East Tennessee State wins in a blowout but Indiana State loses the free throw battle at the end and we take essentially a dead even split picking up 0.1 units thanks to hitting the bigger of the two plays on Wednesday. It’s a light board on Thursday but I’ve found a spot I want to make a play and that takes us to the frigid Northeast where the Princeton Tigers take on the Hofstra Pride in non-conference action at Jadwin Gym in Princeton, New Jersey. I’m from the northeast and have followed these small northeast conferences closely for years and the Ivy League has been excellent for a couple seasons now and is absolutely loaded this year. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn all have a legitimate chance to win this conference thus year, Dartmouth is one of the better mid majors that no one knows about right now and all of these teams play absolutely brutal non-conference schedules so in just about every scenario these teams are better than their overall record. The team we will obviously highlight here is Princeton, last year they were one of the favorites to win the Ivy after upsetting at the time #17 Arizona State but one of their best players was suspended, another was hurt and the Tigers simply fizzled out down the stretch. This year Harvard and Penn are both so loaded that Princeton is an afterthought but this Princeton team has virtually everyone back, they have played a brutal schedule to start the season again which is the reason for their 3-7 record and what I see here is a Princeton team that finally had something go their way and will start to rack up wins against lesser competition. Hofstra isn’t a bad team by any means, they are off to a 7-4 start and have that big signature win over UCLA but it’s a down year for the Bruins and Hofstra isn’t better than most of the teams Princeton struggled with to start the season. Princeton opened the year on the road against a Duquesne team that is currently 9-0 and immediately went all the way out to the west coast to play a San Francisco team I am high on and highlighted earlier this week. Princeton then had to come all the way back home to play a Lafayette team that is currently 6-2 a few days later and a week after that it was back on the road at Indiana. Princeton then returned home but the opponent was Arizona State who is obviously a better team and had big revenge from last year and the Tigers played an outstanding game that they probably should have won and eventually lost by two 65-67. Princeton came out of that 0-5 start and absolutely hammered Bucknell in a true road game which is notable because Hofstra lost on that same floor to Bucknell by 15. Princeton had a couple tough luck losses to Drexel and Monmouth but bounced back by hammering Fairleigh Dickenson and pulled off a huge comeback win over Iona at the Barclays Center on Tuesday that gives Princeton a ton of positive momentum into a big home game here. Again, Hofstra isn’t a bad team but the only time most people have seen Hofstra this season was when they were upsetting UCLA and that result has overrated the Pride significantly here. Hofstra was absolutely buried in their last road game at St Bonaventure by 30, they also have double digit road losses to the aforementioned Bucknell and San Diego so they haven’t exactly been the same team on the road and this is another tough road spot for the Pride here. Hofstra doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well, they get a lot of their points through tough drives and getting offensive boards and to the foul line but Princeton is a solid defensive team and their numbers don’t appropriately reflect that because of the caliber of opponent the Tigers have played this season. The player I mentioned earlier that was hurt most of last year is point guard Jaelin Llewellyn, he’s fully fit this season and currently leads the Tigers with 15.3 points per game and this Princeton team will only continue to improve offensively as he gets more and more comfortable being the focal point of the offense. Llewellyn is legit, he’s the type of talent that generally ends up in the Big East, not at Princeton, and the reason no one knows about him yet is because he was injured virtually all of las season. What that means is Llewellyn is now just getting his bearings at the collegiate level, he went for 28 against Drexel and followed it up with a couple poor shooting performances but he’s more than due and if he has a big game Princeton will win and win easily here. Hofstra is still a bit overvalued from their 27-8 year last year when they had one of the top offenses in the country. Three starters are gone from that team and outside from the two holdovers from that team, Eli Pemberton and Desure Buie, this offense isn’t that good. Justin Wright-Foreman was drafted in this past NBA draft and teams like Hofstra usually can’t bounce back from losing a player like that. Hofstra just isn’t that special, they have and will continue to struggle on the road and I think this is a great spot for a Princeton team on the upswing to win at home and cover the small number in the process. Play on Princeton -3 (-120) TO WIN 4 units **(Please note we are risking 4.8 units here to win 4 units)
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