CBB Picks: 2/23

Dartmouth (+11) over PENN

Getting a spread this big in the Ivy League is a rarity. The league has the highest percentage of close games (<4 points or OT) in the country and the lowest percentage of blowouts (>19 points), according to KenPom.

But Penn is currently winning the conference, Dartmouth is last, and the Quakers are at home. Schematically though, Penn’s defense is so good because they’re able to run people off the line and limit open three-point looks. That’s less impactful against a Dartmouth team that’s stopped settling quite as much and has seemed to emphasize getting to the rim. It’s allowed the Big Green to start generating more offense at the free throw line and 21-24 free throw shooting is what nearly allowed them to beat Penn a couple weeks ago.

Maybe the best reason to like this game though is the situational dynamics at play. Dartmouth’s confidence has to be at a high after winning two of their last three. They started 0-7 in Ivy League play, losing none of those by more than 10 points and five of those losses fitting in the “close game” category. Playing their best basketball of the season, they now get a shot at the conference leader. And from Penn’s standpoint, they have a one-game lead on Harvard with four games to go. Guess who they play tomorrow at home? The Fighting Zuckerbergs. They could be looking ahead.

YTD: 117-96 (+11.6u)

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