Long Island is the class of the Northeast Conference under first-year head coach Derek Kellogg, who inherited a roster consisting of eight returning starters. Kellogg’s preference to play an uptempo style fits perfectly with three of the Blackbirds’ returnees – Jashaun Agosto, Joel Hernandez and Raiquan Clark.
Agosto is Long Island’s floor general, averaging 13.7 points per game this season. Hernandez, a fifth-year senior who missed last season after sustaining a broken wrist in the season-opener, is currently second on the team in both points (18.0) and rebounds per game (7.0).
Clark anchors the frontcourt and leads the team in scoring (24.0 points per game). The 6-6 forward was seventeenth nationally in offensive rebounding rate last season, grabbing 15.6 percent of the Blackbirds’ misses. “He’s a consummate winner,” Kellogg said of Clark over the summer.
Despite being loaded with experience, Kellogg brought in two graduate transfers in Jamall Robinson and Zach Coleman. Coleman arrived from Massachusetts and is averaging 10.7 points per game on 48.1% shooting from the field.
The 6-7 forward also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 9.0 boards per game. Robinson arrived from Hofstra and provides experience and leadership in the backcourt.
Long Island will continue to create points in transition after forcing turnovers on 19.5 percent of its opponent’s possessions last season. Meanwhile, I have Miami Ohio pegged for the basement in the MAC East Division this season following a tumultuous offseason.
The Redhawks fired their head coach at the end of the 2016-17 season, which caused MAC Freshman of the Year Michael Weathers (16.7 ppg) and his twin brother Marcus (9.7 ppg) to transfer from Oxford. With their departures, Miami Ohio was left with six scholarship players.
While I believe new head coach Jack Owens will have success with the Redhawks, it will take several years to create the atmosphere he demands. Finally, Long Island is 11-4 ATS in its last fifteen games following a win, whereas the Redhawks are 0-8 ATS in their last eight neutral site contests.
Grab the points with LIU as one of Oskeim Sports’ NCAA Basketball Picks for Friday, November 17, 2017.
NCAA Basketball Picks for Friday:
- Long Island Brooklyn (+3) (-120)
- Appalachian State (+6)
- Pepperdine (pk) (-110)
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