Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#871 Manhattan 132.5 vs.
#872 Iona -3.5
Friday, February 14, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Manhattan Jaspers will head on the road to the Hynes Athletics Center in New Rochelle, New York on Friday evening for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference battle versus the Iona Gaels.

The Gaels have bounced back from a three-game slide to win their last two games. Iona still has some work to do to get back to the .500-mark after winning just five of its first 12 conference games. Meanwhile, the Jaspers have been one of the league’s biggest surprises. Manhattan has erased a four-game slide by winning three in a row to come in tied for third place in the league standings with a 7-5 MAAC record. Can Manhattan stay hot on the road against the surging Gaels on Friday night?

Jaspers escape with victory vs. Quinnipiac

The Jaspers pushed their current winning streak to three games on Sunday by escaping with a 65-63 victory on the road against Quinnipiac. Pauly Paulicap scored a team-high 15 points while Warren Williams chipped in 14 points for Manhattan, which shot just 5-for-19 from deep and 12-for-22 from the free-throw line on the night. Tykei Green erased a rough shooting night by converting a layup with 1 second left to help the Jaspers keep their winning streak alive. Prior to the game-winner, Green was just 1-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range.

Steve Masiello’s squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 220 in the latest KenPom rankings after improving to 7-5 in MAAC play. Manhattan has struggled on offense, scoring just 93.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (324th in the NCAA) but they’ve increased that mark to 98.0 points per 100 possessions since the start of conference play (8th in the MAAC). The Jaspers have shot just 61.3 percent from the free-throw line (11th in the MAAC) and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc (9th in the MAAC) during league play while turning the ball over on 20.0 percent of their offensive possessions (4th in the MAAC).

Instead, the Jaspers have been able to rely on their defense to get stops and keep them in games. Manhattan has surrendered 98.2 points per 100 possessions (96th in the NCAA) on the year and 93.4 points per 100 possessions versus MAAC opponents (2nd in the MAAC). Manhattan enters Friday’s matchup as the top 2-point defense in the conference at 40.8 percent and it has forced league opponents to turn the ball over 22.6 percent of the time. The only problems? League opponents have managed to shoot a blistering 38.0 percent from long-range (11th in the MAAC) while sporting a 42.2 percent free-throw rate against the Jaspers’ defense (11th in the MAAC) so far this year.

Iona wins second straight conference road game

Iona cruised to its second straight victory on Sunday night, taking down Fairfield on the road 78-54 to close out its road trip with a 2-1 record. Isaiah Ross scored a team-high 23 points and EJ Crawford finished with 22 for the Gaels, who shot 10-for-19 from 3-point range and led by as many as 26 points in the win.

Tim Cluess is in the midst of a down season at Iona. The Gaels have played in either the NIT or the NCAA Tournament every year since 2012 but they have their hands full if they want to get back to the postseason this year. Even after winning two straight, they enter the weekend ranked No. 255 in the latest KenPom rankings. Cluess’ squad has scored 100.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (215th in the NCAA) and 101.7 points per 100 possessions during MAAC play (3rd in the MAAC). The Gaels sport the top effective field goal percentage in the conference at 53.0 percent (1st in the MAAC).

On defense, the Gaels have given up 107.8 points per 100 possessions on the year (286th in the NCAA) and 103.9 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (10th in the MAAC). Iona’s biggest problem comes on the defensive glass, where it has allowed opponents to haul in 31.1 percent of their missed field goal attempts during league play (10th in the MAAC).

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Believe it or not, Manhattan has almost as many road wins (5) as home wins (6) this season. The Jaspers limit the number of possessions by slowing down the pace and playing stifling defense, which has helped them overcome some poor shooting numbers on offense. Manhattan dominated the first meeting between these two teams, winning by 23 points and limiting Iona to just 32.6 percent shooting from the field on the night. The Jaspers’ ability to force turnovers will be the difference in this game. Take Manhattan to cover the number on the road in this MAAC matchup on Friday night.

Prediction: Manhattan Jaspers +3.5

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Neither of these teams plays particularly fast. Manhattan ranks 242nd in the country in adjusted tempo while Iona ranks outside the top-100 in both adjusted tempo and average possession length on offense. The Jaspers also lean heavily towards being a defensive-minded team, which has me leaning towards a low-scoring game in this spot. Manhattan ranks near the bottom of the country and the conference on the offensive end but they have stepped up their efforts defensively. They held Iona to just 49 points in their first meeting back on Feb. 2. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Friday night. 

Prediction: Under 134
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.