Opponent: Hofstra (Colonial Athletic Association)
Record: 7-4 (Last game: L vs La Salle, 83-74)
KenPom Ranking: 122
Tip-Off Time: 2:30pm
Location: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
Media Game Coverage: Online: barclayscenter.com ($4.99 pay subscription) /Audio: Red Zone Media
Meeting History: 30th all-time meeting. Hofstra leads all-time series 16-13. These two teams have meet in two of the last three seasons, not playing each other last season. LIU Brooklyn won the last meeting 88-84 back on December 9, 2012.
Projected Starting Lineups:
LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Landon Atterberry (F), Nura Zanna (F)
Hofstra: Juan’ya Green (G), Malik Nichols (G), Brian Bernardi (G), Ameen Tanksley (F), Moussa Kone (F)
The Hofstra Pride are in year two of the Joe Mihalich coaching era and have put the difficulties of the end of the Mo Cassara era behind them.
The Pride were picked to finish third in the CAA coaches poll and have gotten off to a nice start at 7-4 and it could have been nicer if it weren’t for the two-game slide they are currently in after loses to Columbia on the road and La Salle at home.
Hofstra’s best win of the season so far was a 66-65 at home against Stony Brook who LIU lost to by 19 at Madison Square Garden earlier in the season. The Pride nearly defeated South Florida on the road, losing by just a point.
The top two players on the Pride are 6’5″ G/F Ameen Tanksley and 6’2″ G Juan’ya Green. Tanksley is their leading scorer at 18.7 points/game. He is shooting the ball amazing well from both inside and outside the arc. He is making 57% of his two-point shots and 55% of his three-point shots. Plus he is capable of going for a double-double each time out. He is second on the team in rebounding at 5.9 rebounds/game. The Niagara transfer went for a career-high 30 points against Norfolk State in a game where he was a perfect 9 of 9 shooting including 5 for 5 from three. He recently scored 23 against La Salle.
Green is averaging 17.8 points/game while shooting 39% from the field. He leads the team with 6.5 assists/game and 1.5 steals/game and also leads the team in minutes played at over 36 minutes/game. He has an over 3-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio and has had three double-doubles this season with one being in points and rebounds. He has not scored less than 14 points in any game this season and had a season-high 24 points against Wagner. He is also an excellent free throw shooter who gets to the free throw line a ton. He is 82 for 96 from the free throw line this season.
SMU transfer Brian Bernardi is third on the team in scoring at 13.2 points/game. He is also shooting the ball tremendously well this season at 49% from the floor and 49% from three. Scored 26 against Jackson State this season.
Monmouth transfer Dion Nesmith is averaging 10.8 points/game this season although his scoring is down 2.5 points/game from his scoring average last season. Nesmith is shooting 47% from the floor and has missed just one free throw in 17 attempts this season.
Hofstra has big man Moussa Kone back in their lineup. He has played in their last three games after missing the team’s first eight games. Mihalich is bringing back along slowly. Played 18 minutes against La Salle, scoring eight points. Last season, he shot the ball at 56% clip. 6’9″ freshman Rokas Gustys who had started in five of Hofstra’s first six games has been out since November 28th with undisclosed injury. He was leading the team with over seven rebounds/game.
Hofstra wants to run. They have the 30th-fastest tempo in college basketball. They are tops in the CAA is scoring offense at over 80 points/game. They score 1.12 points/possession. They shoot the ball well especially from three and they don’t kill themselves turning the ball over. They also get to the free throw line a bunch. They nearly made as many free throws as their opponents have attempted.
On the defensive end, they are giving up 68.5 points/game and 0.95 points/possession. Opponents are shooting just 42% against them and 33% from three. They force 13.5 turnovers/game and get 7.3 steals/game and 3.5 blocks/game. They will switch back and forth from man-to-man defense to zone.
The spotlight can’t be on no others than freshman Iceland duo of Elvar Friðriksson and Martin Hermannsson. The two have been excelling of late and is no wonder that as they have accustomed to the physical style of Division I basketball here in the States, LIU has started to flourish with a four-game winning streak.
During this four-game winning streak, Friðriksson is averaging 15.8 points/game and is shooting 54% from the field and 40% from three. In his last six games, he is averaging 14.5 points/game. His team-leading scoring average has hit a season-high 11.9 points/game and is shooting 47% from the field.
Hermannsson has risen his season scoring average to 9.7 points/game which is a also a season-high. In his last six games, he is averaging 12.8 points/game and has made 45% of his shots.
Both players have been logging a tons of minutes of late. Hermannsson has played 32 minutes/game over the last six games while Friðriksson has played an exhausting 37.4 minutes/game over his last five games. Both logged over 40 minutes in LIU’s win against New Hampshire.
LIU’s Keys to the Game:
– Stay out of foul trouble: Hofstra wants to play fast and get draws fouls from LIU. LIU wants to do the same to Hofstra. The team that runs effectively and stays away from fouls and giving up free throws, will likely win the game.
– Balance scoring: LIU has had pretty much balance scoring all season long. Different guys have stepped up to have big games each time out. LIU has six players scoring over 7.4 points/game and four players scoring above 9.7 ppg.
– Martin bounce back: Gerrell Martin was held scoreless for the first time in his last 38 games with his zero point/one rebound game against New Hampshire last Monday. Martin was averaging 15 points/game in his prior four games before being held scoreless. LIU will need to bring his A-game on both ends if they’re to get this win.
LIU Injury Report:
– Glenn Feidanga has missed LIU’s last two games due to his reoccurring foot injury. He’ll be once again a game-time decision. Feidanga has now missed six of LIU’s ten games this season.
– Jonathan Tshibuy is out until January (knee).
KenPom Game Prediction: Hofstra, 78-71. LIU win probability: 24%.
Northeast Conference play begins as LIU Brooklyn starts it off with a three-game home stand beginning with Dyami Starks and Bryant on Saturday, January 3rd at 4:30pm at the Steinberg Wellness Center. It was be the second half of men’s/women’s basketball doubleheader as the LIU women’s team take on Bryant at 2pm. All NEC teams will play four conference games in a span of eight days during the opening week of conference play.