BANKER (Norfolk State vs Maryland-Eastern Shore)
A little surprised this line is so short considering Norfolk is playing one of the worst teams in the conference in Maryland Eastern Shore, but we’ll take it. Norfolk state is a very solid team out of the MEAC who comes into this game with an 11-4 record and on a 2-game winning streak. They really only have one bad loss this season to Hampton that occurred on a half-court shot at the buzzer to lose. Other than that, all of their other losses are respectable as they fell to Xavier, Wichita state, and New Mexico who have a combined record of 29-20.
Norfolk state is a team who has been getting it done on the defensive side of the ball to win their games. This season, they are ranked 81st nationally in effective field goal percentage defense, 81st in defensive 3-point percentage defense, and 116th in 2-point percentage defense which are all respectable numbers for a team out of their conference. They face a Maryland Eastern Shore squad who has really struggled on offense. They are ranked 350th in the county in overall adjusted efficiency which is good for 8th worst in the country.
They are also ranked 318th in offensive effective field goal percentage, 339th in offensive 2-point percentage, and 312th in block percentage so they really struggle to score the ball and have an issue with many shots being blocked due to their severe height disadvantage against most teams. Norfolk state hasn’t played the hardest schedule in their world, but they have tested themselves and stood up well and think they are very prepared to face the bottom feeder of their conference in Maryland Eastern Shore. I think Norfolk state will stifle them on defense and do just enough on offense to come away with a win in this conference matchup. Score Prediction: 67-58 Norfolk state.
JMU comes into this game against Elon as three-point favorites, but they are coming off of a massive 20-point comeback against William and Mary and I think they will carry this momentum into this game against a weak Elon squad. Elon is a horrendous defensive team as they rank 286th in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, 236th in defensive effective field goal percentage, 357th (2nd worst) in defensive foul rate so they really struggle to defend the ball in a conference that is not known for high powered offense.
Elon isn’t much better on the offensive side of the ball either as they rank 232nd in adjusted offensive efficiency, 288th in offensive turnover percentage, and 268th in offensive 2-point percentage. Overall, I think JMU will be able to score at will against this porous Elon defense and the hope here is that they carry that momentum over from their previous 20-point comeback into a strong performance here against another weak team in Elon. Score Prediction: 78-67 JMU
FAMU is a solid team out of the SWAC who plays really solid defense but struggles to score. They are one of the worst outside shooting teams in the country, but their percentages should all see a jump as they face one of the worst teams in the country in Mississippi Valley State. Mississippi is dead last in the country (358th) in defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point percentage. They are also 356th in defensive efficiency and 350th in 2-point percentage defense so they really struggle at all levels.
Florida AM is also coming off of a solid overtime win on the road against Arkansas pine bluff and think that momentum will carry over to this game. They’ve won 2 games in a row and really need this game to stay afloat in the SWAC race as they lost their first two SWAC games to Southern and Bethune Cookman. Overall, I just think Florida AM is the much better team with more talent and shouldn’t have any trouble beating up on a terrible Mississippi Valley State squad. Score Prediction: 73-64 FAMU