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The Big Game (Basketball Version)

California is likely headed back to the NCAA Tournament as the Golden Bears own an 18-7 record overall and 9-4 mark inside the Pac-12 conference. The Golden Bears make the short trip to Palo Alto to face Stanford, who has lost five of its last six contests. These rivals are going in different directions from an ATS standpoint of late as Cal has covered four of its last five, while Stanford has compiled a 2-4 ATS record in its past six contests.

Stanford had owned Cal from 2014 through 2016 by capturing four straight meetings, but the Golden Bears have rebounded with home victories in the last two matchups. Cal cruised past Stanford, 66-55 as eight-point favorites last month, but the Cardinal has won each of the last two matchups in Palo Alto. The Cardinal is 3-5 ATS as an underdog in Pac-12 play, but upset Utah as a home ‘dog earlier this month, 81-75.

Crawling Back

Richmond is in the mix for the Atlantic 10 title, but the Spiders were dealt a huge blow in Tuesday’s 93-70 loss at George Mason. The Spiders have lost consecutive games only twice this season as Richmond hosts VCU in a critical conference battle. Richmond owns a perfect 5-0 record in home conference play, while putting together a 3-0-1 ATS mark in those contests.

VCU held off Richmond in its last matchup, 81-74 on February 1, but the Spiders took home the money as 10-point underdogs. The Rams are riding a seven-game winning streak, but VCU has cashed only three times during this hot stretch. This series has belonged to VCU, who has won each of the past four meetings, including a 94-89 overtime decision at the Robins Center last season.

Midterm Exams

The Ivy League is transitioning into the second half of conference play as all eight teams are in action on Friday. Princeton (8-0) and Yale (6-2) are the top two teams in the Ivy as these squads meet up in New Haven in a pick-em spot. The Tigers knocked off the Bulldogs in their previous matchup in New Jersey last month, 66-58, but Princeton has since compiled a 1-4 ATS record. Yale looks to bounce back after falling to rival Harvard last weekend, as the Bulldogs have won 11 of their past 12 home conference games.

Speaking of Harvard, the Crimson return home following a pair of huge road victories at Brown and Yale last weekend. Harvard has covered four consecutive contests as it hosts Columbia, looking to avenge a 65-62 defeat in New York City last month as 2 ½-point road favorites. The Lions remain on the highway following road losses at Penn and Princeton last weekend, as Columbia has covered in two of three away games in Ivy action.

Dartmouth and Cornell are two of the bottom-feeders this season in the Ivy, as each squad owns a 2-6 conference record. In this battle of colors, the Big Green has won two of their past three games and covered four consecutive contests. The Big Red has lost four straight games since handling Dartmouth at home on January 28 in a 13-point win, as the two teams have split the last eight meetings.

Both Penn and Brown have each compiled 2-6 conference marks, but the Quakers have turned it around by beating Columbia and Cornell last weekend. The Bears have lost three straight games, but Brown knocked off Penn as 9 ½-point underdogs last month, 82-70. Brown has covered seven consecutive meetings with Penn, including each of the past three home matchups.

Over the Horizon

Valparaiso and Oakland are the top two squads in the Horizon League as both teams are playing well at the moment. The Crusaders have won 10 of their last 11 games (7-4 ATS), while the Golden Grizzlies are riding a four-game winning streak (2-2 ATS). Oakland has cashed in seven of the previous eight matchups with Valpo, including a 78-66 road victory in January as three-point underdogs. The two teams meet in Oakland as the Grizzlies are 0-4 ATS in their last four attempts as a home favorite.

Illinois-Chicago began Horizon play at 4-2, but the Flames have dropped five of the past seven games. UIC travels to Detroit to face a Titans’ squad that has alternated wins and losses in each of the previous five contests, coming off an 89-80 home defeat last Friday to Oakland. The Flames cruised past the Titans in the last matchup in January, 78-64 as seven-point favorites, while UIC has cashed in four of five Horizon road contests.

Metro Madness

Rider knocked off Canisius in its last meeting, 72-66 in late January as six-point road underdogs. The two MAAC rivals meet in Lawrenceville as Rider has compiled a 4-6-1 ATS record in the last 11 conference games following a 4-1 ATS start. The Golden Griffins are 3-1 SU/ATS in the past four games, while winning back-to-back road contests at Siena and St. Peter’s, but are 0-2 ATS as an away conference favorite.

Marist looks to snap an eight-game losing streak as the Red Foxes host Iona. The Gaels have dropped two of three since a six-game winning streak, including close losses to Siena and Canisius. Iona has captured seven consecutive matchups with Marist, including a 93-80 home victory as 13-point favorites on New Year’s Eve.

Fairfield and Quinnipiac are in the middle of the pack of the MAAC, as these teams are hooking up for the second time in less than two weeks. The Bobcats edged the Stags, 73-71 as four-point road underdogs in their last meeting, as the road team has won six consecutive matchups. Quinnipiac has won five of its past seven MAAC home contests, including underdog victories over Iona and Canisius.

Trends are documented using the VI Matchups Database

· Marshall: College Hoops Superlatives
· Minnesota loses 7-footer Stockman
· Detroit hires Mike Davis as head coach
· Mitchell joins Penny's staff at Memphis
· Former WMU player cleared of murder
· Paulus hired as assistant coach at GW
· Penny already having impact on Memphis
· Bama establishes Newton scholarship
· Illinois to spend $30 million on facility
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