TOP RATED PLAY ON:
Right now, the Saints are the 2nd hottest team in the conference behind Monmouth, winning 3 straight games…Today, they shoot for their 4th straight win vs a Rider team that is currently on a 2 game slide.
The overall stats between these two teams are very similar…with no one team having a real decided advantage…except for maybe Rebounding where the Broncos are ranked 16th in the nation averaging 40.1 rpg, compared to Siena’s 37.6 rebounding pg average (non-factor in first game, see below)…And at the FT line where the Saints averages a better FT% of 68.6%, compared to Riders 64.7%.
Other than that, both teams stats are very close mirrors to each other…So with that said, below are some Extended Edges, which I feel will work in favor of the Saints getting a win and cover today.
EDGE #1:…The Saints have the depth, talent and more experience.
One thing I like about this team is that it is a senior heavy, led team…The Saints this season return all 5 starters and 4 of them are seniors…In addition, the Saints are the only Division 1 team with four 1,000 point scorers on their roster.
One thing to note is that the Saints will be without one of their top players off the bench in guard Clareth, who is out for personal reason…His 12.4 ppg, 3 rpg and 1.2 apg will be missed…But it should be also noted that he has missed 5 games and previous to his being out, he was struggling in all 3 phases of the game…averaging just 34.3% from the field, 26.1% from long range and 68% from the line….But again, this Saints team has depth as other players has stepped up and is making a statement for more playing time…One of them is guard Richards who scored in double-digits twice off the bench…And he scored 7 points and grabbed 3 rebounds in the first game vs Rider….BTW, Richards is a talented young player, who was rated as the 76th best player in his position by ESPN, even though he missed his senior season of HS due to a broken foot.
With Clareth out, the Saints still have 4 players who are averaging in double-digit scoring…And two of them has been pretty dominant in games vs Rider…Guard Long is averaging 11.7 points and 6 rebounds in 7 games vs Rider….And in the first meeting, he had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals off the bench…And, senior forward Bisping who plays his best against Rider…has averaged double-doubles in all of his 7 career games vs Rider, with 11.1 points and 10.6 rebounds…In addition, forward Ogunyemi also had a big game in the first game vs Rider, scoring 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assist and 2 blocks.
Tonight, I am expecting this senior led team to make up for that earlier lost at Rider…a game which they know they dominated and should have easily won.
EDGE #2:…..Revenge Game for the Saints.
Ok…revenge is not the only motivating factor for the Saints in this game, but it is a good place to start…The Saints lost to the Broncos in their first game on Dec 5th, 71-69…And, they were listed as a -4.5 point favorite in that game.
First thing to note about that lost…was that the Saints had a very bad shooting day, where they shot just 35% from the field and just 1-of-19 from long range…Wow!…That is the first 5% shooting from long range, I have come across so far this season…Still, this happening on the road shouldn’t be to much of a shock as the Saint are not a very good 3pt shooting team…In fact, they are currently ranked at the bottom in the conference in 3pt FG% averaging just 28.1% from long range…Plus, they will be without one of their 3-points specialist in guard Clareth, who is out for personal reasons.
The good news though, is that sitting right above them at 10th in the conference is Rider…who also sucks from long range and is averaging just 29.8% overall…and 26.7% in road games.
Second thing to note about the first game between these two…was that although Siena lost the game, they were the more dominant team even though they had a bad shooting day…Siena scored 48 points in the paint to Rider’s 38…Siena scored 17 points off of turnovers to Rider’s 8…Siena scored 14 fast break points to Riders 6…Siena bench scored 26 points to Rider’s 16 points from their bench…Siena also had the largest lead in the game by 7 points, compared to Rider whose biggest lead was by 3 points….And lastly, Siena in the first game lead for a total of 27:02 minutes…while Rider only had the lead for 5:46 minutes of the game.
Third thing to note, is that Rider currently is ranked 16th in the nation in rebounding averaging 41 rebound per game…However, in the first game Siena out-boarded them, 52-to-49…Siena also had the edge in offensive rebounding, where they grabbed 23 offensive rebounds to Riders 14.
Last thing to note about that first game vs Rider…is that Siena missed 15 of its final 16 shots, including a game winning three at the buzzer.
In this rematch…I definitely do not see Siena, although struggling from long range, going 1-19 from behind the arc…And, I also don’t see them letting a lead slip away like they did either.
EDGE #3:…..The Saints are better at home.
Why is playing at home significant for the Saints?…Well, because the Saints suck on the road…In fact, before their last game which they won on the road at Fairfield…the Saints were on an 11 game road losing streak…But, because of that road win and the fact that the Saints are now only a game and a half behind leader Monmouth, I like the situation and motivation that snapping their road losing streak will provide them tonight.
The Saints at home this season is a solid 6-1 so far…And at home is where they are playing their best on the defensive end…In home games, the Saints are allowing just 66.6 ppg, 39.4% shooting from the field and just 26.2% shooting from downtown…Plus, the Saints are coming into this game off of a very solid defensive effort at Fairfield, where they held the Stags high octane offense to just 54 points (24 points under their season scoring average) on 39% shooting, which also include only allowing them to go 3-of-22 from long range.
This defensive effort was the result of Siena’s coaching staff and players making some needed adjustments…as the Saints were previously allowing an average of 79.8 ppg, 48.6% shooting and 38.3% from long range, in their first 10 road games this season…This improved defensive play on the road, should only make this good defensive team at home, even better.
Side Note: Siena has won 5 of the last 7 games against Rider…and 8 or the last 10 games played in Albany.
Siena leads the conference in attendance…averaging 5,517 in attendance…That is 2,544 more in attendance than the conference’s 1st place team Monmouth…And also way more than the rest of the teams in the league…Expect the home crowd to bring the energy and help their home team to another win.
Bottom line is don’t be fooled by the Saints losing record…For one, the 11 teams that the Saints have lost to this season, have a combined record of 125-77 (.619)…And 8 of the 11 team currently has double-digit wins on the season so far…Also, 7 of the Saints non-conference opponents combined to average 24.9 wins last year…And all 7 played in post-season tournaments last season as well…Furthermore, the Saints also have played the toughest schedule of all MAAC schools this season.
Siena was picked by the coaches to finish 2nd in the conference this season…While some predicted them to finish 1st…Rider has lost 4 of their last 7 games and has being struggling a little on offense as they rank 191st in scoring offense, 246th in FG% and 330th in long range shooting.
Tonight, at home, Siena should get their revenge from that first lost at Rider which they let slip away…The Saints are one of the favorites to win the conference…and after a slow start have been picking up some momentum to start an extended run…This is an experienced team, who plays solid at home and who will definitely be very motivated and focused to extend their winning streak to 4 games tonight….I am laying the points with the Saints……….GO SIENA!
Side Note: Rider is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS loss.
Side Note: This will be Riders their 3rd game in 5 days, and second on the road.