MAAC Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-UpPosted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2012
Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
A year ago the MAAC tournament gave us a surprise with St. Peter’s coming on strong to win the title. This season Iona is the clear-cut choice. Interestingly, if Iona gets upset, the conference will be a two-bid league with the Gaels almost certain to be an at-large entry to the NCAA tournament. As it stands, Iona cutting down the nets virtually guarantees the conference one spot on Selection Sunday. Doesn’t mean there will be a lack of excitement and drama along the way.
Final Regular Season Standings
Team, MAAC record, overall record:
|1. Iona||15-3, 24-6|
|2. Loyola (MD)||13-5, 21-8|
|3. Manhattan||12-6, 20-11|
|4. Fairfield||12-6, 17-3|
|5. Rider||10-8, 13-18|
|6. Siena||8-10, 13-16|
|7. Niagra||8-10, 13-18|
|8. Marist||7-11, 13-17|
|9. St. Peter’s||4-14, 5-25|
|10. Canisius||1-17, 5-24|
Player of the Year: Scott Machado, Iona
A player that simply has a tremendous impact on the game. Machado scored 13.1 points a game while adding 5 rebounds, but his expertise lies in handing out assists. He led the nation with 10.1 assists an outing. The Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award finalist is also dangerous in late game situations, hitting 80.5% of his free throw attempts.
Rookie of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Niagara
The 6’3″ freshman guard averaged 17.5 points per outing. Green went beyond scoring, handing out 4.4 assists per game. The leading freshman scorer and third overall scorer in the MAAC, Green recorded 27 double figure games this season.
Coach of the Year: Jimmy Patsos, Loyola
The Greyhounds finished conference runner-up and recorded a 20-win season for the first time in school history. Loyola also owns victories over every other school in the conference’s “first division.” They will be a tough out in Springfield.
First Team All-MAAC:
- Rakim Sanders, Fairfield, Forward
- Mike Glover, Iona, Forward
- Erik Etherly, Loyola, Forward
- George Beamon, Manhattan, Guard
- O.D. Anosike, Siena, Forward
- Scott Machado, Iona, Guard
The efficiency margin:
The efficiency margin is the difference between a team’s offensive (points per possession times 100) and defensive efficiency. Naturally, the higher the margin the stronger the team. The table above gives us the results from MAAC conference games this season.
To no surprise, Iona weighs in with outstanding numbers. Manhattan, Fairfield and Loyola are strong as expected. Rider could be a team to keep an eye on. They struggled early but finished up winning seven of their last eleven contests.
What we should see
If Friday gives us no big surprises in the first round double header, the quarterfinal schedule on Saturday should be as follows:
- Niagara vs. Loyola
- Siena vs. Manhattan
- Marist vs. Iona
- Rider vs. Fairfield
Niagara has a road win and home loss against Loyola. Siena split with Manhattan during the regular season. On the other side of the bracket, Iona should send a much improved Marist team home for the season. Rider vs. Fairfield is an intriguing matchup and arguably the most competitive potential matchup of the quarterfinals. Fairfield won at home over the Broncs in mid-January and was defeated this past Saturday in the season finale at Rider. And, as pointed out, Rider has improved over the months and is a lot better than the overall record indicates.
As for possible semis, a Loyola vs. Manhattan seems more interesting. No disrespect to Fairfield or Rider, but Iona is on a roll.
Does efficiency margin guarantee success?
In other words, can we ascertain the final order just looking at the margins of the respective teams? Not really, but the margins tell us the better or elite against also rans. If I am from the Far West and know nothing about the MAAC, just seeing Iona’s +22 tells me this is a powerful team and more of a threat than say Marist at -7.
Let’s look at the MAAC’s Final four of last March:
The table makes St. Peter’s run to the title even more impressive as John Dunne’s group had to knock off the top two (Fairfield and Iona) teams in efficiency margin. Again, efficiency margin does not predict exact order of finish but does give us solid insight regarding pretenders and contenders.