Yale At Harvard For Ivy League Title, NCAA Berth
The first official NCAA Tournament berth can be clinched on Friday night when Yale visits Harvard in Ivy League action. The Crimson are 4.5-point favorites on Sportsbook.ag.
Ivy League Still Old School
The Ivy League still does not have a conference tournament; instead, the league sends its regular season champ to the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid. Both Yale and Harvard are 10-2, meaning the conference likely will be decided in Cambridge on Friday. Harvard won the first meeting, so a win at home locks up the conference title, as well as the Crimson’s fourth consecutive trip to the Big Dance. Yale would have the inside track on its first bid since 1962 with a win, but if the Bulldogs ended up losing to Dartmouth on Saturday and Harvard beats Brown, the two would have a one-game playoff next week to decide the champion.
Harvard is 20-6, and first in the Ivy League in scoring defense. Yale is 21-8, and first in the Ivy League in scoring offense. Yale leads this series 114-75. But Harvard won their first meeting this season 52-50. Harvard is 60-4 at home since the start of the 2010-11 season. But Yale has won 12 road games this season -- including at Connecticut. Three years ago, Harvard had not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1945. Now the Crimson seek to become the first Ivy League team in more than two decades to get there four consecutive seasons. Yale has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1962. But these seniors have won 73 games, the most for any Bulldog class since 1908.
Best Yale Team In Years
The Bulldogs have reached 20 overall wins for the sixth time in school history and the first time since 2001-02. Yale's other 20 wins seasons are 1904-05 (22), 1906-07 (30), 1907-08 (20) and 1948-49 (22). Regardless of the outcomes this weekend, the Bulldogs should be in good position to earn a postseason berth for the third time in the last four years. Yale is seeking the fifth Ivy League title in school history and first since 2001-02 (shared with Penn and Princeton). The Bulldogs also won Ivy championships in 1963 (co) 1962 and 1957.
Yale is 5-0 on the road in Ivy play and has won six straight league road games dating back to last season. The Bulldogs are one of only 13 teams in Division I with double figure road victories on the season. The Bulldogs have two players leading the league in statistical categories. Matt Townsend has the top field goal percentage at .533, and Jack Montague is the most accurate 3-point shooter at 45.3 percent. In addition Yale features two of the league's top five scorers in Justin Sears (4th, 14.5 ppg.) and Javier Duren (5th, 13.9 ppg.). Sears has been even more dominant in Ivy games when he is averaging 16.8 points.
Harvard is looking to become the first Ancient Eight program to win five straight Ivy League titles since Penn did so between 1978 and 1982. The only other streak of at least five consecutive titles in Ivy League history is Penn’s run of six straight from 1970-75. The Crimson are 60-4 (.938) at home since 2010-11, representing the fifth highest home-court win percentage in the NCAA over that time. Wesley Saunders, the 2014 Ivy League Player of the Year, currently ranks among the Ancient Eight’s top 10 in eight statistical categories. He's second in scoring and assists.
Key betting trends: Bulldogs are 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings in Harvard. Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Road team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
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