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Fairfield at Manhattan

2/15/10

There's at least one team in Connecticut with some post season hopes this year, and it's not the UCONN Huskies. It's the Fairfield Stags. Unfortunately, for Fairfield, at 17-8 on the year and 10-5 in conference, this years MAAC Conference Tournament is at Siena. Siena sits at 15-1 in conference and 22-5 overall this season, and owns the longest winning streak in the nation at 15. They have also won 34 straight at home. That streak was almost snapped by, you guessed it, Fairfield, who dropped a 69-67 decision at Siena last week.

Now Fairfield heads to Manhattan to play their 3rd straight road game in a matchup they should win. They are without a doubt the better team here and at -1 at most sportsbooks, from a betting standpoint, we're just asked to pick the straight up winner here.

It won't be easy though. For starters, Manhattan may be just 4-11 in conference and 9-16 overall, but they just knocked off 2nd place Iona on the road, 66-60 on Friday night. If that's not enough, Fairfield finds itself in a familiar late season situation. Playing shorthanded.

Here's another kicker. This is a quote from a Fairfield forward -  “We started the week by looking at our ‘goal’ board, and we saw that a lot of our losses, we’ve given up over 80 points. We’ve been strong, but we haven’t been stopping anybody, so we practiced it all week and got better and better.”

Manhattan scored 80 points or more just once this season. Guess who that was against? Yep, Fairfield. That was an 88-85 road loss for Manhattan back on January 10th. Nothing is easy in college hoops.

But after re-committing to the defensive side of the ball, Fairfield held St Peters to 46 points and Siena to 69 before giving up 75 to Rider on Friday Night. After Friday Nights performance, expect Fairfield coach Ed Cooley to revisit this defensive commitment and remind them of the narrow 88-85 home win over Manhattan a few weeks ago.

Manhattan is a team averaging in the 60's and that's where Fairfield needs to keep this score in order to have their best chance for success tonight. We think that's what will take place.

Fairfield has played consistent ball all season long. When you break down how they are playing over their last 5 games you'll notice that they are playing at a level consistent with their year to date power ratings. You can use any of the power ratings available on the net, the most popular being the Sagarin ratings, to calculate this number. Meanwhile, Manhattan is playing at a level of at least 4 points below their season to date rating and that includes their big win at Iona.

Manhattan is still a team that has lost 8 of their last 10 games, 11 of their last 14 and 13 of their last 17. They haven't strung together 2 wins in a row since November. This is not exactly a team where the odds would favor them winning two games in a row against the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the MAAC. With the line favoring Fairfield at -1, all you're asking for from Fairfield is a straight up win. You have to like your chances here with the better team.

Our numbers don't show a wide margin, but it should be enough. We have it Fairfield 65-61

 

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