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Coach Kevin Baggett and the Rider men’s basketball team.
Coach Kevin Baggett and the Rider men’s basketball team.|Rider Athletics
NCAAB

NCAAB: Eckel on NJ looks for a Niagara-Rider shootout

Niagara +8.5 at RIDER (156), 7 pm

Mark Eckel

Niagara +8.5 at RIDER (156), 7 pm
Pick: Over 156 points

I’m not sure who devised the Rider basketball schedule this year, but I wouldn’t want them doing my taxes.

Rider has played through one of the worst schedules in the history of sports.

Consider the following: The Broncs opened the season, along with the rest of he nation, Nov. 6 and then didn’t play again until Nov. 19. They played one more game over the span of 23 days and then played six games in 11 days.

That was all during the non-conference season. In the MAAC, Rider just finished a stretch of eight games in 18 days, and tonight’s game against Niagara will be its only game in a stretch of 12 days.

With that out of the way, we can take a look at the game.

Rider (14-13, 9-6) has won two straight after the worst loss, maybe in school history, when it blew a seven-point lead with 24 seconds to play against Quinnipiac.

The Broncs already own a 20-point win over the Purple Eagles (12-15, 5-9), but 8 1/2 is a little too steep for a Rider team that is 7-19 against the spread and 2-8 against the spread at home. Another worrisome stat is that the road team is 12-4 in the last 16 meetings between these two teams.

But don’t get carried away and take Niagara, that’s not the play, either. Even though they are 14-13 overall and 7-5 on the road against the number.

Take the over. The total was 188 the last time they played. The over is 5-1-1 in Rider’s last seven games and is 4-1 the last five times these two have met.

Both teams likes to push the ball and while Rider can play defense, the Broncs don’t mind getting in an old fashioned shootout. Niagara, meanwhile, thinks defense is what you look out over at the Falls.