Well, maybe the Eastern Michigan Eagles need a bit of a breather after losing their last five games against Division I opposition. As they move closer to the holiday, they may get their break in more ways than one as they face the Division II Siena Heights Saints, who, truth be told, have faced better teams then EMU.
This contest will take place on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI, and will get national exposure through ESPN Plus.
TV: ESPN Plus, 2 PM ET. LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line
ABOUT SIENA HEIGHTS: They will come into this game with a record of 8-6, with two of their losses coming against Division I teams. On November 25, they were beaten 103-75 by Central Michigan, which shot 52% in the game. The Saints had only seven assists and turned the ball over 24 times. On Thursday night, Siena Heights took a 106-45 whipping at the hands of Purdue Fort Wayne. They shot poorly (29%), forced only three turnovers and allowed PFW to hit 20 triples. So results haven't been favorable when moving up in class. The leading scorer on this team is junior forward Keith Jordan, averaging 15.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. Demarco Dickerson averages 13.1 points, and forward Jaquantay Rouser sets the pace on the boards with 7.7 per game. The Saints have a negative assist-turnover ratio (13 to 16.4) but they also have a +4.5 rebounding margin. Jordan was named the player of the week in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) two weeks ago. The Saints average 78.4 points per game on 45.7% shooting (36.9% from three-point range) while holding the opposition to 43% and 33%, respectively. Siena Heights coach Joe Pechota is in his sixth year at the school, following a tenure at Brescia University, an NAIA Division II school in Kentucky. He has a Masters degree in sports administration from Central Michigan.
ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN: For a team that was expected to be one of the better squads in the Mid-American Conference, Eastern Michigan has been a disappointment. They are 5-5 straight-up (1-7 ATS), but three of those five victories have come against teams that are not part of Division I. They were competitive last time out against UC Irvine, but came up on the short end of a 52-48 score, in which they surrendered no less than 21 offensive rebounds. Whether they can correct their deficiencies is anyone's guess. But there is only one team in the nation that is worse from the free-throw line than the Eagles' 54.7%. They also hardly ever use the three-pointer as a weapon to stretch out offenses, as it accounts for only 31.6% of their total field-goal attempts. And yes, 63.5% of their total points come inside the arc. For a team that also does a pretty good job in terms of offensive rebounding (31st in the nation), they average less than 12% of their points from the charity stripe, and that is lower than every team in the nation except one. There is one guy who was outstanding from the line, and that is Elijah Minnie, the 6-9 senior, but he has taken only 14 attempts (making thirteen). One of the other big men, Boubacar Toure, is a horrid 48.6%. Kevin McAdoo, the skinny sophomore guard, would be considered a three-point threat, we suppose (40.7%).
1. Siena Heights does not have anyone on its roster taller the 6-6. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan is in the top 40 in the nation in average height, with at least three players 6-9 or taller in the rotation, with a couple of others available on the bench.
2. Eastern Michigan likes to play the game slow; they are ranked 341st of the 353 Division I teams in Adjusted Tempo.
3. The Siena Heights Saints are not to be confused with the Siena Saints, a Division I team that competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
PREDICTION: Eastern Michigan 100, Siena Heights 71 Bet Now
See all the NCAAB basketball Predictions