LIU Brooklyn at Wagner (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
Opening Line: Wagner -8.5
Offensive Efficiency: LIU Brooklyn #140, Wagner #128
Defensive Efficiency: LIU Brooklyn #232, Wagner #49
Rebound Rate: LIU Brooklyn #113, Wagner #47
Percent of Shots are 3s: LIU Brooklyn #125, Wagner #138
Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: LIU Brooklyn #249, Wagner #229
Pace: LIU Brooklyn #51, Wagner #192
Wagner was the best team in the conference during the regular season while the Blackbirds of LIU Brooklyn have won four straight games to get to the title game with a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Wagner has found success utilizing its defense and rebounding while playing at a variety of speeds. The Seahawks have scored as many as 99 points and as few as 64 in wins recently, as they adapt to a team’s speed and uses it to the foe’s disadvantage.
LIU-Brooklyn prefers to go up-tempo with a four-guard lineup that does almost all of the team’s scoring. The team is shaky on the boards as nobody on the roster averages five or more rebounds per game due to the lack of size on the roster.
Free-throw shooting could be the element that makes or breaks this game. LIU-Brooklyn both fouls and draws fouls at one of the highest per game rates in the country.
Wagner has the clear advantage in rebounding and has more depth, which could lead to a big Wagner win if the Seahawks can get to the line on second and third chances.
If the Blackbirds can shoot better from 3-point range to make up for this team being far from solid at not turning the ball over, it will give the Blackbirds a chance to cover and perhaps win outright.
Syracuse vs Wake Forest (7 p.m. ET on ESPN)
Opening Line: Syracuse -4
Offensive Efficiency: Syracuse #210, Wake Forest #138
Defensive Efficiency: Syracuse #28, Wake Forest #244
Rebound Rate: Syracuse #40, Wake Forest #105
Percent of Shots are 3s: Syracuse #282, Wake Forest #243
Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Syracuse #87, Wake Forest #103
Pace: Syracuse #330, Wake Forest #188
Last year both Wake Forest and Syracuse were both squarely on the bubble entering the ACC Tournament. This year the Orange are in the exact same spot while Wake Forest needs an improbable run for the ages to make the field of 68.
Syracuse is getting over 70 percent of its offense from its top three scorers and have the rest of the players on the roster essentially to defend and rebound.
Syracuse slows down games by making a concerted effort to get its big three as many open looks as possible and by playing a 2-3 zone on defense.
Wake Forest has actually been quite respectable on offense against the zone, splitting the season series with Syracuse and scoring 70 points or more in both contests.
Neither team has too many 3-point shooting options and both struggle to make 2-point shots consistently. With Wake Forest struggling to guard the 3 and Syracuse being above average in that aspect, it could give the Orange a clear leg up.
The Demon Deacons have failed to force turnovers all year long. Syracuse has shown to get loose with the ball if it falls into an early deficit, so Wake Forest will be in position to cover and possibly win if its ball movement is superior.
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