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@GuaranteesG NCAAB Mid Major Plays of the Day!

The first Mid Major Play of the Day takes us to New Rochelle, NY as the Appalachian State Mountaineers (17-12 last year) are on the road against the Iona Gaels (12-6 last year). Both of these teams made the NCAA tournament in 2020. App State went on a miracle run in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. They return pretty much everyone from last years squad with 4 Seniors and a Junior that played significant minutes. The Mountaineers are led by three Guards in Justin Forrest (13.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 APG) Adrian Delph (13.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 APG) and Michael Almonacy (12.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.8 APG). These guys will try to fill it up for App State and will always be on the floor. Big men Gregory, Lewis, and Lewis Jr are also athletic inside. The problem for this team is consistency. Last year, they had struggles shooting for most of the year and were only 30% from 3 as team before the Conference tournament (39% during). I expect this to regress to the norm and thats going to be a major problem. If the jump shots aren’t following the App State undersized guards will have to rely on driving and Iona will have two big 6’9 Forwards waiting.

Iona had an up and down weird season with many of their games being cancelled due to covid. They still ended up rolling through the MAAC Tournament and gave a scare to Alabama as a 15 seed in the Tournament. Their top two scorers from last years squad are gone, but they still have talent left on the roster to mix with 3 big time transfers. Returning 6’9 big man Nelly Junior Joseph (11.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 BPG) will be a major force down low on offense and defense for the Gaels. He will be joined by a 6’9 transfer from Louisville Quinn Slazinski. He had an average of 6.2 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 20 MPG at Louisville. Slazinski is a nice add but the two transfers I am very excited about are Elijah Joiner and Tyson Jolly. These guards played major minutes and were major contributors at their former schools. At Tulsa, Joiner went 11.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 4.0 APG. At SMU two years ago, Jolly went 14.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 2.3 APG. Iona’s length with these new additions should fluster App State’s offense all night. HC Richard Pitino, yes old Louisville coach Pitino, will have the Gaels prepared and ready to roll. Mid Major Play of the day 1 is

Iona -6

The second Mid Major Play of the Day takes us to Athens, Ohio as the Belmont Bruins (26-4) take on the Ohio Bobcats (17-8). Ohio made the tournament last year and even knocked off the Virginia Cavilers in a big upset. Belmont lost to Morehead State in the OVC conference Championship game and were snubbed by the committee for an at large bid. Everyone is back for Belmont with almost all of the key contributors being Seniors. They are led by Guard Grayson Murphy (10.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, and 2.3 SPG) and 6’11 Center Nick Muszynski (15.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.0 SPG). These two run the show for the Bruins and are in store for a massive Senior season. Another player to keep an eye on is Guard Luke Smith. He is small, but is a lights out shooter (12.7 PPG, 45.3 FG%, and 40% 3P%). Belmont returns the 15th most minutes from last year.

Ohio had a historic season and run for their program last year. It’s amazing to see a mid major team make noise like they did and they return pretty much all their guys from last years team. The one guy they will be missing is Guard Jason Preston (15.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 7.3 APG). That is a huge blow and the Bobcats are hoping Sophomore Guard Mark Sears (8.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 3.3 APG) can replace most of that production. Ben Vander Plas, Dwight Wilson, Ben Roderick, and Lunden McDay are the main scorers and playmakers for this team. They all averaged double digits points last year and will be asked to do the same in 2021. My issue with this Ohio team is how they respond early in the season without their Star player in Preston. Also, I wonder if they are still high off the upset win against Virginia in the NCAA tournament. Belmont started the season 24-1, was ranked, and was pretty much a guarantee for the tournament before they suffered a late season collapse. You know that had to sting and every player is back with a chip on their shoulder. Give me the Bruins in a battle -3.5!

Belmont -3.5

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