Hofstra (17-8 SU, 15-9 ATS, 10-2 CAA) travels to Boston to take on Northeastern (8-14 SU, 9-13 ATS, 4-7 CAA) in a CAA battle on Wednesday night at 6pmET.
Last season, these teams played twice with Hofstra winning both but covering just once. In fact, the Huskies have covered three of the last four meetings.
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Heading for the topHofstra is now tied for first in the CAA with Charleston at 10-2. They own the tiebreaker over the Cougars, but in a one-bid league, it's all about winning the tournament. But you also have to avoid playing in the first couple of rounds by getting a top-four bid. The Pride are in a great position to do so after winning five straight games over UNCW, Elon, Charleston, Towson and Stony Brook on Saturday (79-58). They also have a very winnable schedule at the end with no Towson, UNCW or Charleston on their schedule in their last six games.
On Saturday, they dominated Stony Brook by 21 at home, giving 21.5. They were up by 12 at the half, showing no ill effects of a letdown after edging Towson by four on Thursday night in one of the best-played CAA games of the season. Guard Tyler Thomas, a Sacred Heart transfer, was sensational with 29 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-17 shooting. To make the win more impressive, Hofstra won without star guard Aaron Estrada, who was out with food poisoning.
“I thought it was a total team effort today,” head coach Speedy Claxton said on NYSportstoday.com. “Warren and German were great off the bench. J.C. (sophomore point guard Jaquan Carlos) was our floor general… Bryce was really good and Tyler Thomas, he just kept us in the game all game long. He put us on his back from start to finish, and we kind of rode him. We needed that because we were without Aaron. Everybody stepped up.
“We weren’t really looking at any one guy to take the place of Estrada. We knew that it was going to take a total team effort, which it did. I’m proud of every single guy that played today.”
Hofstra owns the most efficient offense in the CAA, averaging 48% (1st) from the floor and they are allowing just 42.1% (2nd) from the field. They also rank second in the league in three-point shooting (36.9%) and third in three-point defense (32.1%). They have issues on the boards, ranking 11th in rebounding margin (-3.80) and 13th (last) in offensive rebounds per game with 7.16.
Estrada leads the team and the league with 21.6 points per game, adding 4.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals on 51.2% shooting (38.5% 3pt). Thomas, who won CAA Player of the Week, adds 15.6 points on 50% shooting (42.1% 3pt).
Defensive struggles continueNortheastern has allowed 78.5 points per game over their last four games. They've lost all four including a 74-73 defeat to Elon on Saturday. In the loss to the Phoenix, Chris Doherty led the way with 22 points and five assists on 8-of-11 shooting, while Jahmyl Telfort added 20 points and five boards. Coleman Stucke contributed 16 points on 4-of-10 from long range. Northeastern shot a sizzling 51% from the field and 39% (9-of-23) from long range. The defense gave up 50% shooting, but just 6-of-25 (24%) from long range. Northeastern came back from a 14-point deficit to lead by four with 36 seconds left, but Elon scored the game's last five points to win by one.
Three for you, Glen McClintock.@goNUmbasketball by four with 93 seconds remaining.#CAAHoops on @NESN, @FloHoops:— CAA Basketball (@CAABasketball) February 4, 2023
📺 https://t.co/wNpIZzBZpS pic.twitter.com/FVfxzieFU5
The Huskies struggle in several key categories including free throws (66.4%), field goal percentage (42.8%), field goal defense (44.1%) and three-point defense (34.4%). They do shoot the ball well from three-point range, ranking fourth in the CAA (34.6%). They also rank third in the league in rebounding margin (+3.50) and second in blocked shots (4.18).
Telfort leads the team in scoring with 16.1 points per game along with 4.6 rebounds on 47.7% shooting (34.4% 3pt).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Nobody is playing better than Hofstra right now in the CAA. It's tough enough to defend Estrada, but now you have to match up on Thomas. Last season, Hofstra went to Boston and crushed the Huskies by 22 points. Other than losing to Towson by 19, the Pride have covered on the road, beating Eon by 17, then No. 18 Charleston by four, William & Mary by 13 and Hampton by 16. The Huskies lost at home to Charleston by 26 and Drexel by 21. They rebound, but turn the ball over too much and will struggle to defend Hofstra's guards.
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Full-Game Total Pick
Hofstra wants to run more than just about anybody else in the CAA aside from Charleston. They rank 177th in Adjusted Tempo according to KenPom, while Northeastern ranks 164th. The Huskies have gone over in five straight and eight of their last nine games. Hofstra has gone over in four straight and five of their last seven. They've averaged 80.5 points over their last four games.