2019 NCAA Tournament Mid-Major To Watch: Stony Brook

David Schwab

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 7:21 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 7:21 PM UTC

While more than a few mid-major teams have caught the eye of NCAA basketball bettors both on the court and at the betting window, we are looking for ones that can make some noise in March. How about Stony Brook?

The Stony Brook Seawolves made their first and only appearance in the men’s NCAA Tournament in 2016 by winning the America East Conference title game. The stay was brief as the No. 13 seed, but they did put their name on the map as an up-and-coming mid-major program. They took a step backwards last season with a straight-up record of 13-19, but third-year head coach Jeff Boals has his team headed in the right direction this season with a fast start out of the gate.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

It's GAMEDAY in the Ocean State. We take on Rhode Island later this afternoon in a battle between one-loss teams.

🏀 @RhodyMBB
⏰ 2 PM
📍 Kingston, R.I.
📺 ESPN+ | https://t.co/D6e1qpF4cn
📻 https://t.co/16l9n4RMq6
📊 https://t.co/IphRTPV78a#SeawolvesUnited | #AEHoops pic.twitter.com/AIL33O2Eo8

— Stony Brook MBB (@StonyBrookMBB) November 24, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Team Overview

The Seawolves decided to test themselves early with games against George Washington, South Carolina and Rhode Island in three of their first six contests. The rest of the nonconference portion of the schedule takes its foot off the gas a bit in December with a pair of games against Quinnipiac in a home-and-home series along with Brown and LUI-Brooklyn, to name a few. They will open conference play on Jan. 5 at UMass-Lowell.

Early indications point towards a balanced attack on offense with four players scoring in double figures through the first six games. Junior guard Akwasi Yeboah has led the way in both scoring with 18.8 points per game and rebounds with an average of 8.3. His best effort to date was in the Seawolves’ 83-81 victory against South Carolina with 24 points and 11 rebounds as one of his three double-doubles this season.

Current Betting Trends

Given the quality of competition Stony Brook has faced in its first six games makes its 5-1 straight-up start all the more impressive. Add in the fact that the Seawolves closed as underdogs on 5Dimes’ closing line in four of the five games earns them an early spot on this mid-majors’ sleeper list.

Following a tight 77-74 victory against George Washington on Nov. 6 as a six-point underdog in its season opener, Stony Brook closed as a 14.5-point underdog in that upset against the Gamecocks on Nov. 9. It actually closed as a two-point favorite against Holy Cross its next time out, but came up well short in an 84-70 loss. The total went "over" the closing line in each of those three games.

More recently, after rolling over Molloy 97-61 in a game with no posted betting line, the Seawolves posted an impressive 68-58 victory against Rhode Island on Nov. 24 as 9.5-point underdogs. The total stayed "under" 144 points in that game. Overall, they are 4-1 against the spread in five games with posted betting odds.

Season Outlook

From what we have seen so far from Stony Brook in relation to the rest of the American East, it should continue to set the pace as the team to beat in this conference. UMBC has the next-best record in nonconference play at 4-3 and five of the nine teams had SU losing records heading into the last week of November.

The Seawolves’ only chance for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament this season is to win the conference tournament in early March, but the foundation for that successful run is definitely in place. Yeboah has been a stud out of the gate and he is surrounded with some decent scoring depth that has the team averaging 77.8 points per game.

comment here