Marist vs. Fairfield Pick NCAA Hoops – Jan 16th

I debated long and hard last night on which NCAA game to feature; do we cover Bruce Pearl bringing his young Tigers to the O-Dome to face a really underrated Florida team (the Gators have six losses, all to major conference teams, most tourney-bound by a combined total of 26 points – they are 3-0 in SEC and will make the tourney, write it down). Do we cover the rolling Utah juggernaut, quietly mowing down Pac 12 opponents without mercy? Do I hand out the Gonzaga road tilt against a very tricky Pepperdine team that had “cover but narrowly lose” written all over them?

Nope. I stray off the reservation and make you suffer through Green Bay at Oakland. Yuck. My bad guys. All the numbers screamed Green Bay with ease, but they laid an egg and forced me into watching a dud of a game as well. I owe you one, and let me just tell you in advance, if you are looking for a pick in a watchable game, just come back and visit Saturday because today’s is even further off the landscape of college basketball relevance…but the numbers scream good wagering possibility…

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Toady’s Free Pick:

Marist Red Foxes at Fairfield Stags -7

It’s not every day when you can take a team with only five wins three weeks into conference play and say they are a prohibitive, dominating favorite. But that is exactly the case tonight when the 5-13 Stags host the simply pitiful 1-15 Marist Red Foxes.

Sometimes when a low major limps into conference play with a losing record it is because they offered themselves up on the altar of high major money, barnstorming the country punching themselves in the faces like Tyler Durden in exchange for a guaranteed check. That explained some of Oakland’s preconference misery. It is the exact story for a school like Long Beach.

That’s not the story for Marist.

The Red Foxes would have trouble beating Red Foxx in a game of horse (yes, I am aware the comedic legend is no longer alive). Marist has lost all but one game this season and are a pathetic 4-10 ATS. They have gotten trounced in every conference game, losing by an average of 14 points. They have covered twice in conference play, both times by a single point when they were getting 13 or 13.5. The only game they lost by single digits in their last ten was an odd blip against Elon, a decent low-major club, who was clearly sleepwalking that night. Tonight, they are getting only seven points on the road.

Stats don’t mean a ton when pairing college hoops teams, but once conference play offers a decent sample size, conference play numbers are worth noting. Marist has a -13 point differential in conference play. Fairfield’s are almost even (-0.7). But the biggest factor that tells me Fairfield is running them out of the gym tonight is the shooting percentages. Marist shoots 38.4% from the floor in conference play. That’s amazingly bad, and it is almost an afterthought compared to their 47.2% allowed! The difference between the two is staggering. I don’t have all 350+ teams in front of me, but if that differential isn’t the worst in the country, I’d be surprised. Fairfield isn’t a defensive stalwart, allowing 44.5% shooting (league average is 43.2%) and shooting just under the average at 42.5%, but it’s markedly better than Marist.

Don’t try to watch this game. Seriously. Don’t do it to yourself. My plan is a small play on Fairfield, checking the score before bed and hopefully fattening up the bankroll heading into an AWESOME Saturday of college hoops. Spare your eyes. Watch some NBA action; Hawks vs. Raptors (which I covered on the site), watch Golden State vs. OKC, or Portland vs. San Antonio, even Pistons vs. Pacers and reminisce over the good ole days of fan violence – hell, take someone you like to a movie and catch some Oscar-noms (Selma looks fantastic) anything other than watching Fairfield vs. Marist…

But my pick is the Stags laying seven.

Free Pick: Fairfield Stags -7

Chris Scheeren / Author