Valparaiso vs. Iona - 11/15/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Iona Gaels (0-0) vs. Valparaiso Crusaders (1-0)
NCAA Basketball: Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm (Athletics-Recreation Center)
The Line: Valparaiso -7 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN 3
The Iona Gaels will travel to the Athletics-Recreation Center to take on the Valparaiso Crusaders in College Basketball action this Sunday afternoon.
The Iona Gaels had an impressive 2014-15 season finishing the year with a 26-9 (17-3 MAAC) record however, couldn’t make it to the big dance after falling to the Manhattan Jaspers in the MACC Championship. The Gaels were able to make it to the NIT but lost in the first round against the Rhode Island Rams. Iona has one of the strongest offensives in the country last season averaging 79.5 ppg (ranked 5th) however, struggled defensively allowing their opponents to average 73.3 ppg (ranked 316th). Iona and head coach Tim Cluess lost the 2014-15 MACC player of the year in David Laury (19.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.8 apg) however, still has A.J. English (20.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.1 apg) who is the MACC favorite this season to bring home the player of the year award. Iona also has Schadrac Casimir (14.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg) who had a monster season as a freshman and will be looking to help replace the production lost by Laury’s departure. Supporting English and Casimir will also be Isaiah Williams (13.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Kelvin Amayo (7.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.7 apg). Although the Gaels no longer have David Laury, Iona is still loaded with talent and should be the favorite to win the MAAC this season.
USA TODAY Sports
The Valparaiso Crusaders kicked off their season with a win (1-0; 0-0 Horizon) after defeating the IPFW Mastodons 78-64 this past Friday. IPFW hung around with the Horizon favorites as they found themselves tied with the Crusaders 40-40 with 15:27 left however, Valparaiso went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes and controlled the game the rest of the way. Leading the way for the Crusaders was pre-season All-Horizon First Team member Alec Peters who scored 24 points on 7 of 12 shooting wile pulling down 7 rebounds. Valparaiso got solid contributions from starters Keith Carter (10 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Tevonn Walker (8 points, 1 steal). The Crusaders also got a great game off the bench from David Skara who had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Valparaiso was one of the best defensives in the country last season holding opponents to an average of 59.4 ppg (ranked 17th) and with the majority of their team returning this season, Valparaiso is the favorite to win the Horizon League once again and possibility do a little damage in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gaels are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 Sunday games however just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Crusaders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall while the Under is 4-1 in the Crusaders last 5 home games.
This should be a fun game to watch on Sunday afternoon as the high-powered Iona offensive will try keep the tempo up against a very good Valparaiso defense. Iona certainly has the offensive weapons to make this game however, I’m interested to see how live with be for A.J. English without David Laury. I don’t see Iona’s defense being any better this season and as Valparaiso already has a game under their belt, I like them to pull away in the 2nd half in this one and cover this spread. Take Valparaiso to cover.