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NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/31/21

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone.

Day #2 of the NEC Schedule.

Today's Games (All games on NEC FrontRow):

Sacred Heart at Bryant, 1pm

Long Island at Merrimack, 2pm

Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Francis (PA), 4pm

Central Connecticut at St. Francis-Brooklyn, 4pm

Canceled: Wagner at Mount St. Mary's; MSMU forfeits


Three-pointers are going to be raining down at the Chace on NYE; 47.1% of Bryant's field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, which is 24th nationally. However, the Pios aren't far behind; 42.9%, 82nd. Sacred Heart has largely been an average shooting team, making 33.1% of their attempts from beyond the arc, including 9 of 27 against LIU on Wednesday. Bryant, however, has really had issues making shots; Adham Eleeda has been really good (37%) and Chris Childs has been fine (33%), but everyone else? Peter Kiss is shooting 22% from three, Charles Pride 27.4%, and everyone else is 19%. Bryant beat an under-manned CCSU squad on Wednesday despite making just 7 of 25, but doing that against Sacred Heart is a different task completely.


Jordan Minor has been the star for Merrimack so far this season; he's averaging 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, his 32.9% usage rate is 2nd highest in the NEC, and he's coming off a monster 23 point, 6 board outing against St. Francis-Brooklyn. However, Long Island has significant size, and Minor will have to try and score around 6'8" 240 lb. Isaac Kante and 6'9" Ty Flowers. The Sharks have limited opponents to below 52% on two-pointers, and their 12.4% block rate is 64th nationally. Also; watch the LIU turnovers (21.3% on the season), especially if Alex Rivera and/or Kyndall Davis remain out.


Does Fairleigh Dickinson have the horses to keep up with the Red Flash? Despite scoring just 0.94ppp against Wagner on Wednesday, SFU still has the league's best Adjusted OE (excluding pre-season bias), while FDU checks in at #9. For the Knights, it's all about Brandon Rush; when he has a big offensive game, like when he had 27 points at Princeton, FDU can perform well offensively. If I'm Greg Herenda, I want to see Devon Dunn get going tonight in Loretto; the 6'1" junior came back after missing two straight games to score 16 on 4 of 10 from three at Virginia. If he can make shots, it opens things up for Rush.


Who knows what the lineups will look like in this one? As has been well-chronicled, CCSU was without 4 key players on Wednesday, including star PG Nigel Scantlebury and likely NEC ROY Jayden Brown, while SFC was missing its two top scorers in Michael Cubbage and Patrick Emliien. By my math, and per the CDC guidelines, if players tested positive on 12/26 upon returning home from Christmas, are fully vaccinated, and asymptomatic, they'd be eligible to return on Friday assuming they wear masks. However, while some leagues (like the ACC) have updated their guidelines, others (like the Big East) have not. We've seen nothing public from the NEC, so I'm going to assume all those players are out. One thing is for sure; both teams have gone deep into their rosters at different points this season. Central Connecticut has 11 players playing at least 17.5% of available minutes, and a 12th (Abdul Momoh) who missed a large chunk of the season due to an injury and played 20 minutes in his first collegiate game on Wednesday. The Terriers also have 11 players playing some level of consistent minutes. Both teams played well on Wednesday despite being short-handed. If Nigel Scantlebury remains out, keep an eye on the Blue Devils' Davonte Sweatman, a 5'8" freshman who scored 16 points in 32 minutes against Bryant.

NEC Best Bets

After an 0-3 night on Wednesday, I'm rethinking how I'm doing my Best Bets. With lineups so up in the air due to Omicron, what I'm going to do is this; I'll post which way I'm leaning on here, and will post on Twitter if/when I've locked in on a game.

Season Record: 17-23

My "leans" are recorded below. I'll post any official bets to Twitter.

1) Long Island at Merrimack, under 129.5

I know the MC-SFC game got out of hand on Wednesday, but do I expect the Warriors offense to get hot 2 games in a row? Not with LIU's towers inside. Merrimack isn't the only team who has been hitting unders (9 out of 13); the Sharks are going under 60% of the time.

2) Long Island (+3.5) at Merrimack

LIU has the bigs to give MC trouble on both sides of the ball, and the Warriors didn't exactly look good at home against a short-handed St. Francis-Brooklyn squad on Wednesday. With that said, LIU is so inconsistent that I have a difficult time betting them (5-5 against the spread).

3) Central Connecticut (+6) at St. Francis-Brooklyn

This one is tough without knowing what the lineups are, but did you know that CCSU is 8-5 against the spread? If this number goes up at all, or I see that some of CCSU's missing players are back, I'll be jumping all over it.

4) Sacred Heart (+7) at Bryant

I'm just not buying Bryant right now; they're 3-8 ATS and really struggled on Wednesday against a short-handed CCSU team. Sacred Heart has the kind of offense to keep up with the Bulldogs.

5) Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Francis (PA) (-10.5)

That's a big number, and one I'm inclined to pass on. However, despite losing to Wagner on Wednesday, I really like this Red Flash squad, and I don't think FDU has any chance to defend SFU. I'll wait to see what the lineups look like, but if this number comes down at all, I'm all in.

6) Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Francis (PA), over 148.5

See #5. FDU has done well offensively at times this season, and neither team has defended well. Plus, SFU has hit the over in 8 out of 10 games.

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