Free Basketball Picks: Lehigh Holy Cross Highlight Patriot League Card

Jan 29, 2018

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Lehigh has compiled an impressive 160-61 (.724) record since the start of the 2002-03 season, together with an 85-40 (.680) mark in Patriot League play.

Over the past eight seasons under head coach Dr. Brett Reed, the Mountain Hawks are tied for first in the league in the number of championships (2), second in average finish (3rd) and second in quarterfinal home games (7).

With Reed on the sidelines, Lehigh has advanced to the Patriot League tournament semifinals six times and won the league title twice.  Reed owns the highest win percentage among active coaches in the league, and fifth all-time.

Reed is one of my favorite basketball coaches because he thinks outside the box and consistently replaces talented graduates with equally strong players. Best of all, Reed has had his team participate in The Program over the last two years.

The Program is a military-style leadership training exercise that incorporates everything from jumping jacks to rigorous team exercise.  The Program pushed the Mountain Hawks both mentally and physically and promotes many of the skills that are needed on the basketball court.

The Mountain Hawks current 8-13 record is not at all surprising in light of the fact that they lost their top two scorers (and a key reserve) from last year’s 20-win squad.

However, Reed likes the makeup of this year’s team, which is anchored by senior point guard Kahron Ross.  Ross is the program’s third straight four-year starter at the point and is a three-time All-Patriot League honoree.

Ross is currently averaging 11.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.86 assists per game and became Lehigh’s all-time leader in career assists earlier this season against Mount St. Mary’s.  The talented senior is third in the league in assists per game, third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5)  and eighth in field goal percentage (.471).

Ross leads a solid Mountain Hawk attack that has led the Patriot League in scoring in four of the last 8 seasons.  Ross, who is currently No. 5 in the nation among active players in career assists and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio, is joined in the backcourt by Lance Tejada.

Tejada, a transfer from East Carolina who was originally recruited by Lehigh when he was a high school star in South Florida, leads the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game.  The veteran guard leads the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.489) and is sixth in points per game.

Entering tonight’s game, Lehigh is ranked 29th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.393), 41st in three-point field goals made per game (9.5) and 52nd in total three-point field goals made (200).

The most significant variable during the summer involved the health and development of sophomore Pat Andree, who played a pivotal role in Lehigh’s regular-season win over two-time defending league champion Bucknell.

Reed knew that his frontcourt was thin entering the 2017-18 season and the fact that Andree was hampered by ankle and shoulder injuries throughout his freshman campaign only exacerbated Reed’s concerns.

However, Andree has quickly reduced Reed’s level of stress by averaging 11.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and nine blocked shots across 26:40 minutes per game this season.

The 6-8, 225-pound forward is also third in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.427).  I also like the fact that Lehigh is ranked 28th-nationally in free throw percentage (.764).

Lehigh looks to snap a four-game losing streak when it travels to Holy Cross for a nationally-televised showdown against the Crusaders on Monday night. Three of the Mountain Hawks’ last 4 losses have been by four points or fewer.

The Mountain Hawks are just 3-21 SU in their last 24 games at Holy Cross but all three victories have come in the last eight seasons.  While Holy Cross is 41-22 SU overall in this series, the last ten meetings between these Patriot League foes have resulted in a 5-5 split.

Lehigh arrives in Worcester knowing that its current edition is capable of beating the Crusaders.  Indeed, the Mountain Hawks prevailed in the first meeting on January 5 despite falling behind 19-3 early in the first half.

Lehigh responded to the adversity by scoring 42 points over the final 12:55 of the first half and ultimately walked off the court with an 83-77 win.  Holy Cross is one of the least experienced teams in the Patriot League this season as six freshmen fill the roster.

Head coach Bill Carmody welcomed back one starter and doesn’t have a single senior on this year’s squad.  When asked if he had ever had a team this young in his 19-year coaching career, Carmody responded, “Never.”  Not surprisingly, the Crusaders’ are ranked 345th in the nation in scoring offense (63.3), 308th in scoring margin (-6.1), 349th in total rebounds (585) and 351st in total rebounds per game (27.86).

From a technical standpoint, Lehigh applies to a very good 43-14 ATS  (75.4%) system of mine that invests on certain road teams in competitively-priced games (+3 to -3), provided they are averaging 74+ points per game and are matched up against an opponent that is averaging less than 64 points per game.

I also like the idea of getting Lehigh as an underdog as Reed’s squad is a profitable 14-3 as a road underdog, 16-4 ATS away from home and 13-3 ATS on the road following a home affair. Let’s also note that the Mountain Hawks are 8-2 ATS in their last ten road games versus teams with a winning home record and 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss.

With Lehigh standing at 11-1 ATS versus teams that fail to pressure the ball, grab the points with the Mountain Hawks as one of Oskeim Sports’ free basketball picks for Monday, January 29.

Oskeim Sports’ Free Basketball Picks for Monday:

  • Lehigh (+3.5) (-110) over Holy Cross
  • Rider (-5.5) (-110) over Monmouth

Be sure to come back throughout the week for more free basketball picks.  Oskeim’s free basketball picks have won at a 55.3% rate since 2007!