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06.03.2024

Farleigh Dickinson vs. Le Moyne Game Preview and Pick: Dolphins Jump Into Semi-Finals

In their first full season in the NEC as a D1 basketball program, the Le Moyne Dolphins finished 14-16 overall, earning them the fourth seed in the conference tournament, which tips off tonight. While the Dolphins may not be eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament, that doesn’t mean they can’t look for a conference title in their first year in the NEC.

The team standing between Le Moyne and the semi-final is no stranger to Cinderella stories, as Farleigh Dickinson drew the 5th seed in the tournament. While the Knights captured the hearts of America last season, I think their postseason run will end early this year.

Game Preview

One downside to becoming a Cinderella story in March is that it usually means you are losing your head coach to a bigger school, along with some of your best players. Farleigh Dickinson was the latest example of that as they went from beating Purdue last year to finishing this season with a (-14) adjusted efficiency margin during NEC play, according to Bart Torvik.

The Knights retained one of the bigger pieces from last year, Ansley Almonor, who led the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game. While Almonor had a terrific season, it was not enough to keep the Knights from ranking 329th in the country and 7th in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency rating, per Bart Torvik.

Out of the nine teams in the conference, the Knights finished 8th in most shooting statistics during conference play, including effective field goal percentage (46.6%) and three-point percentage (35.1%). Despite those shooting numbers and the fact that they shot 36% from the field, FDU beat Le Moyne the last time these teams met to even the season series.

The Knights may not have had their best game offensively, but their defense held the Dolphins to just 58 points. Which is impressive, considering Le Moyne is the second-ranked team in the conference when it comes to adjusted offensive efficiency. Unlike FDU, the Dolphins were one of the best shooting teams in the NEC, ranking second in effective field goal percentage (52.2%)(Bart Torvik).

Le Moyne’s offense primarily falls into the hands of Kaiyem Clearly (15.5 PPG, 28% usage) and Luke Sutherland (15 PPG, 25.7% usage). Even in the loss to FDU, both of them had a lot of success against the Knights, especially Clearly, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Pick for the Game

Since the lines came out, there has been some slight movement on New Jersey sports betting apps, but for the most part, the Dolphins are listed as (-3.5) point favorites, which is where I’ll be taking them. Farleigh Dickinson may be a better defensive team than they are offensive, but they still fall short in certain areas that could hurt them against the Dolphins' offense.

Le Moyne is a team that likes to live behind the three-point line. According to Bart Torvik, they led the NEC in three-point rate and were second in three-point percentage (35.4%). If the Dolphins can get going from three early, I have a hard time seeing the Knights slow them down, especially since FDU ranks 339th in the country in opponent three-point percentage, per Haslametrics.

Since FDU isn’t a very good shooting team, they tend to use their defense to create offense, ranking them 21st in potential quick points off breakaway steals per 100 trips upcourt vs. the average opponent (Haslametrics). While forcing turnovers can go a long way in a game like this, I don’t think the Knights will be able to rely on it too much since Le Moyne had the second-lowest turnover percentage in conference play.

Recap

  • Le Moyne Dolphins (-3.5)(-114) on FanDuel

*odds subject to change

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