NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/4/21

If you're on the Bryant coaching staff, you've probably already burned any tapes from last night, right?

The Bulldogs went down south to take on a really good Houston team and, well, it didn't go so hot. Houston won 111-44, and there's not much more to say? Against the top rated defense, according to Kenpom, Bryant had trouble running any sort of offense, and too often they were forcing deep three-pointers late in the shot clock. On the night, they made just 6 of 33 from three and 11 of 29 from two (32.3% eFG%), while Houston scored nearly 1.50ppp.

Chris Childs led the team in scoring with 13 points thanks to 4 of 10 from downtown. Hall Elisias added 9 and 6, but fouled out after logging just 19 minutes. Peter Kiss and Charles Pride combined to go 5 of 26 from the field (11 points), with Kiss turning it over 6 times.

Notable: Erickson Bans got his first start in a game in which Bryant was at full strength. Of course everyone remembers when he logged 39 minutes in the NEC QF win over Sacred Heart last year when multiple members of the Bryant team were out due to covid-protocol, and he did start the season's first two games with Peter Kiss out (Chris Childs also missed the opening night win over Fisher College). The all-time leading scorer in Rhode Island High School history finished with just 3 points on 1 of 5 shooting in 17 minutes.

Am I worried about Bryant? I'll write about them in next week's Mid-Range Jumper, but essentially; I'm concerned about them offensively. More to come there.


Mount St. Mary's at Loyola (MD), 1pm, ESPN+

St. Francis (PA) at Ohio, 3:30pm, ESPN3

Central Connecticut at New Hampshire, 4pm, AmericaEastTV

Wagner at Stony Brook, 6:31pm, ESPN3

UMass-Lowell at Merrimack, 7pm, NEC FrontRow

Things to Watch:

1) Can the Mount take care of the basketball? Loyola is turning over their opponents on 22.1% of their possessions, which is 63rd nationally. In fact; in 5 of their 7 D1 games, the Greyhounds forced turnovers at more than a 22% clip. Mount St. Mary's has struggled to take care of the basketball; over their last 5 games, their turnover rates were: 24.1%, 22.6%, 31.3%, 24.3%, 27%. Jalen Benjamin and Deandre Thomas, the two primary ball-handlers for Dan Engelstad, have turnover rates higher than 27%.

2) Ohio is scoring 42.2% of their points from three-pointers, which is the 21st highest rate in D1. 6'8" big Ben Vander Plas leads the team from the perimeter (17 of 39 from deep), while 5 other Bobcats are making at least one three-pointer per game. The Red Flash have done a nice job limiting good looks from the perimeter; opponents are making just 29.4% of their 3P attempts.

3) New Hampshire's frontcourt is good. It starts with senior Jayden Martinez; the 6'7" 215 lb. senior is averaging 20 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, and has been incredibly efficient; he's got a 56.5/45/78 shooting line (63% eFG%), including being nearly unstoppable at the rim (70.6%). But it's not just Martinez; 6'5" 250 lb. Nick Guadarrama is chipping in nearly 12 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists per game. Central has experience in the backcourt, but is young up front; freshmen Jayden Brown and Andre Snoddy have been really good, but this may be a tall task for them.

4) Is Wagner back to full strength? The Seahawks played without Alex Morales, Will Martinez, and DeLonnie Hunt on Wednesday night at Seton Hall. The frontcourt of Jahbril Price-Noel and Raekwon Rogers played well on Wednesday, but as a team Wagner made just 5 of 20 from three and turned it over 17 times.

5) Everyone knows about the Merrimack defense, but over the last two games it's been the Warriors' offense that has gotten the job done; in the 75-60 win over IHart, MC scored 1.22ppp. Then on Sunday, in their 1-point loss at BU, they scored nearly 1.07ppp. Merrimack big man Jordan Minor has been really good; while his eFG% is down a bit from last season (47%), he's shown a massive improvement at the free throw line; he's shooting 81% (25 of 31), after making fewer than 58% of his attempts last season.

Best Bets

Season Record: 12-11

Today's Bets: 1) Merrimack at UMass-Lowell (under 124.5); 2) St. Francis (PA) at Ohio (-12.5)

You knew it was coming, right? Games featuring Merrimack have hit the under in all but one so far this season, and I will continue to ride this until Vegas shows they can properly account for Joe Gallo's defense. Lowell's a good offensive team, and they do like to push the pace, but they've also played a bunch of uptempo programs. In their win over CCSU a few weeks ago, there were just 67 possessions.

In the other one; man, I really like the way SFU have played. With that said; I worry about the versatility of the Ohio frontcourt. Plus; the Red Flash have held teams to 29.4% from three, but is that sustainable? Ohio's made nearly 36% of their 3P attempts. The -12.5 line is more-or-less in line with Kenpom (Ohio -12), but KP has been super bullish on St. Francis all season. Torvik sees this as Ohio -18, which is a pretty large spread. This won't be a blowout, but I'll take Ohio plus the points.