The CollegeInsider.com Tournament continues on Saturday night with a quarter-final matchup between Canisius and NJIT. The Highlanders find themselves as a 2.5-point favorite on the college basketball betting lines with the winner moving on to face Northern Arizona in the semis.
The Canisius Griffins Can Win Because…
They’ve been playing well since losing to Monmouth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. They’ve registered a pair of rather easy wins against Dartmouth, crushing them 87-72, and Bowling Green, 82-59. They haven’t even had to break a sweat whereas NJIT has been barely edging by in the NCAA Basketball Odds.
What’s impressive about Canisius is that they are coming off a relatively easy win and they didn’t get much from Zach Lewis. They scored 82 points against Bowling Green and Zach Lewis, their leading scorer, only had six points. Normally, he leads the team with 12.6 points per game but the fact that they still managed that many points without much from him shows how potent their offense can be. This team has been struggling to find some balance this season as only two players average double-digits, so putting forth a performance like that is a great sign.
NJIT isn’t that strong in terms of defense as they’ve allowed opponents to get to 67.4 points per game this season. That’s great news for Canisius, who has had no problem lighting it up at the other end of the floor.
The NJIT Highlanders Can Win Because…
They’re hot right now. They’ve now won five straight games and 10 of their last 11, which means momentum is on their side. They were methodical in their win over Cleveland State on Monday, edging them 80-77. They shot 55.2% from the field in the second half of that contest, including nine-of-15 from three. If they can keep up that focus, they’re going to be moving on to the semis.
This is a team that’s fairly balanced with Damon Lynn averaging 17.4 points per game with Winfield Willis backing him up at 12.4. That tandem scored 39 against Cleveland State. However, they are also backed up by Tim Coleman, who scores 11.4, and Ky Howard, who chips in 11.1. This is a fairly strong offensive team at 71.9 points per game with 46.3% shooting.
Their magical journey hasn’t come to an end yet. They have enough advantages to edge the Griffins.
Home court advantage figures to be the main difference in this one. NJIT is 14-2 so far this season at Fleisher Athletic Center. Beyond that, Canisius is just 5-7 against teams with a winning record this season and 3-8 when listed as the underdog this season. While NJIT looks like a reasonable play on the side, I’m going to go with the over with my NCAA Basketball picks given how both offenses are clicking right now. NJIT probably won’t get slowed down at home while their defense has been a weak spot, so Canisius should be able to do some damage as they have so far in this tournament. Go over the number.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 141.5 at The Greek