College Basketball CBI Finals Game #1: Siena Saints at Fresno State Bulldogs

2014 College Basketball Invitational
Best of Three Series – Game #1
Siena Saints at Fresno State Bulldogs
Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Network
Opening Line: Fresno State -8
Current Line: Fresno State -8
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 138
Opening Money Line: FSU -400 / Siena +320
Current Money Line: FSU -400 / Siena +320

College Football Sportsbook
Fresno State is an 8 point favorite at home in game #1 of the 2014 CBI Finals Monday night.

The 18-17 Siena Saints travel to the 20-16 Fresno State Bulldogs for game #1 of the best of three series 2014 College Basketball Invitational Finals Monday night. The two teams will travel cross country to New York for game #2 Wednesday night and game #3 if necessary on Friday night. Not surprisingly, Siena and Fresno State have never played each other before.

Siena was 11-9 in the MAAC and finished fifth. The Saints lost to Canisius 71-65 in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals. It was their only loss in the last 8 games. Siena  gained a bid to the CBI for the first time this season, and in the post season for the first time since the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Saints beat Stony Brook 66-55 in the first round, Penn State 54-52 in the quarterfinals, and Illinois State 61-49 in the  semifinals Wednesday night. Siena has played all three CBI games at home so far.

Fresno State went 9-9 in the Mountain West and were part of a three way tie for fifth. The Bulldogs lost to New Mexico 93-77 in the Mountain West Quarterfinals. It was the only loss for Fresno State in the last 6 games. The Bulldogs are also playing in the CBI for the first time, and in the post season for the first time since the 2007 NIT. Fresno State won at UTEP 61-56 in the first round, then beat Princeton 72-56 in Fresno in the quarters, and Old Dominion 71-64 at home in the semifinals Saturday.

Siena is coached by Jimmy Patsos. The Saints have losses to Albany, at Vermont, Purdue twice, Memphis, and St. Joseph’s (all in a tournament in Orlando), Canisius three times, at Monmouth, Iona twice, at Manhattan, Quinnipiac, at St. Peter’s, and at Marist. Siena started off the season 3-8. The Saints have key wins over St. Bonaventure, at Cornell, Hofstra, Fordham, Manhattan, and at Quinnipiac. Siena is 19-14 ATS this season and the total is 8-24-1 this season.

Siena is being outscored 69.9-69.1 this season. The Saints are shooting 42% from the field and 32.8% from 3 point range. Siena makes 71.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field and 31.7% from 3 point range. Siena averages 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.9 per game. The Saints are #41 nationally in rebounding. Siena averages 13.7 assists, 14 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.7 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 5.2 blocks per game.

Guard Rob Poole averages 14.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1 steal per game. He is probable with a knee injury. Forward Brett Bisping averages 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Guard/forward Lavon Long averages 9.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. Guard Evan Hymes averages 9.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Guard Marquis Wright averages 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He is probable with a rib injury. Maurice White, Ryan Oliver, Imoh Silas, and Javion Ogunyemi will also get significant minutes. Guard Rich Audu is out for the season with a knee injury.

Fresno State is coached by Rodney Terry. The Bulldogs have losses at Pittsburgh, at Pacific, Drake, at Utah, at California, Florida in Miami, UNLV twice, at Boise State, at Colorado State, San Diego State twice, New Mexico twice, Nevada, and at Wyoming. Fresno has key wins at UC-Irvine, CS-Northridge, Cal Poly, Air Force 3 times, Wyoming, San Jose State twice, at Nevada, Colorado State, at Utah State, and Boise State. The Bulldogs are 19-14-1 ATS this season and the total is 17-15 this season.

Fresno State is outscoring teams 73-70 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 43.8% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. Fresno makes 72.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #33 nationally in 3 point defense. Fresno State averages 34.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 34 per game. The Bulldogs are #313 out of 351 teams in rebounds allowed. FSU averages 12.1 assists, 9.8 rebounds, 6.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.1 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Guard Tyler Johnson averages 15.8 assists, 7.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Marvelle Harris averages 14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Cezar Guerrero averages 12.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard/forward Paul Watson averages 10.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Guard Allen Huddleston averages 8.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Alex Davis, Karachi Edo, Tanner Giddings, and Emmanuel Owootoah will also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Braeden Anderson has missed the entire season with a spine injury.

Siena is 6-0 ATS in non-conference games, 7-1 overall, 6-1 after a straight up win, 5-1 after a cover, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and 5-14 against teams with winning home records.

Fresno State is 5-0 ATS in Monday games, 3-1-1 in non-conference games, 12-4 overall, 14-5 after failing to cover, 8-3 against teams with winning records, 7-3 against teams with losing road records, and 1-4 after a straight up win.

Both of these teams got off to slow starts this season and didn’t think they would be in any post-season tournament. However, both are playing their best basketball of the season, and have a chance to win the CBI. Siena has a big edge in rebounding, but neither team has a lot of size. Fresno State 6′-11″ center Giddings is the only player on either roster over 6′-9″. I think Fresno wins at home.

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