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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez lets us know who he's picking for Friday's college hoops action

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Harvard Crimson -7.5 @ -110

Princeton Tigers @ Harvard Crimson, 7:00 PM:

  • Harvard has won four of the last five meetings with Princeton.
  • The Crimson have won eight straight home games. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Harvard

Harvard (16-7) won a second straight game after outlasting Columbia in a thrilling 77-73 double overtime victory.

The Crimson were led by the efforts of Noah Kirkwood and Chris Lewis who both contributed a double-double. Kirkwood totaled a team-high 22 points with 10 rebounds, and Lewis added 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting with 11 rebounds and four steals.

Princeton (11-10) got back on track in a big way, blowing out Brown 73-54 last Saturday. The efficient Tigers shot over 50 per cent from field, led by the efforts of freshman Ethan Wright who scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting with four assists and four rebounds.

Guard Jaelin Llewellyn and center Richmond Aririguzoh both added 15-point double digit outings.

These teams met earlier in February which resulted in a nail-biting matchup decided in the final seconds with a Princeton 70-69 win. These teams sit in first and second place in the Ivy Standings, and I’m expecting yet another close encounter in favor of the home team, taking Harvard to cover.

(1u) VCU Rams -1 @ -110

VCU Rams @ St. Louis Billikens, 9:00 PM:

  • VCU has won each of the last eight games against St. Louis. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing VCU

VCU (17-9) gave #5 Dayton a run for their money, but fell short and lost a third straight match in a 66-61 defeat to the Flyers.

Junior Marcus Santos-Silva put together a monster double-double totaling 12 points and 17 rebounds. Freshman Nah’Shon Hyland led the way with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

St. Louis (18-8) suffered their third loss in the last four games as they fell 67-63 on the road to UMass. The Billikens led by seven at halftime, but struggled to close out the game and were  outscored by 11 in the second half.

Despite the loss, St. Louis shot 50 per cent from the field and 45 per cent from three-point range. Junior Jordan Goodwin posted a double-double with 24 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals.

The Rams have struggled ATS this season at 9-17 which is a cause for concern. However, the success they have had over St. Louis is more than enough to feel confident in VCU covering the spread on the road.

(1u) Kent State -4 @ -110

Buffalo Bulls @ Kent State Golden Flashes, 9:00 PM:

  • Both Buffalo and Kent State have struggled ATS this season. The Bulls are 11-12-2 and the Golden Flashes 11-12-1.
  • Kent State has won 15 of the last 17 home games. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Kent State

Buffalo (17-9) picked up a third straight win after taking care of Ball State at home,72-59.

The Bulls had five players score in double figures, including junior Jayvon Graves and sophomore Josh Mballa each posting double-doubles. Graves had 16 points with 10 rebounds, and Mballa came off the bench and contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Kent State (17-9) lost for the third time in the last four games after getting handled on the road by Eastern Michigan 70-49. The Golden Flashes were ice cold, shooting under 30 per cent from the field and 16 per cent from three-point range.

Junior Danny Pippen was the lone player to score in double figures, totaling a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Golden Flashes were able to edge out the Bulls 70-66 on the road in a back-and-forth game when these teams met in late January.

With both these teams struggling ATS this season, I’m tipping my advantage towards Kent State as the home team, especially with the success they have had at home this season.

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