Canisius at Rider Picks and College Basketball Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/25/2013
Last week, in my Friday NCAA basketball free picks story, I looked at Stony Brook and Vermont, contenders in the America East, which certainly will be a conference that will send only one team to the NCAA Tournament. That also will be the case for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and a key matchup for MAAC Tournament seeding is Friday night in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, when Rider hosts Canisius.
The Rider Broncs – yes, it’s Broncs, not Broncos – have made three NCAA Tournaments in school history but not since 1994 and have never won a game in the Big Dance. There actually is a current Rider player in the NBA, and he’s a pretty solid one: Kings center Jason Thompson was taken No. 12 overall in the 2008 draft. Rider hasn’t reached the MAAC Tournament final since Thompson’s senior season.
Canisius has made four NCAA Tournament appearances in school history but not since 1996. The school used to be a bit of a power in the mid-1950s, winning the third-place game in 1957 and getting to the regional final the previous two seasons. The Golden Griffiths were wretched last year, finishing 5-25 overall and 1-17 in the MAAC. They haven’t reached the final of the conference tournament since 2001.
Canisius at Rider Betting Story Lines
Canisius (12-7, 5-3 MAAC) enters on a two-game winning streak, albeit the wins were against two of the MAAC’s worst teams, Manhattan and Siena. The Golden Griffiths have been off since beating Siena 76-44 last Saturday behind 18 points from Isaac Sosa. It was the school’s largest margin of victory in a MAAC game since Feb. 8, 1997. Canisius improved to 8-1 at home and got a little payback for a 57-54 loss at Siena on Jan. 11. The Griffs' 5-3 league start is the team's best conference record through eight games since the 1997-98 season.
The star for Canisius is junior guard Billy Baron. He had just seven points against Siena, only his third game all season in single digits. But he leads the team in scoring (16.4) and assists (5.7) and is third in rebounding (4.6). Sosa, No. 3 on the team in scoring (12.7), leads Canisius in three-pointers with 59 and in three-point percentage at 43.4, both No. 2 in the conference. The Golden Griffiths average 70.0 points in conference games and allow 65.6.
Rider (11-9, 6-2) has had quite the turnaround as the Broncs enter on a five-game winning streak following a five-game skid. Rider last took the floor Sunday, beating Iona, 67-62. The Gaels looked like arguably the best team in the conference heading into that game and had won six straight. They also were the third-highest scoring team in the nation, but they were held to a season-low in points.
Tommy Pereira scored 14 points to lead Rider, and he only started because Nurideen Lindsey missed a second straight game with a concussion suffered in practice. Lindsey was a former top national recruit who played well in nine games for St. John's last season. But he transferred to be closer to his Philadelphia-area family, and the NCAA approved his hardship waiver so he could play at the start of this season instead of December. Lindsey is averaging 10.2 points, and he has been cleared to return Friday. First-year coach Kevin Baggett said he’s leaning toward Pereira getting his third consecutive start because Pereira is averaging 15.5 points in his two starts. Austin Myles and Daniel Stewart are the Broncs’ two best players as they lead the team in scoring and rebounding, respectively. Rider is scoring 64.6 points per game in conference play but allowing only 59.8.
Canisius at Rider College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Rider is listed as a one-point favorite with the total off the board by our deadline for this article. Canisius is 7-7 ATS (4-4 on road) and 2-5 “over/under”. Rider is 11-7 ATS (3-3 at home) and 2-6 O/U (0-5 at home).
Canisius is 4-0 ATS in its past four games after allowing less than 50 points in its previous game. The Griffs are 1-5 ATS in their past six MAAC games. Rider is 4-0 ATS in its past four after a win and 7-0 ATS in its past seven games overall. The under is 5-1 in Canisius’ past six conference games. The under is 7-1 in Rider’s past seven after a win. Canisius is 1-4 ATS in its past five at Rider. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings there.
Canisius at Rider Picks and Betting Predictions
This is the first meeting of the season between the schools – they play in Buffalo to close the regular season. Rider blew out Canisius by 24 at home last January, although clearly the Golden Griffiths are much improved. Since joining the MAAC, Rider is 27-7 against Canisius, which includes a 3-1 mark in postseason play. Canisius is just 1-14 all-time at Rider, with the victory coming two seasons ago.
It should come down to three-point shooting. Canisius is No. 19 nationally and leads the MAAC in three-point field goal percentage (37.0), while Rider is No. 8 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.7).
Lindsey’s return is the clincher for me. Take Rider and the under.
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