BANKER (Belmont vs. Drake)
Drake returns nearly all of their scoring production from last year as Roman Penn, DJ Wilkins, Tremell Murphy, Darnell Brodie, and athletic freak ShanQuan Hemphill all are back this year which is a huge boost for Drake. Drake has gotten off to a 3-0 start and are coming off a very solid win against an experienced Richmond team. Drake has been getting it done on the offensive side of the ball as they are 48th in the country in overall offensive adjusted efficiency, 18th in effective FG%, 21st in offensive rebounding %, and 14th in 3-point percentage.
Drake is also very good on the defensive side of the ball in defending the paint as they are 28th in the country in defensive 2P percentage. They face Belmont is what should be a high scoring game as Belmont always has a very efficient offense. Belmont is off to a 3-2 start but have lost both their games to opponents on their same level while taking care of the bottom feeders. They lost by 30 to LSU and by 12 to Ohio in a game where they were 4-point favorites.
Belmont offense has shined this year, but they have really struggled on the defensive end due to a lack of size and athleticism. They are 255th in the country in defensive 3P percentage, 284th in defensive 2P percentage, and 289th in defensive effective FG%. Overall, I think this will be a tight game with some very high-level offense, but I think Drake will be able to get a few more stops down the stretch. Belmont is a great offensive team, but I think their defense will let them down in this contest. Drake’s experience and athleticism should lead to transition baskets and easy layups for Drake. Score prediction: Drake 82-75.
Richmond has had a tough start to this season as they’re only 3-3 with tough losses to Utah state and Drake. They also had a large coke from behind rim against Hofstra and struggled against NC central in their season opener. Richmond has a lot of experience as they have 4 redshirt seniors in their starting lineup and their leading scorer is 6’7 hybrid wing Tyler Burton who is averaging (20/8/2) on 54/59/84% shooting.
Richmond big man Grant Golden is also a big part of this team as he is averaging 18/6/4. I think Richmonds experience and tough schedule so far will greatly help them in this matchup with Maryland who have struggled in their own right to this point. Maryland is led by senior guard Eric Ayala along with transfers Fatts Russell (URI) and Qudus Wahab (Georgetown). Maryland is 1-4 ATS with their only cover being by a single point. I think Richmond bounces back here and comes away with a win. Score prediction: Richmond 69-65
New Orleans faces Presbyterian in an interesting early season matchup. New Orleans is a team who plays very fast and loose. They want to get up and down the floor and try to get as many shots as possible Presbyterian is almost the complete opposite as they want to slow the game down, limit possessions and win with their defense. New Orleans is led by Seniors Derek St Helaire (22/2/2) and Troy Green (11/4/4). DSH and Green are very athletic guards who can guard 1-4 and are also highflyers on the offensive end who can get to the rim and cause trouble for a Presbyterian team who lacks athleticism and a true post presence. Overall, I believe if New Orleans can take care of the ball, limit turnovers and run good offense, they should be able to come away with a victory against an offensively challenged Presbyterian squad. Score prediction: New Orleans 74-68