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The Forecaster: 2/4-2/8

All point spreads per Kenpom

Thursday's Games:

Wagner at St. Francis-Brooklyn (-1), 4pm

St. Francis (PA) at Merrimack (-1), 4pm

Fairleigh Dickinson at Long Island (-6), 7pm


Friday's Games:

Wagner at St. Francis-Brooklyn (-1), 4pm

St. Francis (PA) at Merrimack (-1), 4pm

Sacred Heart at Central Connecticut (-1), 6pm

Fairleigh Dickinson at Long Island (-6), 7pm


Monday's Game:

St. Francis-Brooklyn at Long Island, 5pm


Series to Watch: Wagner at St. Francis-Brooklyn

  1. Long Layoffs- Anecdotally, teams haven't looked good following long layoffs: FDU started 1-6, and now they're 4-4 in league play, Merrimack was 1-3 after 4 games, and now they're 4-4; Long Island struggled with Sacred Heart in their first week of the season, specifically Game #2; and the Terriers looked overwhelmed in their loss to LIU on Sunday, which was their first game in 3 weeks. Wagner hasn't played since 1/15, so they're pushing three weeks since they last took the floor. Given that they have to play 12 games in ~4 weeks, they have to knock the rust off quickly.

  2. Are these two teams the most athletic squads in the NEC? St. Francis-Brooklyn's Unique McLean may be the best athlete in the conference. At 6'2", he finishes in transition with the best of them, and his 7.4 rpg is tied for 8th in the NEC. Glenn Braica also has guys like Rob Higgins and Travis Atson, who are quick and versatile. Bashir Mason rolls out an impressive combination of athleticism and length in Alex Morales and Will Martinez, and Elijah Ford can jump out of the gym.

  3. Glenn Braica really likes to push the tempo; in league play, the Terriers are averaging 76.6 possessions/40 minutes, which is 2nd fastest in the NEC (behind Bryant's 77.7). However, they haven't been efficient in their transition opportunities; according to hoop-math, their 43.1% eFG% in transition is 7th worst in the country. On the surface that feels odd with guys like McLean and Atson filling the lanes, but it appears to be more of a shot selection thing; 24.3% of their shots in transition have been of the mid-range variety, and they're making just 17% of those "opportunities".

  4. Bashir Mason has one of the most fascinating players in the NEC in "point forward" Alex Morales. The 6'6" senior fills the stat sheet, averaging 15.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and a league-leading 5.6 apg (1.4 A:TO ratio). He's a true play-maker, and has the ball in his hands a ton (his usage rate of 32% is the highest in the NEC). While he's been great in finding teammates, he's really struggled to shoot the ball; he's made just 4 of 26 from downtown, and has a eFG% below 39.8%. If he's converting at the rim and making open perimeter shots, the Seahawks are a different team.

  5. The analytics say that Chauncey Hawkins is a good player; his 33.9% assist rate is 3rd in the NEC (and by far a career high), and an eFG% of 52.4% despite heavy usage is more than solid. However, for me it's the intangibles; he's the type of talent that could have transferred yet stayed loyal to Glenn Braica and SFC, he's a polished and impressive guy, and there aren't many players I'd rather have with the ball when the game is on the line. The senior point guard has really changed his game this season, becoming more of a play-maker, and not forcing shots as often as he had in years past. With the kind of options he has around him, it's a great thing to see.

 

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