Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST.
Navy +135 over BRYANT
7:30 PM EST. If you don’t see this game being offered in the NCAA section, you will find it in the “added games” section at some joints and frankly, Bryant should not be favored here. For one, Bryant is in the NEC, the worst conference in America and it’s not like they were projected to be a champion. The early projections were that a seventh place finish would be attainable in a conference with 11 teams. Thus far the Bulldogs of Bryant have a 4-4 record and that does not look bad on paper until you realize that they have played the 323rd ranked strength of schedule in the country. Bryant’s four wins came against Cornell by one point, Saint Peters, Lyndon State College and Niagara. It’s also worth noting that Bryant has gone from the slowest team (per KenPom's adjusted tempo) in America last year into overdrive this year due to a recent change at the coaching position.
A longtime assistant in the northeast region, Jared Grasso now sits at the top of the food chain at Bryant after studying under MAAC legend Tim Cluess at Iona for 9 years. Sitting next to Tim Cluess for nearly a decade will brainwash anyone into thinking there’s only two acceptable speeds: fast and faster. Last season, Grasso didn’t take the training wheels off but this year he has but we’re still not buying. A new system requires time and so it’s going to take more than a handful of games against weak competition to work out the kinks. Bryant does not have the talent to make a quick adjustment to a run and gun style of play. Grasso’s goal is to get them ready for conference play because that’s all that matters in these one-bid conferences.
Navy resides in the Patriot League and although it, too, is a one-bid conference, it’s still the superior one here. Navy is 4-3 and its strength of schedule is 79 spots better than Bryant’s. That’s a massive difference. Navy’s three losses came against Lipscomb, George Mason and Liberty while its win came against East Carolina, Cornell and Brown. Former Penn State boss Ed DeChellis is still in command of the fleet at Navy. The last guy to get the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Tournament (in 2011), DeChellis has brought his grinding offense and mix of zone defenses to Annapolis, and while we wouldn’t say he’s “thrived,” he’s built the Midshipmen into a solid Patriot team year after year. Navy should very simply not be an underdog to this team and we’re going to try and take advantage.
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Navy +135 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.70)