Hello and Welcome to Spinning Predictions, the blog series where I spin a wheel and then I talk about the team it lands on. I'll tell you now how it works:
I have put every single mid-major school into the wheel so some of the best and some of the worst will be on this. I will simply spin the wheel for each blog and then predict how they will do any up-and-coming season. For the first, the wheel has chosen Niagara University of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Let's start by going over there last season just to get some perspective. Last season, they finished 8-10 overall with a 7-9 Conference record, putting them around the middle of the pack in the conference. In the conference tournament at the end of the year, they were able to win in the first round against Marist Red Foxes, 67-62. They were sadly not able to get any farther as they took a 6 point loss to Rick Pitino's Iona, effectively ending their season. During regular conference play, however, they ended up picking up good wins against Siena (64-62, 2/20) and Monmouth (83-74, 1/30). Other than that, they struggled against most competitors that had more talent on their team. They got swept by St Peters and Manhattan in conference play, hurting their chances for an over .500 record. They will certainly be missing the services of Kobi Nwandu this season as he was the lifeblood of the team. In the 20 games he played last season he averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists on 34 minutes. He was the second-highest player in the MAAC for scoring.
According to the Purple Eagles web page, they have recruited two players for the season. The first player they recruited was Robert Brown III. He is a six-foot-four guard from Albany, New York. He last played at Kimball Union Academy, where he had 23 points a game, six rebounds, and three assists. He was ranked as high as 21st on the New England class of 2021 recruiting rankings and was named to the All-NEPSAC. Niagara's head coach had a few things to say about Brown, saying: "Rob is an attacker. His versatility gives him the ability to impact the game in multiple ways on both ends of the court."
The second player they recruited was Julian Mackey. He is a 6-foot-3 guard from Grayson, Georgia. He last played High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he scored double-digits in all his games and set a new school record. He also averaged 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game a lot of shooting 80% from the free-throw line. He was named to the All-GMC First Team. Niagara's head coach had a few more things to say about Julian, saying: "Julian is skilled and knows how to play. He makes the right play and brings versatility to guard multiple positions."
So as we talked about the recruiting and the season before hey, we need to talk about how they will fare this season. Their current center is Touba Traore, 6'11". He played off the bench for most of the games in last season, the most he had was 13 minutes at Syracuse, where he scored five points going 2-2 from field goal range. He will need to show that he is worthy of a starting position this year as he will be one of the key players guarding down low. As for their schedule, they hit two big games almost immediately, Xavier University and Ohio State
University. I do not expect them to win those games but I feel they could try to make it competitive. I just don't see this team making any massive splash within the MAAC and I feel it will be somewhat like the last season with a few good wins sprinkled in there but with a record around .500. I also expect them to bow out of the conference championship at around the second round once again, as I do not feel like they have the power to match up against schools like Siena, St. Peters, and Iona. Time will tell if the school can get off the ground and possibly go to a tournament in March.
Niagara Record Prediction: 11-21.
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