Siena Over Slumping St. Peter’s Is The NCAA Basketball Pick Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 5, 2016 4:04 PM GMT

St. Peter’s was off to an unrealistically fast start in MAAC play, but four straight losses have brought the Peacocks back to earth and look for their slide to continue at Siena.

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Siena -8½ 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

There could be a double-digit blowout in nationally televised Friday night MAAC action when the early leaders in the conference this season the St. Peter’s Peacocks (8-12, 10-6 ATS) take their four-game losing streak on the road as they pay a visit to the Siena Saints (15-8, 9-7-1 ATS) at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Bookmaker has Siena as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -8½ on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.

 

Fading Peacocks
There was once a time when St. Peter’s led the MAAC with a 6-1 conference mark two weeks ago, but it was fairly obvious that the Peacocks were overachieving and that has come to fruition with four straight losses since then, dropping them to fifth place in the conference at 6-5 and to just 8-12 overall.

Siena meanwhile sits third in the conference at 8-4 and at a nice 15-8 overall, as the Saints had been the winning NCAA Basketball picks in four straight games before a hard-fought 93-87 loss to Monmouth here at home on Monday, a Monmouth team that leads the MAAC at 10-2 and that received national exposure during its non-conference schedule by beating the likes of UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown.

Thus, facing St. Peter’s looks like a drop in class for Siena here.

 

Inefficient St. Peter’s Offense
If there was any doubt that the conference start by St. Peter’s was a fluke, consider that the Peacocks were only ranked 175th in the country overall on the Pomeroy Ratings when they were sitting 6-1 in the MAAC, and now four losses later they are ranked just 233rd on Pomeroy!

This is a very weak team offensively averaging 66.3 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting overall, so when the defense struggles as it has over the last five games while allowing an average of 71.8 points with four of those five opponents topping 70 points, the Peacocks simply lack the firepower to keep pace.

Besides not being a good shooting team with St. Peter’s ranking 272nd in the country in effective field goal percentage at 47.5 percent, the Peacocks are also turnover prone with an offensive turnover percentage of 19.4 percent vs. a national average of 18.4 percent, and that has also contributed to a dismal 311th ranking in offensive efficiency. St. Peter’s also ranks ninth in that category in the 11-team MAAC during conference play.

 

Well Balanced Saints
Siena on the other hand is ranked 105th in the country on Pomeroy, making it the second highest ranked MAAC team in the land behind only Monmouth at number 54. That makes the loss to the Hawks on Monday excusable and the Saints had been dominant at home before that with the loss snapping a 10-game home straight up winning streak. Even with that loss, Siena still has an average winning margin at home this season of +11.0 points (80.4-69.4).

The Saints are a well balanced team solid on both ends of the floor, so they are a team capable of springing an upset in the NCAA Tournament if that can get by Monmouth in the MAAC Tournament. That would not be the first time that happened as it was not too long ago that Siena was the poster child of the MAAC, beating Vanderbilt and Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years.

Getting back to the here and now, the Saints are above average ranking 120th in the country in offensive efficiency and 109th in defensive efficiency, ranking an excellent third and second in those categories respectively in league play.

The Saints have an effective field goal percentage of 51.2 percent and the offense gets a boost by Siena being 13th in the country and first in the MAAC in offensive rebounding percentage. On the other end the Saints are 58th nationally in effective field goal percentage allowed defensively, and they are solid at all points of the floor allowing only a 46.0 percent success rate on two-point attempts and 31.8 percent on three-pointers.

 

Money-Makers on the Road
Finally, with the home loss to conference leading Monmouth on Monday aside, Siena has still done an excellent job of protecting its home court as that marked the first straight up home loss of the season for the Saints after a 9-0 start and they remain 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine home games. Siena is also 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games following a straight up loss and 5-1 ATS in its last six games following an ATS loss.

That proven resiliency as of late leads us to believe that Siena will bounce back well at home here and keep St. Peter’s slumping with a double-digit victory in Albany.