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NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/13/21

Just one game Sunday afternoon, and there's not much to write about. Merrimack went into Assembly Hall, and after battling for most of the first half, was predictably run off the court in the 2nd half 81-49.

It's hard to come up with takeaways when an NEC team plays a top 30 B1G program. Malik Edmead continues to shoot the ball well (3 for 4 from three, 47.6% on the season), and Jordan Minor showed that he can bang with the big boys (13 points on 4 of 9 shooting and 4 of 6 from the FT line, plus 4 boards and 2 blocks).

Merrimack stayed in this for awhile thanks to knocking down 11 of 29 from 3P range, but they really had a hard time getting anything done inside the arc (5 of 25), and allowed Indiana to grab 18 offensive boards (60%). It's notable that Devin Jensen didn't play in this one after logging 18 minutes at Gonzaga.

Ultimately, Merrimack had no answer for Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. Jackson-Davis went for 16p, 9r, and 3 blocks, while Thompson was a perfect 6 for 6 from the field (14 points), and also had 7 boards. IU scored 1.25ppp, attempted 32 free throws to Merrimack's 10.

Today's Game

Sacred Heart at Columbia, 8pm, ESPN+

Thing to Watch:

Columbia has a lot of size up front, between former Bryant forward Patrick Harding (6'9", 237 lbs.), Liam Murphy (6'7" 220 lbs), and Josh Odunowo (6'6", 195 lbs. and a 6.4% block rate), and because of that they've been able to hold opposing teams to 48% on two-pointers. Columbia returned 6'7" forward Ike Nweke in their loss to Albany, after he missed 9 games due to an injury, and immediately made an impact scoring 18 points in 33 minutes. However, the Lions, which are 2-8 against D1 competition with their lone wins at home against Binghamton in overtime (#322 at Kenpom) and Maine (#352), can be got from the perimeter. On the season, they're allowing teams to shoot 40% from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart has the shooters to make Columbia pay, especially if Aaron Clarke is good to go after missing last week's game at URI with that tweaked ankle.

Best Bets

Season Record: 14-17

Today's Bet: Sacred Heart (-3.5) at Columbia (note: ONLY if Aaron Clarke is in the starting lineup. Otherwise I'm out)

I don't like taking road favorites, but Columbia has not been good; they're 2-3 against teams ranked #300 or below at Kenpom, including a 73-50 home loss to Lafayette (the Pios won at Lafayette 74-67, though they did lose to Binghamton). I expect SHU to torch the Lions, which have the 350th rated Adjusted DE at Kenpom.

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