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Howard vs. Wagner Expert Pick and Prediction – March 19, 2024

Howard vs. Wagner Expert Pick and Prediction – March 19, 2024 

HOWARD VS. WAGNER EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 19, 2024 — One team was expected to be here, while the other is in rarefied territory. Wagner finished with a losing record in the Northeast Conference and ended up sixth in its league, but the Seahawks put it all together in the conference tournament. Over the span of a week, Wagner defeated the top three teams in the NEC and did it all on the road, earning its first NCAA berth in 21 years.

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Howard also had a losing record before its conference tournament, but the Bison have been here before. Last season, Howard ended a 31-year drought by winning the MEAC, and the Bison showed their mettle in besting Norfolk State to claim their second straight league title. The Bison pushed Kansas for about 15 minutes last season, and they’ve shown they’re no pushover in pushing both Georgia Tech and Cincinnati to the wire.

Still, these teams are in Dayton for a reason. Neither one actually beat a team ranked in the top 150 (Wagner’s win over Stony Brook was the best win either side got all season), and both counted as Quad 4 games this year. These are not good teams, which means this game could be close.

The Odds 







(16-15 SU, 14-15 ATS) 






(18-16 SU, 12-19-1 ATS) 






When: Tuesday, March 19 at 6:40 p.m. EST 

Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio

TV: truTV

Public Bets: Unavailable 

Public Money: Unavailable

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 18th, 2024

Howard vs. Wagner In-Season Trends 

Howard really hasn’t been a good bet this season. The Bison covered just three of their final nine games, including a failure to cover in the MEAC title game against Delaware State. They’ve also been mostly an over team this season, mainly because of their inability to play defense. Howard ranks 320th in defensivve efficiency, so it’s pretty common to see the Bison flirt with the over.

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Wagner is the opposite. The Seahawks are the second-slowest team in the nation (and the slowest is Virginia, who plays in the second game of the doubleheader), and they bring terrible offense to boot. The Seahawks rank third from the bottom in field goal percentage, and they usually don’t get anywhere near the 70s unless they’re facing a really weak opponent.

In 29 games against Division I opponents, Wagner got above 70 just five times, and never once against a non-conference opponent.

The Difference-Makers 

Howard’s success in this game depends on forward Seth Towns and guard Marcus Dockery. Towns is an eighth-year senior and the Bison’s second-best shooter, while Dockery does by far the majority of the 3-point shooting. Both are experienced at the Power 6 level (Towns played at Ohio State; Dockery at Maryland), and Wagner will look to take one or both out of their offense.

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Any basket from the Seahawks is an adventure, but Melvin Council Jr. does most of the work. He takes by far the most shots of anyone in a Wagner uniform and serves as the Seahawks’ best rebounder despite standing just 6’4”. Take him out of the game, and the rest of the Seahawks are likely to crumble.

The Pick 

The main worry with Howard is whether the Bison will have anything left after their run to the MEAC final. The nature of the schedule means Howard played on Saturday and will now play its fourth game in six days.
Wagner has been sitting around since March 12 and should be well-rested.

However, the Seahawks’ slow pace means that Howard won’t likely have to overexert itself to stay in this contest. Against a faster-paced squad, the Bison might be in trouble. In this game, they should be fine. 

Dan’s Picks 

 Howard -3.5  

 Under 128.5