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29.02.2024

New Hampshire @ Albany Game Preview and Pick: Great Danes End Losing Skid

If a team in the America East Conference was going through a slump on offense, there is a good chance they were checking their schedule to see when they were playing the Albany Great Danes. Over their last ten games, Albany has only won two, with the biggest reason for that being their defense.

One of the two games that Albany did win over that ten-game stretch did happen to come against their opponent tonight, the New Hampshire Wildcats. While UNH is close to securing a good seed in the conference tournament, I’ll break down why I think the Great Danes are still the team to back in this matchup.

Game Preview

New Hampshire may be 15-11 and in fourth place in the America East, but consistency is not one of their strong suits. The longest winning streak the Wildcats have strung together this season is three games. In fact, the last time UNH won consecutive games was during that win streak on January 20th and 25th, so since then, they have flip-flopped wins and losses over their next seven games.

After beating last-placed NJIT on February 22nd, the Wildcats would find themselves back in the loss column over the weekend thanks to an 86-68 loss to UMBC on their home court. According to Bart Torvik, the Wildcats rank 5th in adjusted defensive efficiency in the conference, and that middle-of-the-pack defense allowed two players on UMBC to combine for 52 points themselves.

An inability to defend inside the three-point line is one of the biggest reasons why it has been so difficult for them to string together wins. New Hampshire has allowed the 3rd lowest opponent three-point percentage in the conference (29.7%), but they have also allowed the second-highest opponent two-point percentage (54.4%) this season, per Bart Torvik.

The Wildcats' inability to defend the paint is why they were one of the three teams Albany was able to beat during conference play. While the Great Danes are the worst defensive team in the conference, they are still dangerous on any given night, thanks to their scoring ability.

With a 105 adjusted offensive efficiency in conference play, the Great Danes rank 3rd in the America East Conference, per Bart Torvik. Albany’s offense is led by two of the better-scoring threats in the entire conference, Sebastian Thomas and Amar’e Marshall. When these teams last played, that duo combined for 54 points, and Thomas himself is coming off a 42-point outing against UMass-Lowell.

Pick for the Game

The lone sports betting app in New Hampshire, DraftKings, opened this game as a pick’em, but the Great Danes have since become (-1.5) point favorites, which is where I’ll be taking them for my play tonight. These two teams love to get out and run on offense, as they’d rather outshoot a team than have to defend them, which is a style of play I think favors the Great Danes.

Albany doesn’t need the three-ball to beat the Wildcats, as they can rely primarily on mid-range shots and offensive rebounding. According to Haslametrics, the Great Danes rank 21st in mid-range shooting percentage, while UNH ranks 309th in opponent mid-range shooting percentage. Additionally, when these teams last met, Albany outrebounded UNH 36-24. I expect a similar outcome tonight, with UNH ranked 198th in the country in second chance scoring percentage allowed vs. the average opponent, per Haslametrics.

One area Albany has the advantage in regarding defense is forcing turnovers. The Great Danes rank 3rd in the conference in opponent turnover percentage and 66th in the country in potential quick points off breakaway steals per 100 trips up court vs the average opponent (Haslametrics). Meanwhile, UNH is 7th in the conference in turnover percentage (17.2%)(Bart Torvik).

Recap

  • Albany Great Danes (-1.5)(-105) on BetMGM

*odds subject to change

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