College basketball schedule today has 19 games
There are a few more games on Friday than we’ve seen the last couple of weeks, but the night once again pales in comparison to what will be coming our way on Saturday. There are 19 games on the betting board, as the usual suspects are in action with the MAAC and Ivy League dominating most of the action. We’ve got a good mix, though, with the A-10, MAC, Mountain West and WAC all represented as well. (Tracking sheet)
It is the NBA All-Star Break, so Jonathan Von Tobel gets a break from writing, but it’s vacation time here at VSiN, so he’s been doing great work filling in on air throughout the week. Andy MacNeil does have NHL best bets today for you to check out.
Here are some thoughts on the February 17 card (odds from DraftKings):
Dayton and Loyola Chicago last met in southwest Ohio on Jan. 31 and the Flyers prevailed 85-81 in overtime. That game, which came on five days rest for Loyola Chicago, seemed to be a catalyst for a better stretch of basketball in the back end of the season. They beat George Mason a few days later before slipping up against Saint Joseph’s in a game where the Hawks were 13-of-32 from 3. They covered easily against Richmond and then won outright in upset fashion over UMass.
I was on the Ramblers in each of the last two games and I think there’s some value in backing them tonight. Dayton has been inconsistent this season, including recent road losses to George Washington, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure. The way that the Ramblers create good shots on 2s gives them a chance against a Dayton defense that has been extremely solid throughout the course of the season. In that first meeting, Loyola was 10-of-16 on shots at the rim, but they also wound up 13-of-25 from 3. It was an outlier against the Dayton defense, but Dayton has had issues with well-coached teams this season.
As usual, the main worry with Loyola is turnovers, as they have one of the highest TO% in the nation, but Dayton doesn’t force many of them. They are not an aggressive defense. The other thing I like for the Ramblers here is that this game should be played to 64 or 65 possessions, with Dayton in the bottom 30 in tempo and Loyola Chicago well below the national average. The first game went to overtime and was only played to 70 possessions.
The Ramblers have improved throughout the season and I think a seven-point head start is enough for them to keep this one close on their home floor tonight. DraftKings is 7.5, but most of the market is 7, so I’ll grade it as that.
Pick: Loyola Chicago +7
This is a huge weekend for Yale, as the Bulldogs first take on the Quakers and then face a very solid Princeton team in a set of games that will define the pecking order in the Ivy. Remember that only the top four teams make it into the conference tournament here. Yale is the current top seed by virtue of a head-to-head win over Princeton, as both teams are 7-3. The Bulldogs can’t look past this game against Penn, though, and I don’t think they will.
Yale won the first meeting 70-63 back on Jan. 21. In that game, the Bulldogs had 26 attempts at the rim compared to 11 for Penn, but only made 12 of those shots. Yale had some finishing issues at the tin and even shot just 2-of-10 on mid-range jumpers, but forced eight more turnovers and had four more offensive rebounds to create a little margin for error.
I would expect Yale to get to the rim again tonight, as their 42.2% shot share on Close Twos ranks 27th in the nation. Meanwhile, Penn’s shot share on Close Twos ranks 315th. Both teams have almost identical defensive performances at the rim, with shot shares of 33.6%, but Penn is at 54.4% on FG% and Yale is 54.2%. Still, I’ll take my chances with the team getting the high-percentage looks.
Yale has held opponents to a 32.5% 3P%, a key note here because Penn is a team that shoots a lot of 3s and does well with them. Penn also forces opponents into a lot of 3s. Yale is above the national average at 34.7%, but not that far above it.
In this game, I think Yale gets some extra possessions, as they take excellent care of the basketball and Penn ranks 349th in TO% on defense. Yale is also a top 10 team in offensive rebounding percentage against. I think everything Yale did well with in the first game happens in the second game, but they finish more efficiently at the rim.
DraftKings has the high number at 3.5, but 3 is widely available, so find one of those if you can.
Pick: Yale -3 (widely available)
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