The Stony Brook Seawolves are off to a nice start to the 2018-19 season.
They’re 13-3 and look like they might be Vermont’s biggest threat in the America East Conference. They’re a not-too-exciting 145th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings (second to Vermont in the America East), but they should be favored in 12 of their 15 remaining games.
What makes the Seawolves interesting, however, is that they’re the true Road Warriors of college basketball thus far.
Stony Brook is a nation’s-best 9-0 in road games this season. The Seawolves have one point-spread loss away from home – against Holy Cross. But that came at a neutral site. Southern Illinois and another Long Island team, Hofstra (both 6-0) are the only other schools perfect against the spread in at least five true road games this season.
Why the Seawolves?
Certainly, a soft schedule has helped. Stony Brook opened the season with wins at George Washington and South Carolina and won at Rhode Island later in November. But their next best road win came at Northern Iowa (No. 210 in KenPom’s efficiency ratings).
Most of Stony Brook’s numbers are pedestrian, but it is strong in offensive rebounding percentage (34.9, 30th in the country), which means more second-chance points, and the Seawolves are good at getting to the free-throw line, where they score 22 percent of their points.
Those aren’t world-beating numbers, but they’ve been good enough to take down the likes of Manhattan, Quinnipiac and UMass Lowell.
The Seawolves had just the 238th-toughest non-conference strength of schedule. Still, covering nine straight on the road is difficult; just ask BYU. The Cougars are 1-8 ATS away from home and 7-1 in Provo, Utah.
Southern Illinois, which is 9-6 overall, is just 2-5 ATS at home. The Salukis have covered the spread as an underdog in road games at Kentucky, Colorado State and Buffalo. Their only loss away from home came in a neutral-site game against Massachusetts.
Hofstra, at 13-3 and No. 79 at KenPom.com, is probably the best of the 6-0 or better road teams. The Pride is No. 1 in the nation in free-throw shooting (79.6 percent) and covered the spread at Maryland and VCU back in November.
While Stony Brook is one of the youngest teams in the country (308th of 353), Hofstra is the eighth most experienced. That experience came into play in one of the Pride’s road wins: 71-64, as a 2.5-point favorite, at Stony Brook.
Marquette at Creighton: The Golden Eagles have won nine of ten with wins over Louisville, Wisconsin and Buffalo. But the lone loss came at St. John’s (an 89-69 blowout) to drop them to 0-3 away from home. The Blue Jays’ only home losses came against Ohio State and then-No. 1 Gonzaga. CREIGHTON
Miami (Fla.) at Florida State: The Seminoles’ 65-52 loss at Virginia on Saturday was their first in more than a month. Now they return home to face a Hurricanes team that was blown out by Penn and Louisville in its only road games this season. FLORIDA STATE
Wofford at UNC Greensboro: It’s Game of the Year Part I in the top-heavy Southern Conference. The Spartans have lost only to Kentucky and LSU this season but might be a very short favorite because of Wofford’s hyper-efficient offense. UNC GREENSBORO
Washington at Utah: Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: Washington will win the woeful Pac-12. In their past eight games, the Huskies have lost to only Gonzaga and Virginia Tech. The Utes, who are 5-9 ATS, have one quality win (at Arizona State) in six tries. WASHINGTON
Last week: 2-2
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