Niagara vs Fairfield Preview and Prediction
Niagara vs Fairfield Preview
Niagara entered league play as the only MAAC team with a winning record and finished its non-conference regular season schedule with a 7-6 record for the second straight season. That schedule was certainly weaker than most MAAC schools, but the Purps had some solid wins on their resume. They concluded their non-conference schedule going 5-2 in December. The Purple Eagles had a three-game win streak from December 3-16 with wins at Pitt, and at home versus New Hampshire and Cornell. NU also defeated Army and Norfolk State.
Niagara lost their MAAC opener to Manhattan, 80-70. The loss was a tough one to handle as NU had a 14-point lead in the second half only to watch it evaporate quickly.
For Fairfield, the team is back home after dropping their first two conference games on the road to Rider and Iona respectively. Both games came down to the wire but the Stags could not do enough late to close out either game. A one-point loss to Rider and a seven-point loss to Iona has them in the cellar of the MAAC looking up.
Niagara and Fairfield split last season’s two regular season meetings with each team protecting home court. The rubber match was played in the MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals where the Stags prevailed, 90-77. Last season, Niagara led the MAAC in road wins with 10, including six in league play. They will need that kind of road luck again this season if they are going to knock off Fairfield at home.
If you peruse the MAAC statistical leaders, you will see several categories have a Stag and a Purple Eagle in the top three. Marvin Prochet ranks second in rebounding with 8.9 per game, while Jonathan Kasibabu is third with 7.3 per contest. Landon Taliaferro is the conference leader with 51 three pointers made, ahead of second-place holder Prochet‘s 33 long-range jumpers. Dominic Robb leads the MAAC with his .545 field goal percentage with Kasibabu holding third place by registering a .538 shooting percentage.
LINE: -3 Fairfield
Dan’s Bet: -3 Fairfield
The Stags have played some of their best basketball in the last two games–it just happens both were losses against two of the better MAAC teams. I’ve watched Niagara a few times this season and have come away impressed each time–but their loss to Manhattan was ugly and I think we’ll see a carry-over effect into this game. The Purple Eagles have struggled going to Fairfield and pulling out the win–no change tonight.
Score Prediction: Fairfield 83 Niagara 78