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NEC Daily Ball Screen: 1/17/22

Today's Games:

Mount St. Mary's at Merrimack, 3pm

Long Island at St. Francis-Brooklyn, 3pm

Fairleigh Dickinson at Wagner, 7pm

St. Francis (PA) at Bryant, 7pm

Central Connecticut at Sacred Heart, 7pm


If you follow the Northeast Conference at all, you know about Joe Gallo's vaunted match-up zone. It's good, they force turnovers, etc. However, this year they've had some issues with good bigs. Back on 12/31, while the Warriors did win the game, they allowed 1.24ppp to Long Island, with Ty Flowers, Eral Penn, and Isaac Kante combining to make 17 of 30 at the rim. Then, on Saturday, SFU's Josh Cohen had 12 point and 7 boards, while 6'7" 4-man Marlon Hargis was 4 of 6 on 2-pointers, scoring 15 points. Well; the Mount is big, often playing 6'8" 230 lb. Mezie Offurum with 6'9" 215 lb. Nana Opoku and 6'9" 230 lb. Malik Jefferson. With all that size you'd think the Mount get a lot of offense at the rim, but they don't; just 34.4% of their field goal attempts come at the rim, which is the 2nd lowest in the NEC. If Mount St. Mary's can take care of the basketball (they have the league's worst turnover rate in league games at 25.2%) and get the ball to the rim in the halfcourt, they have a shot.


Long Island is on a three-game winning streak, all of which came at home. In fact, LIU has been a different team altogether at the Steinberg Wellness Center. However, this one is across town at the Pope Center. St. Francis-Brooklyn is in the danger zone; thanks to playing short-handed in their first two NEC games, they're now 1-4 in the league. However, they've played reasonably well; over their last 3 games, they've scored 1.05ppp and have forced turnovers on nearly 20% of their defensive possessions. One thing to watch; LIU scores 35.7% of their points from beyond the arc, which is 76th highest nationally. However, the Terriers like to take away the 3-pointer; just 29% of opponents field goal attempts come from deep, which is 9th lowest in the country.


Few players in the NEC have been more efficient than Raekwon Rogers; on the season he's got a 63.8% eFG%, and is one of the league's best offensive rebounders (12.9% OR%). Does FDU have anyone up front who can contain the 6'8" behemoth? As a team, FDU is allowing teams to shoot 55% on two-pointers, and their bigs are inexperienced; 6'9" 195 lb. freshman Anquan Hill has neither the strength or experience to give Rogers much problem on the post, Greg Herenda hasn't shown much trust in 6'8" 230 lb. sophomore PO Racine, and 6'6" 220 lb. Daniel Rodriguez hasn't played in either of the last two games. If Wagner is able to get looks inside early, it would likely open things up for Alex Morales, Will Martinez, Elijah Ford, and all those other wings.


In November and December, the Red Flash looked like the league's worst defensive team; their adjusted DE of 112.8 was last in the NEC and 343rd nationally thanks to allowing a 57.1% eFG%. So naturally they currently lead the NEC in pure Defensive Efficiency in terms of points per possession (0.94 ppp), and are 2nd in Adjusted DE (98.6). The big reason why is that they've held NEC opponents to just 26.5% from beyond the arc. Now part of that is two games; Wagner was just 2 for 12 back on 12/29, and Merrimack shot a woeful 3 of 23 from deep against SFU on Saturday. Bryant's offense has been clicking in league play, as they are 3-1 in actual games played, and scoring 1.07ppp. Obviously Peter Kiss and Charles Pride are difficult to stop, but can they limit good looks for Adham Eleeda? It's also worth remembering that SFU beat Merrimack without Ronell Giles and Myles Thompson. Bryant will push that tempo; does the Red Flash have the depth to keep up?


Sacred Heart has beaten Central Connecticut 12 straight times dating back to February 21, 2015, which was the final home game for Howie Dickenman. That's a long time! Patrick Sellers and Anthony Latina are long-time friends, and both were on the same CCSU staff under Dickenman ~20 years ago. Can Sellers break the streak? What's really hurt the Blue Devils so far this season on the defensive end has been good, experienced bigs given CCSU's youth up front. However, significant size is not something SHU has; sophomore Nico Galette has been a revelation as a grab-and-go 4, but Cantavio Dutreil is SHU's lone true '5'. If Central can get the real Nigel Scantlebury back...he scored just 2 points in 15 minutes at LIU on Saturday...and can keep Aaron Clarke out of the lane, I like the Blue Devils' chances.

NEC Worst Bets

Season Record: 21-30

My "leans" are recorded below. I'll post any official bets to Twitter. Feel free to fade whatever it is I do. I won't be offended.

1) Mount St. Mary's at Merrimack, u119.5

That's a tiny number, but both teams will have trouble scoring.

2) Long Island at St. Francis-Brooklyn (+2.5)

SFC has played better, especially defensively, and LIU has looked like a different team away from home. The Terriers win this one straight up.

3) St. Francis (PA) at Bryant (-7.5)

Kenpom has Bryant -6, but it doesn't know that neither Giles or Thompson played on Saturday. Remember; SFU scored just 0.90PPP at Merrimack, so it's not like they torched the nets.

4) Central Connecticut (+9) at Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart wins the game, but I think CCSU matches up well with the Pios.

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