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Sacred Heart vs Bryant
Bryant -8.5, Total = 153.5

Back to one of my favorite NCAABB conferences – the NEC. And its conference tournament time!

With that said, this year is obviously different – because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NEC has trimmed the number of participants in this year’s tournament, going from eight to four. The second-seeded Bryant University men’s basketball team welcomes third-seeded my alma matta Sacred Heart to the Chace Athletic Center on Saturday.

Ironically enough, this will be the first matchup between these two NEC foes. Bryant’s last two regular season games were cancelled, which forced the Bulldogs into the 2nd seed rather than being the NEC regular season champion. Bryant enters this matchup winners of 4 straight and hold a 14-5 overall record and 10-4 in the NEC, while Sacred Heart is 9-8 overall and only played one out of conference game. While Sacred Heart didn’t string together a winning streak more than 2 games all year, Bryant posted their best regular-season in DI program history.

Bryant a team who LOVES to push the pace – ranks 18th overall in D1 in average possession length. They are pretty efficient offensively as well, they average 84.6 points per game and have scored at least 74 points in 16 of their 19 regular season matchups. As for SHU, they are a good free throw shooting team, otherwise they aren’t very good on the offensive end and rank in the bottom 25% in effective field goal percentage.

As for the defensive end, Sacred Heart’s hasn’t showed up this year. They had allowed opponents to score at least 80 points in three straight games before their last game vs Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart allows an adjusted 111.7 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 337th nationally, out of 357 Division 1 teams. They are decent at defending the three, but this Bryant team will be the best 3-point shooting team they’ve faced all year – ranking 1st in the NEC and 20th in all of college basketball, converting at almost 40% from deep. Bryant’s defense is 3rd best in the NEC and continued to get better and better as the season went on.

I really like this Bryant team but their active roster in this game is still up in question. One thing we do know is they will push the pace, Bryant coach Jared Grasso stated on Thursday, “I’m not 100% sure what my roster is going to look like, but we’re going to do what we do, we’re going to play really fast. This is really about being us.” With all the questions that Sacred Heart has on the defensive end and Bryant being so impressive offensively, especially in the NEC, I’m going to target a TTO for the Bulldogs. I think it’s best to wait and see Bryant’s active roster in this game before the placing the bet. If 1 or 2 key guys are ruled out, the team total number will just be lower.

Joey’s Best Bet
Bryant TTO good up to 80 (-110)

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