NCAA Basketball Pick: St. Peter’s Peacocks vs. Quinnipiac Bobcats

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, February 16, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

The Quinnipiac Bobcats will be with senior shooting guard Umar Shannon as they host the St. Peter’s Peacocks in Connecticut late Sunday afternoon.

The home team is fighting for a conference title in its first season ever in the MAAC, but it will be without a key piece on Sunday when the St. Peter’s Peacocks (9-15, 4-9 away) pay a visit to those Quinnipiac Bobcats (16-8, 9-2 home) at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden, CT at 4:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has St. Peter’s as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -110.

Quinnipiac finds itself in the thick of the MAAC title race in its first season in the conference after supposedly moving up from the Northeast Conference along with Monmouth, as besides being 16-8, the Bobcats are in a three-way tie for second place in the conference at 11-4 with Manhattan and Canisius, with those teams chasing 14-2 Iona. However, they are missing a key piece to that success in senior shooting guard Umar Shannon, out with a concussion.

St. Peters is struggling along at 5-10 in the conference while being six games under .500 overall, but the Peacocks do play good defense and the absence of Shannon should make things easier for them on that end of the court, and remember that they did upset a Quinnipiac team when it was at full strength 74-67 back in Jersey City the first time these teams met this season on January 12th.

Quinnipiac has still won four games in a row and five out of six since losing a big game at Iona that may ultimately cost the Bobcats the MACC title, and this is a team ranked third inside the MAAC and 63rd in the country in offensive efficiency while averaging 79.2 points per game overall and 81.9 points inside the conference. However, the fewest points the Bobcats have scored in a game during MAAC play did come in that loss to St. Peter’s the first go-around.

Also, much of that offensive success was due to Shannon, not only because he is the team’s third leading scorer with 14.5 points per game but also because of his senior leadership. Furthermore, this concussion could not have happened at a worse time as Shannon averaged 19.7 points in his last three games including pouring in 26 in his last game before exiting.

Shannon’s injury is also significant because few teams in the country rely on their starters as much as Quinnipiac does, as the regular starting five is averaging a cumulative 64.9 points while the weak Bobcats’ bench has only added 14.3 points per game!

St. Peter’s is playing better as of late as the Peacocks have won two of their last three games with the only loss being by just three points at MAAC kingpin Iona. It is all about defense for a St. Peter’s team that ranks a dismal 322nd in the country in offensive efficiency, and the Peacocks allowed 55.0 points per game in those last three games.

The Peacocks are second in the conference in defensive efficiency and second in effective field goal percentage allowed at 45.7 percent, thanks to holding MAAC opponents to an insanely low 31.4 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc and just 44.9 percent shooting on two-point attempts. And as mentioned previously, they have done the best job so far any MAAC team of slowing down the Quinnipiac offense in the earlier upset.

That defense always makes St. Peter’s attractive as a decided underdog and today is no exception, so take the points with the Peacocks on Sunday.

[gameodds]14/258178/?r-1=43-238-92-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: St. Peter’s +7 (-110)

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