The Merrimack Warriors (18-10, 12-3 NEC) will try to extend a six-game home winning streak when they square off against the Sacred Heart Pioneers (16-11, 9-5 NEC) at Hammel Court. Action begins at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, February 21, 2020, and it can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Sacred Heart Pioneers vs. Merrimack Warriors Free Preview
The Pioneers were victorious over the LIU Sharks in their last game, 80-72. E.J. Anosike was the top scorer from either team with 26 points on 8-for-17 shooting. Sacred Heart dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had an absurd offensive rebounding percentage of 41.7 (above their season average of 34.1) and a free throw rate of 0.246 (below their season average of 0.251). For those same stats, LIU recorded marks of 15.4 and 0.108, respectively.
In the Warriors’ last outing, they were beaten by the Bryant Bulldogs, 61-52. With 11 points, five assists and five steals, Merrimack’s Juvaris Hayes had a solid outing. Bryant had a free throw rate of 0.450 (above their season average of 0.196). Merrimack, on the other hand, forced the Bulldogs into a turnover percentage of 27.8 (above their season average of 17.6).
Merrimack could have trouble getting to the foul line in this contest. The Warriors rank 338th in the nation with a free throw attempt (FTA) rate of 0.171, while Sacred Heart ranks 19th in FTA rate allowed (0.160). Ball protection could be troublesome for the Pioneers. They rank 259th at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 20.2 percent), while the Warriors force the fourth-most turnovers in the country (opponents’ turnover percentage of 26.9 percent).
These two schools have already met once this season. The Warriors won 65-57. The Warriors’ turnover percentage was their largest strength over the Pioneers. Merrimack had a rate of 12.2, while Sacred Heart posted a mark of 23.4. Hayes was a top performer in the victory, with 17 points, eight steals and seven rebounds.
Sacred Heart Pioneers vs. Merrimack Warriors Odds Prediction
Free College Basketball Pick: SU Winner – Merrimack, ATS Winner – Merrimack, O/U – Under
The Warriors rank 138th in assists allowed per game (12.7) while the Pioneers rank 227th (14.6).
Sacred Heart blocks 4.0 opponent shots per game, which is ranked 57th in the NCAA. Merrimack ranks 121st in blocks allowed per game (3.5).
Sacred Heart ranks 10th in rebounds per game (40.6) while Merrimack ranks 289th (29.0).
The Warriors rank fourth in steals per game (10.0) while the Pioneers rank 214th (5.1).
Merrimack ranks sixth in three pointers allowed per game (15.7) while Sacred Heart ranks 126th (21.1).
The Warriors’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 2.2, down from 2.6 for the season.
During their last five games, the Pioneers have scored an average of 72.6 points per game (1.4 below their season average) and allowed an average of 68.8 points per game (0.8 below their season average).