CBB: American vs Siena Pick and Preview
American vs Siena Preview
Tuesday’s matchup was supposed to feature the preseason player of the year from both the MAAC and Patriot League.
That’s no longer the case. While Jalen Pickett — last season’s MAAC Rookie of the Year and a first-team all-conference pick — will be in Siena’s lineup, American will be without senior Sa’eed Nelson.
Sa’eed Nelson will not participate in AU’s first game at Siena on Tuesday due to NCAA rules regarding summer league participation. He will suit up for Friday’s home opener vs. William & Mary.
— American U. Men’s Basketball (@AU_MBasketball) November 2, 2019
American was picked third in the Patriot League Preseason Coaches Poll. The Eagles finished the 2018-19 season tied for fourth place and hosted their first PL Tournament Quarterfinals since 2014.
Without Nelson in the lineup, Mark Gasperini will be tasked with carrying the load. Gasperini averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season while scoring in double-figures 16 times. The 6’10 senior will have a size advantage, but also an experience advantage.
Several Saints are set to make their Siena debuts Tuesday night, including their head coach Carmen Maciariello.
Maciariello declined to reveal his starting five in the days ahead of Tuesday’s matchup, but it’s certain that four players — Burns, Camper, Carey and Pickett — will log heavy minutes for the Saints and are likely to start.
The player to watch though, is Jalen Pickett. The sophomore tested NBA Draft waters in the offseason, but decided to return to school. He averaged 15.8 points, 6.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as a true freshman–look for him to improve upon those numbers this season.
The first game of the season is always difficult to predict, but with Sa’eed Nelson not playing for American that is a big deal. Look for Siena to play at a slower pace, wearing down the Eagles in the second half and cruising to a victory.
LINE: Siena -2
Score: Siena 66 American 57
Dan’s Bet: Siena -2
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