at Brown Saturday 65-48. Penn leads the series against Harvard 127-33 but the Crimson have won 5 in a row against the Quakers and 6 of the last 7.
Harvard is coached by Tommy Amaker. The Crimson have losses at UConn and Fordham. Harvard has wins over Loyola Marymount, Utah, Florida St, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Boston College, St. Joseph’s, Dartmouth twice, George Washington, Yale, Brown, and Cornell.
Penn is coached by Jerome Allen. The Quakers have losses to Temple, Wagner, Pitt, James Madison, Villanova, UCLA, Davidson, Duke, LaSalle, and Yale. Penn has wins over Rider, Robert Morris, Manhattan, Delaware, Marist, Columbia, Cornell, St. Joseph’s, and Princeton.
Harvard is outscoring opponents 66-54 this season. The Crimson are 3rd nationally in points allowed. Harvard shoots 46.2% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. The Crimson make 74.8% of their free throws. Harvard averages 32.8 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +4.1. The Crimson average 12.8 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 6.6 steals, and 4.7 blocks a game. Harvard opponents are shooting 40% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range.
Harvard guard Laurent Rivard averages 11.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1 assist a game. Rivard leads the Crimson in scoring and is shooting 40.9% from 3 point range. Kyle Casey averages 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks a game. He doesn’t attempt many 3 pointers but he is shooting 34.4% from beyond the arc. Keith Wright averages 10.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks. Brandyn Curry averages 7.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals a game. He leads the Crimson in steals and assists. Oliver McNally averages 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists a game.
Penn is outscoring opponents 67.8-67.5 this season. Penn is shooting 44.6% from the field and 37.3% from 3 point range. The Quakers make 73.3% of their free throws. Penn averages 31.5 rebounds and has a rebounding margin of -1.9. The Quakers average 14.1 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 2.4 blocks a game. Penn opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. Penn forces 14 turnovers a game.
Penn guard Zach Rosen averages 18.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.4 steals a game. He leads the Quakers in scoring and assists, and is shooting 41.2% from 3 point range. Tyler Bernardini averages 14.9 points, 5.4 rebounds to lead the team, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. He makes 43.2% of his 3 pointers. Miles Cartwright averages 10.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists a game. Rob Belcore averages 7.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals a game to lead the team. No Quaker player averages more than 0.7 blocks a game.
Penn is 12-6 ATS and the total is 11-7 this season. Harvard is 9-8 ATS and the total is 5-12 this season. Penn is 12-5 ATS against Harvard in the last 17 meetings. Four of the last five games played at Penn have gone under in the series. The Crimson are 6-2 ATS as a road favorite, 7-3 in road games, 11-5 as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, 19-39-1 after failing to cover, 18-37 in road games against teams with winning home records, and 2-5 in Ivy League games. The Quakers are 5-1 ATS overall, 4-1 in home games, and after allowing 50 points or less, 8-2 after a cover, 4-1 in Ivy league games, 7-2 after a straight up win, 25-11 as an underdog, and 3-8 as a home underdog of 6.5 points or less.
For many years Penn and Princeton have been the top dogs in the Ivy League. Harvard faces both of those teams on the road this weekend. Neither is as talented as they have been in the past. Still Harvard hasn’t swept Penn and Princeton on the same road trip since 1985. Harvard could be due for a conference loss, but I don’t think it will happen. Penn lost last week at Yale by 7, and a couple of weeks earlier Harvard destroyed Yale in New Haven 65-35. I like Harvard tonight to win on the road.