NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/11/21

Today's Games

St. Francis-Brooklyn at Delaware St., 1pm

Central Connecticut at Providence, 2pm, NEC FrontRow

American at Mount St. Mary's, 4pm, NEC FrontRow

Bryant at Stony Brook, 6:31pm, SNY/ESPN3

Things to Watch:

1) SFC at Delaware St.

Since December 1, which consists of a three game sample for the Terriers, SFC has had the 2nd best Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in the NEC at 95.8 points/100 possessions (108th nationally). Sure, it's a small sample, but anecdotally they've increased ball pressure, forcing turnovers on 24.1% of their defensive possessions. Delaware St. has had an ugly season thus far; the Hornets are 0-6 against D1 competition, and they also lost to non-D1 Salisbury College. Their Adj. OE of 85.4 is last in the MEAC and 347th nationally, and they turn it over on 23.6% of their possessions.

2) CCSU at Providence

CCSU big Jayden Brown has had a nice first five games as a college player; the freshman has a 53.6% eFG%, and earned the NEC Rookie of the Week a couple of weeks ago. However, he's young, and has struggled to stay on the floor; Brown is averaging 6 fouls per 40 minutes, and has missed large chunks of the 1st half of multiple games after picking up two fouls. Providence is big up front, and is 4th in the nation in free throw rate. Nate Watson is a 6'10" 260 lb. load, and he combines with Noah Horchler (6'8" 220 lbs.) and A.J. Reeves (6'6" 205 llbs) to form an imposing front line. That's a lot for an under-sized Central Connecticut roster to handle.

3) American at Mount

Jalen Benjamin has a 29.5% assist rate, which is good for 4th in the NEC, and nearly where Damian Chong Qui was last season (33.3%). However, the Mount needs him to score the ball. In Mount St. Mary's' two wins, Benjamin averaged 20 ppg. However, in their 7 losses, he's at just 10.2ppg. He's done a nice job from the perimeter (12 of 37, 32%), but has taken a lot of mid-range jump shots, of which he's making just 44.2%. I'd love to see him look to get to the rim a bit more, especially in search of contact; he's shooting 90% from the free throw line.

4) Bryant at Stony Brook

Can Peter Kiss get on a roll? Bryant's star wing is averaging 19.4 ppg, which isn't too shabby, but he's really struggled to shoot it from the perimeter; he's just 11 for 49 (23%) from three after making 42.2% last season. What's odd is that he's also had a tough time at the free throw line, making just 10 of 19 after shooting 87% a season ago. Shooting slump? As much as Kiss does for the Bryant offense (like his 31% assist rate), if he starts knocking down threes, the Bulldogs' offense will really start to click.

Best Bets

The slump continued Thursday night, as Fordham thumped Long Island. I should have trusted the process and taken the under on Merrimack-Gonzaga.

Season Record: 13-16

Today's Bet: St. Francis-Brooklyn at Delaware St. (under 141.5)

As I wrote in Friday's Ball Screen, as well as above, St. Francis-Brooklyn is suddenly playing well defensively. Like, really well. In fact, in the 7 games since SFC was blown out by St. Thomas, they've hit the 'under' on 6 of them, and the one was a 'push'. Combine that with Delaware St. having one of the worst offenses in the entire country, and the fact that the Terriers haven't scored more than 1.02ppp in a single game this season, and I just can't see this game getting into the 70s, which is what Kenpom and Vegas are projecting.