No. 9 Niagara vs. No. 8 Quinnipiac
MAAC Pre-Quarterfinal at Albany
5 p.m. Times Union Arena
Records: Niagara 9-22, 6-14. Quinnipiac 10-20, 7-13.
Regular-season: Quinnipiac won twice, 81-78 (Jan. 2) and 89-81 (Feb. 4).
The Set-Up: It would be nice for Niagara to give its fans a small sign of progress by winning this game. Niagara was 7-25 last year, 8-22 in 14-15 and 7-26 in 13-14. Coach Chris Casey is 31-95 but he’s under contract for two more years and considered safe. Niagara has lost five straight, Quinnipiac has lost six straight.
The Matchup: Niagara is better than Quinnipiac in most statistical categories. The one thing Quinnipiac does very well is play hard. The Purple Eagles better be ready to compete. But Quinnipiac is last in the MAAC in points allowed (and 337th in the nation). The Bobcats are 317th in 3-point defense. They’re 302nd in three-point shooting. They crash the boards very well. Defensive rebounding will be key for Niagara. The future is brightening for Quinnipiac. Their top two players are freshman – guard Mikey Dixon and 6-5 Peter Kiss. Dixon, the Delaware high school player of the year last year, is sixth in the MAAC in scoring (16.8) and Kiss averages 13.3 ppg.
Next: The winner plays top-seeded Monmouth at 7 p.m. Friday.