Ivy League Tournament: Yale vs Harvard Prediction
Yale vs Harvard Preview
The Ivy League Tournament features the fiercest rivalry, the prohibitive favorites that happen to the be the top two seeds. No.1 Harvard meets No.2 Yale in a showdown that will punch one of the teams tickets to March Madness. Both teams had matching 10-4 records in the conference, but Harvard swept the season series to earn the top seed.
The Bulldogs were the top scoring team in the conference, averaging 77.3 points per game during league play, and ranking 26th in the nation with 80.5 points per game. Yale also shoots it well from deep, hitting 37.3 percent from the 3-point line. However, the Bulldogs use that ability to space the floor to create opportunities to slash and establish in the post, where they do the majority of their damage.
Paul Atkinson, Jordan Bruner and Blake Reynolds have good size and strength on the interior that they will look to exploit against a smaller Harvard lineup. Yale is also the more veteran team, so it will look to use the experience edge to adjust its plan of attack after making serious ground from its 16-point loss on Feb. 1 to the two-point loss on Feb. 23.
Yale’s experience was never more important than the final five minutes of Saturday’s IvyMadness semifinal game vs. Princeton. Led by their upperclassmen, the Bulldogs overcame a seven-point deficit, playing nearly flawlessly down the stretch in outscoring the Tigers 21-8 to earn a hard-fought 83-77 victory.
Thanks to their suffocating defense, the Harvard men’s basketball advanced to the championship round with a 66-58 triumph over Penn.
Junior Bryce Aiken led a balanced scoring output with 19 points to go with four assists, while first-year Noah Kirkwood was also in double figures with 12 points. Sophomore Danilo Djuricic added nine points off the bench, while junior Christian Juzang and first-year Kale Catchings added eight apiece.
The Harvard defense allowed just 24 points in the second half, holding Penn to 34.8 percent shooting.
If the Crimson are going to beat the Bulldogs for a third time this season, they will need that defense to caught havoc–which will be difficult after Yale has already seen it twice, and their experience will help them handle it, yet again.
The two teams will be playing in the post season for the third time in the last five years.
“One game in our building against Harvard to go to March Madness, against Harvard – that’s kind of a dream come true,” Yale junior guard Alex Copeland said. “I don’t think it could be written any other way.”
LINE: -4.5 Yale
Dan’s Bet: Harvard +5
Score Prediction: Yale 70 Harvard 69