It's a big night on the college hoops betting board for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and we're breezing through three of the games with quick previews and free picks
Marist vs. Fairfield
Of all seven college hoops games on Friday, this one might draw the least amount of interest. Combined, the Marist Red Foxes and Fairfield Stags stand 6-26 overall on the campaign, all three of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference wins between them on Fairfield's side heading into the 7 PM (ET) matchup at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena.
The game shows up on ESPN3's schedule, Fairfield favored by 7 with SBR's live NCAA basketball odds awaiting the release of the total.
This has already been a long season for Mike Maker at Marist (1-15 SU, 4-9-1 ATS), and it doesn't show any signs of getting any better. Hired last June after a very successful 6-year stint guiding Div. III Williams College, Maker's only career win so far at the big boy level came as a mild upset over Fresno State around Thanksgiving in the consolation bracket of the Gulf Coast Classic.
As goes Marcus Gilbert, so goes Fairfield (5-11 SU, 5-7 ATS). Even when the Stags' leading scorer is on, the junior forward hasn't gotten much help to get Fairfield in the win column. Gilbert was stymied at Iona on Tuesday, held under 11 points for the first time in nine games; his two 20+ point efforts in MAAC play have each been winners for the Stags as well as their backers (as underdogs to Manhattan Dec. 5 and at Siena Jan. 11).
Winless in six tries on the league slate, a big problem has been on defense where the Foxes rank dead last in conference tilts allowing teams to shoot better than 47%. Fairfield does have a big game Sunday at Monmouth, so the Stags could get caught looking ahead. I'm betting they don't, however, with a free pick on Fairfield.
Manhattan vs. Saint Peter's
A quick rematch is in order for the Manhattan Jaspers and St. Peter's Peacocks. The clubs meet for the second time in less than two weeks tonight at Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, the 7 PM (ET) contest appearing on ESPN3 with St. Peter's favored by 3½.
Manhattan (7-8 straight up, 6-8 against the spread) sits just a game out of the MAAC lead and winners of three straight entering Friday's fracas. The Jaspers topped the Peacocks by a 68-63 count nine days ago at home, covering as 3½ point favorites to give them an 8-game stretch of dubyas in this series.
Saint Peter's (9-9 SU, 5-8-1 ATS) comes home after a 3-game trip that began with that loss to the Jaspers. Another setback at Rider followed, but the Peacocks ended the journey on a high note with a 62-61 overtime win at Wednesday at Monmouth where they closed +2½. Let's look for a similar outcome as the first meeting and make our play on the road underdogs.
Siena vs. Canisius
Even-steven is where both the Siena Saints and Canisius Griffins find themselves in the conference standings, each squad at 3-3 on the MAAC ledger. They'll break that deadlock Friday in a 7:05 PM (ET) tip-off at Koessler Athletic Center where Canisius is a touchdown favorite on its home floor.
Jimmy Patsos was the talk of Albany when he took Siena (6-9 SU, 4-6 ATS) all the way to the CBI Championship this past April, coincidentally beating Fresno State for the title in the school's first postseason basketball appearance despite a 15-17 pre-tourney record. Just like last year, the Saints stand 6-9 through their first 15 games, a lack of perimeter defense cropping up during recent home matchups vs. Iona and Fairfield.
Canisius (8-7 SU, 5-5 ATS) has fallen three times in four trips to the floor, two of those coming at home in Buffalo. Turnovers and early frontcourt fouls hurt the Golden Griffins at Iona last Saturday, though they did manage to cover a 10 point spread in New Rochelle.
NCAA Basketball Picks: Fairfield -7; Manhattan +3.5; Siena +7
Season: 17-22 (-7.20)