NCAA Basketball Picks: Marist +2 over Canisius

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 6, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

The Marist Red Foxes have won four straight since an 0-9 start, a streak that coincided with their schedule getting easier, and look for another win vs. Canisius Monday.

The streaking home team seems to offer good value as a dog in MAAC play Monday night when the Canisius Golden Griffiths (9-5, 2-4 away) pay a visit to those Marist Red Foxes (4-9, 3-2 home) at the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie, NY at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Marist as a small home underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of -102.

If you want to talk about streaky teams, consider that Marist has now won four straight games since beginning the season 0-9, although there is a good reason for it. You see, Marist faced a good non-conference schedule and then opened up MAAC play vs. Manhattan and Iona, and their four-game winning streak began once the competition became a bit easier.

Canisius is 9-5, but unlike Marist, the Golden Griffiths’ non-conference schedule ranked only 156th in SOS, and while the Griffs are also 3-0 in MAAC play, all three wins came vs. teams ranked 210th or worse on the Pomeroy Ratings.

Marist tackled a non-conference schedule ranked 95th in SOS and that conditioning has suited the Red Foxes well over the last four games after getting away from the likes of Maryland, Providence and St. Joseph’s. Their most recent victim was Fairfield in a 75-56 rout here at home on Thursday where the Red Foxes built a double-digit halftime lead and never looked back.

Yes, Marist is just 298th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency grading out at 96.8 points per 100 possessions and 337th in effective field goal percentage at 42.8 percent, but both of those figures have improved to 102.5 and 44.6 percent respectively during MAAC play.

The Red Foxes grade out better defensively yielding 101.2 points per 100 possessions compared to a national average of 103.8, and they are third in the conference in defensive efficiency during MAAC games. That ranking gets a boost by leading the MAAC in defensive rebounding percentage at 75.3 percent in conference games, while Canisius is dead last in the conference in that category in 11th at just 58.9 percent.

Thus, Marist should get more second opportunities in this contest and those extra points could add up in a relatively close game.

Canisius has faced the easier schedule of these two teams and yet it still grades out poorly in defensive efficiency at 216th in the country. Yes, the main reason has been the problems on the defensive glass as mentioned, where the Golden Griffiths are 337th nationally, and we see no reason why tonight should be any different vs. a Marist team that has a 33.3 percent offensive rebounding percentage in conference play vs. a national average of 31.7 percent.

Add this all up and Canisius does not seem like a warranted road favorite on this spot, especially in light of how the Red Foxes have turned things around, so back Marist at home on Monday.

[gameodds]14/253967/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Marist +2 (-102)