Lehigh enters tonight on a four-game conference win streak and will now head to Loyola (MD) to take on the Greyhounds. We’ll preview this Patriot League conference match-up before reviewing my best bet for the game.
Much like Lehigh, the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds opened conference play on a losing streak. The Greyhounds lost their first four Patriot League games before winning two straight entering tonight. Even with the two consecutive wins, the Greyhounds possess one of the worst scoring offenses in college basketball this season, ranking 335th out of an eligible 363 division one teams in offensive efficiency rating.
In their last ten games, the Greyhounds have only scored 70+ points in one of them, and their lowest point total in a game is just 34 points. With numbers, to this extent, the cause can’t be blamed on just one area. An inability to limit turnovers is a good place to start, though, as the Greyhounds average 15.2 turnovers per game, ranking 329th in the country.
Their opponent's tempo tonight could magnify that issue as Lehigh runs at the 53rd-highest tempo in the country, which could generate even sloppier offensive play from the Greyhounds if they allow the Mountain Hawks to dictate the pace.
Lehigh’s fast-paced offense has not proven to generate good results on that end, with the Mountain Hawks entering tonight with a 97.9 offensive efficiency rating, which ranks 296th in the country. Despite having the 11th-best three-point percentage in the country, the Mountain Hawks are averaging 68.9 points per game.
Their defense has been vital in winning four straight conference games, as they’ve held three of their last four opponents under 70 points. On the season, Lehigh has not been able to produce a lot of turnovers, but they have forced 14 or more in three of their last four wins, so behind Tyler Whitney-Sidney and his team-leading 1.7 steals per game, they have started to show significant improvements in that area.
Depending on the shop, both teams can be found as +1 point underdogs, but for my best bet, I’ll be taking the Lehigh moneyline at (-105). When looking at this game, I felt Lehigh could win outright, and it’s a better price if you take them on the moneyline, so I’ll be backing the Mountain Hawks to win outright.
Based on their recent performance, the Mountain Hawks look to be clicking on offense more and finding more scoring production from the team as a whole. Lehigh can play to their biggest offensive strength tonight in three-point scoring since the Greyhounds have struggled to run their opponents off the line. This season opponents are shooting 38.1% from three against the Greyhounds, ranking them 341st in that category.
If Lehigh can continue to shoot it well from deep and force the Greyhounds to play at their pace, then I think the Mountain Hawks should be able to do enough to put this game out of reach for the lacking Greyhound offense.