Canisius vs Marist Preview and Prediction
Canisius vs Marist Preview
Finally, MAAC conference play is here and it could not come soon enough for the Canisius Golden Griffins (3-8). The Griffs were picked to finish second in the MAAC preseason poll after finishing last year as the co-regular season champions. But a 3-8 mark in non-conference play has the fan base scratching their heads at a team that was supposed to be highly competitive.
A daunting non-conference slate has something to do with their poor mark, but watching every game this Canisius team has played this season, I can visibly see a team that is not very good. But who in the MAAC is?
Marist (5-7) was picked to finish sixth in the MAAC preseason poll and their non-conference slate has gone as expected. Some wins followed by losses–they are currently on a two-game slide and have lost three of their last four games. Their last game, a 65-56 loss to Hartford was especially painful, the team had a five-point lead in the second half but could not sustain their momentum eventually losing the lead for good with about seven minutes left in the game.
Canisius is coming off a rivalry game against No.21 Buffalo. Despite starting strong, even owning a double-digit lead in the first half, the Bulls were just too strong in all phases and the Griffs fell 87-72.
3 reasons why Marist will win…
1. Win the rebounding battle
Want an easy way to beat Canisius? Beat them on the boards. The Griffs have out-rebounded their opponents four times this year–three of them came in victories, the fourth one is an anomaly. In the Griffs eight losses, they were out-rebounded in seven of them. Marist is like Canisius—they struggle on the glass–whoever wins this battle will likely win the game.
2. Brian Parker
Parker is the leader of this Marist team. The senior is a four-year starter and despite having a down season by his standards, he can still take on the offensive load and lead the Red Foxes to victory. So far this season he is averaging 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. His shooting percentage numbers are down from a season ago–but just like Canisius’ Isaiah Reese’s struggles, he can find his stroke at anytime and get hot.
3. Home court
It’s hard to say the Marist home court advantage will make that much of an impact, but the Foxes are a better team at home. The team is 3-1 at home this season and has an average winning margin of 13 points in those contests.
3 reasons why Canisius will win…
1. Find an offensive identity
Maybe they don’t have one, but the Griffs need to show some type of offensive play style. Too often this season we have seen zero ball movement inside and a bunch of lazy hand-off passes outside the three-point arc. Whether it’s Reggie Witherspoon, the players on the court, or the lack of an inside presence the Griffs need to do something different offensively.
2. Molson or Reese
One of the two will need to step up. Reese’s struggles are more well-documented, but Takal Molson deserves some publicity in that department as well. Against UB, Molson was 4-for-14 shooting and 0-for-7 behind the arc. Reese wasn’t much better, 5-for-14 from the floor and 2-for-8 from three-point land. When your best players are shooting that badly it’s difficult to win.
3. Turnover battle
Despite their poor record and poor defensive efforts most nights, the Griffs can steal the ball with the best of them. They are 84th in the nation with 7.2 steals per game (Marist is 178th) and can make an impact in the MAAC with those numbers. The Foxes best player, Brian Parker, turns the ball over nearly four times per game and has a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio. If the Griffs don’t know this shame on them.
The line for this game is not out yet, but I expect Canisius to be favored or close to a pick’em. In the first game of conference play we can throw non-conference records out the window–it’s a new season.
The MAAC is down drastically this year and despite their bad play, Canisius has to be considered one of the favorites in the conference.
Canisius 81 Marist 68