The two opponents have already met once this season with Marist escaping with a one-point victory. Jordan Henderson had the last look for the Griffins with two seconds left, but missed.
Marist (14-13, 9-9 MAAC) has been led by the backcourt pairing of Jao Ituka (15.2 point per game, 48.4% 3-pt FG) and Ricardo Wright (14 ppg, 4 rpg). The tandem contributes over 40% of the team’s nightly scoring.
The Red Foxes’ backcourt has not overcome their many roster deficiencies, however. In fact, no player is averaging as many as five rebounds. Even worse, the team turns the ball over 12.4 times per game and only averages 9.3 assists, so not a good ratio there.
Meanwhile, Canisius (9-20, 5-13) has lost eight of its last 10 games. The Griffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring, but only shoot 40.2% from the field as a team, the 332nd mark of the 350 Division I teams at this juncture in the season. There’s no interior presence defensively, they struggle on the boards and cannot make seven out of every 10 free throws. It’s not a great formula.
When Marist and Canisius square off, it won’t be in the perfect form of basketball that Dr. James Naismith envisioned when he created the game. Still, it’s a game that could have some implications for the conference tournament.
It also will be yet another opportunity for college basketball fans and bettors alike to delve into a new world and watch two teams that have not and are not on pace to grace the screens of every household in America.
Marist is expected to be the favorite because of its better record and having beaten the Golden Griffins a few weeks ago. That said, anything can happen when there’s no form.
Who knows? Maybe a win here could propel Marist or Canisius to a hot streak that they will carry into the MAAC tournament and use to knock off Iona or Siena, however unlikely that is. Regardless of what the future holds, get ready for the rematch after the first game went down to the wire and only took one point to separate.