BANKER (Niagara vs. Eastern Michigan)
Niagara is a team you probably don’t know much about unless you cover college basketball day in and day out, but they have a very solid squad. Niagara is off to a 3-5 start, but their record is a bit skewed as they’ve played a tough schedule including close losses to Ohio state and Xavier, both on the road. Niagara is led by talented guard, Marcus Hammond, who is averaging 18/5/3 on 46% shooting and 36% from deep.
Hammond is the straw that stirs the drink as he is the main focal point of their somewhat anemic offense. Niagara is 232nd in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency but one thing they do well is take care of the ball. They are 77th in the country in TO% on offense as they are only averaging 11 turnovers per game. On the other hand, their opponents in Eastern Michigan are averaging nearly 15 turnovers per game, good for 201st in the country.
Niagara is coming off probably their two worst games of the season and I think that’s why we’re getting a discount price in this one as I believe this line should be at least -4.5/5. Niagara will have the best player on the court in this matchup and I believe their toughness on the defensive end coupled with the already tough schedule they’ve played will have them very well prepared for this matchup.
Niagara should control this game with their defense, and I think Hammond will make enough plays on offense to create for himself and others to lead Niagara to a victory here. Eastern Michigan has played a weak schedule and has gotten wins over unimpressive opponents to this point, and I believe they will struggle against a tough, battle tested, and experienced Niagara squad. Score Prediction: Niagara 68-63
Marquette is a team who has played a grueling schedule to this point and has done quite well. They are 7-2 so far with impressive wins over Illinois, Ole Miss, and West Virginia. Their only losses have come against St Bonaventure and Wisconsin, both very solid teams. They face Kansas state in this big east big 12 matchup and Kansas state is off to a solid 5-2 start but against very lackluster teams.
They lost by 8 in games against Arkansas and Illinois and just recently notched their most impressive win of the year as they won on the road against Wichita St. Other than that, they have faced bottom dwellers in Nebraska-Omaha, FAMU, North Dakota, and Albany. I believe Kansas state will be ill prepared for this matchup and I’m surprised that they’re even favored here. I believe Marquette’s tough schedule and experience will lead them to a low scoring victory in this one. Score prediction: Marquette 71-62.
Marist is another team that most people probably don’t know much about. They’re off to a 3-4 start but have played a fairly tough schedule as 5 of their 7 games were on the road and only have one double digit loss on the season so they battle and keep games close. Now Marist gets a favorable matchup against a dreadful Binghamton team who is 2-5 and only one win over a D1 opponent. Binghamton is in the bottom 300 in the country in offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency and they really don’t do anything well.
Marist is actually in the top half of the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and 90th in offensive TO% so they run good offense and take care of the ball as well. Binghamton is in the bottom 200 in the country in effective FG%, 2P%, 3P%, and free throw percentage so really have a lot of issues on the offensive end. Bottom line is I expect Marist to take care of the ball and force Binghamton into turnovers leading to more layups and easy buckets. Score Prediction: Marist 75-67.