Opponent (Conference Affiliation): St. Peter’s Peacocks (MAAC)
Record: 9-21 (3-15 MAAC) last season
Current KenPom Ranking: 295 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 251)
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Meeting History: 35th all-time meeting. St. Peter’s leads all-time series 21-13. Teams met last season at St. Peter’s. SPC defeated LIU 80-67. LIU is 9-7 all-time vs SPC at home.
St. Peter’s Players to Watch:
1. Desi Washington #11 – 6’2″ Guard – R-Jr. – Averaged 14.6 ppg to led SPC in scoring last season.
2. Chris Burke #22 – 6’4″ Guard – Sr. – Averaged 5.5 ppg and led SPC in rebounding at 4.2 rpg last season.
3. Markese Tucker #24 – 6’5″ Forward – Jr. – 5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg in 2012-13
Saint Peter’s and LIU Brooklyn are meeting for the ninth consecutive season but this is the first time they will open a season against one another. The two teams have alternated wins and losses in their last six meetings.
Saint Peter’s were picked to finish ninth in the 11-team MAAC conference by the MAAC coaches. The Peacocks return two starters from the team that finished 9-21 last season in All-MAAC Preseason Second Team guard Desi Washington and Chris Burke. Burke is the lone senior on Saint Peter’s roster. In fact, Saint Peter’s return just five players from last season’s team.
Washington lit up LIU last season for 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting while Burke had 8 points and 8 rebounds off the bench in a Saint Peter’s win.
This year’s Saint Peter’s team will undoubtedly be led by Washington who is going to have score plenty of points for the Peacocks to win most nights. Problem will be who else is going to score points along side him. Burke only averaged 5.5 ppg last season in 16 starts a year ago but he can score as he did have five double-digit scoring games including 18 points vs Iona.
The Peacocks were dead last in the MAAC in points per game (59.6) and offensive points per possession (0.91). Although they struggled offensively, they played solid defense allowing 65.4 ppg which was 4th-best in the MAAC and allowed an even 1.0 ppp to opponents, also 4th-best in the MAAC.
For LIU, they begin their quest for a fourth consecutive NEC championship. LIU was picked to finish fourth in this season’s NEC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Blackbirds return back just one starter in point guard Jason Brickman who was named to the All-NEC Preseason Team. Brickman lead the nation in assists last season with 8.5 apg. After Brickman, LIU has pretty much an all new cast. Four new starters enter the lineup in Troy Joseph and E.J. Reed who return from last season’s team along with Gilbert Parga who is eligible to play this season after transferring from junior college and Landon Atterberry who is a junior college transfer.
These guys along with returnee Gerrell Martin and newcomers Chris Carter, Iverson Fleming, Glenn Feidanga and D.J. Griggs will look to continue the fast-pace, high scoring offense Blackbirds fans have grown to known the last few seasons. LIU led the NEC in scoring (78.7 ppg), points per possession (1.09), and effective field goal percentage (54.0%). If there is a bug-a-boo to LIU’s game, it is on defensive end. The Blackbirds allowed 76.1 ppg and their opponents had a 1.05 ppp average which landed them in the middle of the pack in the NEC.
The Blackbirds will look to push the pace on Saint Peter’s who traditionally like to slow the game to their comfort level. LIU will have depth issues in the front court with basically just four true front court players to start the season without Julian Boyd and Nura Zanna so these guys will need to play smart on both ends of the floor especially E.J. Reed who will be one of the go-to guys this season. Reed and Atterberry especially can’t afford to get into too much foul trouble this season.
If Desi Washington starts hitting shots early for Saint Peter’s, it could be a long afternoon for the Blackbirds. LIU will need to get the ball out of Washington hands as much as possible and try to let someone else beat them. If the Blackbirds can get this game into the high 70s or 80s, they have a tremendous chance of winning this game. LIU can’t play this game in the 60s because that is going to play right into the Peacocks’ hands.
KenPom Score Projection: 70-68, LIU Brooklyn (Win Probability: 62%)
Next up for the Blackbirds:
LIU Brooklyn will go on their first road trip of the season and is not going to be an easy one. LIU heads to Bloomington, Indiana to face last season’s Big Ten regular season champions Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on Tuesday, November 12. Game is scheduled for 6:00 PM.