NCAA Basketball Pick On Iona To Run Past St. Peter’s In MAAC Action

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 22, 2016 5:36 PM GMT

First place in the MAAC for now is on the line Friday night and look for the Iona Gaels to overtake the current conference leaders from St. Peter’s with a resounding home win.  

 

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick:  Iona -7 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

First place in the conference is on the line in Friday night MAAC action and we look for the home favorite to win emphatically when the current conference leaders, the St. Peters Peacocks (8-8, 9-3 ATS), pay a visit to those Iona Gaels (9-8, 5-11 ATS) at the Hynes Athletics Center in New Rochelle, NY at 7:00 ET with live streaming available on maac.tv

The point spread at Bookmaker has Iona as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7 on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -110.

 

Winner Will Be in First Place for Now
St. Peters is the surprising leader in the MAAC for now with a 6-1 conference mark while Iona is one-half game back while tied with Monmouth for second at 6-2, meaning the winner of this game will be all alone in first place tentatively with Monmouth off until Sunday. The Peacocks have won three straight games since suffering their only conference loss by just two points on the road at Niagara 63-61 on January 7th.

Iona meanwhile was toughened by a very nice non-conference schedule that was ranked 40th in the country in SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings, and that apparently served the Gaels well as they opened up 6-0 in MAAC play. However, they have since been the losing NCAA Basketball picks in two straight games, first losing here at home to that Monmouth team that is a serious contender for the conference title and then getting upset at Rider this past Sunday.

 

Pace Makes Covering This Spread Easier?
At first glance, this point spread may seem rather large especially with Iona playing without Jordan Washington and his 15.8 points per game for a second straight time as he finishes serving his two-game suspension for an on-court altercation following the Monmouth loss, and the Gaels could have used him in the 79-75 loss at Rider.

However, even without Washington, we feel the pace of Iona will be too much for St. Peter’s to handle with this game in New Rochelle. The Gaels are 48th in the country in scoring with their 79.8 points per game while ranking 55th in effective field goal percentage at 53.0 percent, a rate that goes up to 54.1 percent in conference play, and a key reason is Iona playing at a phrenetic pace that ranks 14th nationally in tempo rating with possessions averaging just 15.3 seconds!

Furthermore, that pace often reaches turbo-mode here at home with the Gaels feeding off of the energy of the home crowd, as Iona is averaging 84.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting overall including 37.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc in this building.

 

No Answers Offensively
St. Peter’s has posted its fine record on the strength of a defense that is allowing an average of 67.7 points on just 41.7 percent shooting overall. However, the Peacocks are more partial to a methodical pace offensively ranking only 271st nationally in tempo rating, and the trouble with that here is that no team has been able to slow the pace vs. Iona at home, as even the Gaels’ lone home loss to Monmouth was by an NBA-type 110-102 score.

So that probably means the Peacocks will have to increase their scoring to win this game with the defense allowing more points than usual, and we simply feel that St. Peter’s lacks the ammunition to do so, even vs. a poor Iona defense. You see, the Peacocks are 279th in the country in scoring with 68.6 points per game, and that is no fluke when you dig a bit deeper.

St. Peter’s is ranked only 258th in offensive efficiency and it has also been turnover prone ranking 241st in offensive turnover percentage. Also, the Iona defense is weaker on the perimeter than it is inside, with the Gaels ranking 262nd in three-point defense but allowing a reasonable 46.9 percent success rate on two-point attempts, but the Peacocks lack the outside shooters to take advantage ranking 203rd in three-point shooting at only 33.8 percent.

 

Home Blowouts
Finally, while St. Peter’s won the last head-to-head meeting last season in New Jersey, Iona has won the last four meetings here at home by an average of +12.3 points.

Considering that first place is on the line here and that the Gaels do not want to fall two games behind in the loss column, look for Iona to again basically run St. Peter’s out of the building at home in New Rochelle on Friday.