Manhattan sits in 7th place in the MAAC standings, but they have a chance to pick up a big win tonight at home as they host the first-place Siena Saints. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Siena sits in first place in the MAAC conference for a few reasons, but arguably the biggest one being their defense. Over the past five games, the Saints have managed to hold three of their opponents to under 57 points, and on the season, they are ranked 70th in the country in points allowed per game.
The Saints have done an excellent job keeping their opponents off the three-point line this season, ranking 5th in opponent three-point attempts per game and 4th in opponent three-point makes per game. In their most recent win over Marist, the Saints held their opponent to an 11% three-point percentage in the game on 18 attempts.
What’s even more impressive about the Saints' last two victories is that they could score 70 points in both games without leading scorer Javian McCollum. The offense will have another opportunity to do so tonight against a Jaspers team that ranks 277th in the country in defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
Entering tonight, the Jaspers are allowing an average of 73.3 points per game, while opponents have managed an effective field goal percentage of 52.1% against them. Manhattan ranks 49th in the country in turnovers forced per game, but that has still not been enough to get the job done on that end of the floor.
The other problem for the Jaspers this season is that their offense has been unable to bail them out when struggling on the defensive end. Out of 363 D1 teams, the Jaspers rank 303rd in offensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom. For Manhattan to stick around in the game tonight, they will need leading scorer Anthony Nelson to build off his 22-point performance in their most recent.
Siena can currently be found as -4.5 point road favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Saints are 8-2 ATS in their last ten games, and the favorite is 12-5-1 in the previous 18 meetings between these two MAAC opponents. Siena is a veteran team that can be trusted on the road this season, as over their last six road games, they have gone 5-1 ATS, while Manhattan is 4-4 ATS at home this season.
Offensively the Saints should have no problem tonight generating offense against the Jaspers’ defense. Siena has played like a unit with everyone sticking to their roles with McCollum out, and tonight their two main shooters in, Andrew Platek and Michael Baer, should be able to find success from deep against a Manhattan team that’s allowing a three-point percentage of 36%.
Siena can beat Manhattan in several ways, and the recent development of Jackson Stormo on the offensive end adds another element to the Saints' offense that I don’t think the Jaspers can keep up with. On the other end of the floor, Siena can hold Manhattan to a low number of shot attempts tonight, which will be an issue since the Jaspers are ranked 204th in the county in shooting percentage.
Siena Saints (-4.5)