NCAA Basketball Must-Bet Games Friday Akron-Ohio, Harvard-Princeton

NCAA Basketball Must-Bet Games Friday: Akron-Ohio, Harvard-Princeton

Written by on February 24, 2022

There is just one Power 5 Conference game around college basketball on Friday but there are two mid-major games that involve potential conference titles. Here’s a look and check back for NCAAB odds. The two home teams will be favored.

Friday’s College Basketball Betting Tips

Akron at Ohio

It’s a 6 p.m. ET tip from Athens with no national TV. Ohio (23-5) is tied for first in the Mid-American Conference at 14-3 with Toledo, while Akron sits fifth at 11-6 so the Zips can only play spoilers while still having a chance to improve their seeding in the conference tournament.

Ohio looks for the season sweep as the Bobcats won at Akron 69-63 on Jan. 4. Trailing by one with three minutes to go, redshirt senior forward Ben Vander Plas drained a three and the Ohio defense stepped up over the final two minutes of play. Overall, Ohio shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and were 9-of-10 from the line, while Akron shot 39.3 percent from the field, 37 percent from three and were 9-of-17 from the line. Mark Sears had 24 points and Jason Carter had 19 to lead the Bobcats. Ali Ali scored 22 points to lead the Zips. Akron still leads the all-time series 45-42. The Bobcats are 12-17 against the Zips since the 2009-10 season.

This is the home finale for Ohio. The Bobcats’ 23-5 overall record is the best in school history through 28 games. Sears has been named the MAC Player of the Week five times this season, with the most recent coming on Jan. 31. Sears ranks second in the MAC in scoring, second in free throw percentage, fourth in steals and second in minutes. The Bobcats are currently first in the MAC in turnover margin at +4.23.

Akron’s best player is forward Enrique Freeman, who averages 13.1 points and 11.2 rebounds. Freeman has 14 double-doubles, which is 14th nationally. He is No. 6 in the nation and leads the MAC in rebounding. Akron has the No. 4 offensive ranking (107.8) and No. 5 defensive rating (101.2) in the MAC.

Harvard at Princeton

On ESPNEWS at 7 p.m. ET from New Jersey. Princeton (19-5) is a half-game behind Yale for first place in the Ivy League but the Tigers have a game in hand – Princeton and Yale split their regular-season series. Harvard (13-10) is 5-6 in league play and needs to finish in the top four to play in Ivy Madness. A win here would be huge as the Crimson are currently fourth but just a half-game ahead of No. 5 Cornell.

This is the first meeting of the season between the rivals as their first meeting at Harvard on Jan. 2 was postponed due to COVID. They will turn around and play again Sunday at Harvard.

Should Princeton maintain its 80.6 point per game scoring average, it would be the highest scoring average in program history. The current program for scoring average is 79.74 points per game, set in the 1971-72 season.

Junior Tosan Evbuomwan leads the Ivy League in assists per game (4.9), and assist/turnover ratio (2.0). He ranks second in field goal percentage (53.1%), third in steals per game (1.5), fourth in points per game (15.4), and sixth in rebounds per game (6.3). Senior Ethan Wright ranks third in the conference in rebounds per game (7.3), field goal percentage (50.9%), and three-point percentage (48.2%). He also sits fourth in three-point field goals per game (2.4), and fifth in points per game (15.3).

Harvard is led in points (18.0), assists (3.0), and steals (2.1) per game by Noah Kirkwood, along with blocks (11). Kirkwood, who joined Harvard’s 1,000-point club on Feb. 9 against Yale, has 1,074 points in his career. The senior is tied with Bill Dennis for 28th in school history. If Kirkwood hits his scoring average of 18.0 points against Princeton, he will pass former teammate Bryce Aiken ’20 (1,090 points; No. 25). Coincidentally, Aiken was the last Harvard player to score at least 30 points in a game when he went for 30 vs. Maryland on Nov. 29, 2019.

If this goes to overtime, favor Harvard. Amazingly, the Crimson have won 23 of their past 25 OT games since the start of the 2009-10 campaign.

This weekend will be the first time the schools will meet consecutively since 2010-11 when the Crimson won on March 5, 2011, in the regular-season finale before the Tigers won the Ivy Playoff on March 12, 2011. The last time the teams met back-to-back in the regular season was Feb. 17 and 23, 1962.

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