The Loyola (Maryland) Greyhounds continue their quest for the Metro Atlantic regular-season title when they hook up with the Saints of Siena Friday night in Baltimore (9 pm ET, ESPN2).
Friday Night in the Metro Atlantic
Loyola will be looking to close to within a game of first
place in the MAAC; Siena will be looking to continue some recent decent play by
pulling an upset; we here on this page, meanwhile, will try to determine which
of these teams will cover the pointspread.
Most online sportsbooks we sampled Friday morning opened
this game with Loyola favored by 12.5 points, the total proffered at 124. And
both those numbers had held steady in the early betting action.
Here's how we assess these two teams.
Loyola (16-8) returned four starters this season from a team
that went 24-9 last year and won the MAAC conference tournament, playing in the
NCAA tournament for the second time in program history. With that returning
talent the Greyhounds were the pre-season favorites to win the MAAC
Loyola has already gone through some ups and downs this
season. The 'Hounds started 7-1, then lost four of six games, then won six of
seven. But Loyola then lost two more in a row, before snapping that short
streak with an 89-87 double-overtime victory at conference-leading Niagara last
The Greyhounds only shot 41 percent from the floor last
Saturday, but committed just eight turnovers in 50 minutes of play. They also
won that game outright as three-point NCAAB betting odds underdogs on the road.
Siena (6-17), meanwhile, returned just two starters this
season from a team that went 14-17 last year, 8-10 in MAC play. The Saints
started 2-2, but then embarked upon an 11-game losing streak, six of those
losses coming by double-digits. Since then, though, Siena has gone 4-4, winning
three close games.
Last time out Monday night the Saints fell at home to
Fairfield 64-54. That game was tied at 41 with 10 minutes to go, but Siena went
cold, and ended up shooting just 37 percent from the field on the night. The
Saints also failed to cover the spread as eight-point home dogs.
So, Loyola sits in second place in the MAAC at 8-4, a game
and a half back of first-place Niagara, while Siena, at 4-8, occupies eighth
On the season Siena is shooting just 39.5 percent from the
field, 33 percent from 3-point land and 67 percent from the free-throw line. At
the other end of the court the Saints are holding opponents to 42 percent FG
shooting, but they're getting out-rebounded by about a board per game.
Loyola is shooting 42 percent from the floor, just 29
percent from long range and 69 percent from the line. The 'Hounds are also
hounding foes into 41 percent FG shooting, and they're out-boarding opponents
by about two per game.
Siena is only 6-13 ATS this season, and just 1-4 ATS when
dogged in double-digits.
Loyola is 10-8 ATS this season, and 2-0 ATS when favored by
With the Saints averaging just 59 PPG this season, Siena
games have averaged 127 total points.
With Loyola holding foes to 63 PPG, 'Hounds games have
averaged 130 points.
Last season Loyola swept three games from the Saints,
winning by seven, 11 and 10 points.
Loyola is a fairly obvious favorite to win this game, and
rightfully so. But Siena has been playing better ball as of late, and stands a
decent chance of keeping this one close.
Free College Basketball
Picks: We'll take the Saints at the +12.5 points offered at 5Dimes for our NCAA Basketball Picks.
Check out our Tournament Bracket Guide~