2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 10th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC.

Top Storylines

The Redshirts: We are not talking about individual players but a program. In the latter part of the summer, Loyola announced its intention to exit the MAAC for the Patriot League. The Greyhounds captured the postseason title this past March. Coach Jimmy Patsos has another very strong group on hand. The interesting thing is how will the last run through the MAAC affect Loyola’s play. The guess here is not too much. Caution is needed however as the MAAC contingents would love nothing to upset the Greyhounds as a ‘going away present.’

How Will Jimmy Patsos Handle the Last Go-Round the MAAC? (AP)

Master Builder: When Canisius hired Jim Baron last spring they not only got a veteran coach with a proven track record, but the Buffalo-based school hired a coach who rebuilt situations at three different schools. First was St. Francis (PA). Next, his alma mater, St. Bonaventure, and most recently, Rhode Island. Baron brought St. Francis and St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Tournament in his careers there. He also had a few NITs under his tutelage but couldn’t get on the board during Selection Sunday while at URI. Make no mistake, though, Baron knows Canisius’ status and what needs to be done to succeed there. Word here says he goes ‘four for four’ in reclamation projects.

Must-See: A few of the notable matchups in the MAAC include…. On January 27, Iona hosts Loyola and visits the Greyhounds on March 1. The latter game could decide the regular season champion and have a strong bearing on final conference seeds for the postseason tournament. A few other notable games:

  • November 11 – Manhattan at Louisville – Steve Masiello ducks no one and heads south to face a powerful Louisville team and his former boss (mentor), Rick Pitino.
  • November 22 – Marist vs. West Virginia in the MAAC sponsored Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The field also includes the likes of Clemson, Davidson, Gonzaga, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.
  • January 6Iona hosts Manhattan, and more than rivalry bragging rights are at stake.
  • January 25 – Loyola visits Manhattan, another huge midseason contest.

Your Pace Or Mine: Iona, Loyola and Fairfield all had strong defenses last season. How strong? The statistic of points allowed tells us something, but not enough to satisfy the tempo-free among us. The following chart spells it out with numbers from conference games only.

Points allowed PG Possessions PG Defensive Eff.
Fairfield 59.9 65 92
Loyola 62.5 65 97
Iona 67 69 97

Possessions show that Fairfield was deliberate but defensive efficiency proves the Stags did not limit opponents to a lower score only due to pace. They defended! Iona allowed the most points per game of the three but the Gaels’ tempo was significantly quicker. A four-point differential in possessions per game may not seem like much but a 69 points-per-100 possessions pace is decidedly faster than a mid-sixty tempo.  Both Iona and Loyola, employing different tempos, were excellent on the defensive end.

All-Conference Selections

  • G: Derek Needham, Fairfield
  • G: Lamont Jones, Iona
  • F: Erik Etherly, Loyola
  • G/F: George Beamon, Manhattan
  • F: O.D. Anosike, Siena

Predicted Order Of Finish

  1. Loyola (24-9, 13-5): The Greyhounds were not just a team that got hot in early March  eventually claiming their first MAAC title. This was a second place team in regular season. Talented and very proficient on the defensive end. Shane Walker, an outstanding inside/out presence, is gone. Four starters return with forward Erik Etherly plus the Dylan Cormier and Robert Olson backcourt. The trio earned all-conference honors last year, comprising a strong nucleus for coach Jimmy Patsos.
  2. Manhattan (21-13, 12-4 MAAC): The Jaspers will be right in the thick of a three team race. MAAC pre-season Player of the Year George Beamon scored 19 points per game. Beamon’s versatility also figured inside as the 6-4 swing man averaged 5.6 rebounds as well. Steve Masiello has all five starters back. Ashton Pankey, a 6’9″ forward and Maryland transfer who prepped at powerful St. Anthony’s (NJ), provides height and an intriguing option.
  3. Iona – (25-8, 15-3 MAAC): The Gaels lose the MAAC Player of the Year Scott Machado, an outstanding backcourt performer, certain to be missed. Regardless, the defending regular season champions have enough returning to put themselves in contention for a repeat. Marquee player this go round is Lamont ‘Mo Mo’ Jones, a player of the year candidate and high scorer (59 threes) a year ago. Joining Jones is ample talent certain to keep coach Tim Cluess and company in the hunt.
  4. Fairfield (22-15, 12-6 MAAC): The Stags will weather the loss of two starters, Rakim Sanders and Ryan Orlander, a productive pair up front . To compensate, coach Sydney Johnson will ask more of his backcourt. Derek Needham and Desmond Wade have to produce more in the scoring column.  A strong defense and a year experience in Johnson’s Princeton offense are other factors in Fairfield’s favor.
  5. Niagara – (14-19, 6-10 MAAC): A perennial contender which slipped the last few seasons. Niagara is poised for a first division run. Coach Joe Mihalich has all five starters back highlighted by the Juan’ya Green/Antoine Mason backcourt. The pair combined to average 32 points a game last season. LaSalle transfer Devon White, a 6’8” center, could prove to be the key to the inside game and the Purple’ fortunes.
  6. Siena – (14-17, 8-19 MAAC) You have a good point guard and stability in the paint, you have a chance to be successful. Up front, O.D. Anosike is a legitimate POY candidate. At the guard spot, coach Mitch Buonoguro can choose between Evan Hynes (13.4 PPG, 3.7 APG) or sophomore Rakeem Brookins, out last year with an injury and is back in good health ready to contribute. Rob Poole also gives the Saints good backcourt depth. Despite the exit of three starters, Siena can realistically be improved this season.
  7. Marist – (14-18, 7-11 MAAC): The Red Foxes suffered another setback., A season-ending injury to highly regarded newcomer Khalid Hart occurred in pre-season before the 6’2” guard and Delaware Player of the Year could play a minute. Coach Chucky Martin does return all five starters to a team that is gradually inching toward respectability. Among the group, sophomore swingman Chavaughn Lewis (14.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG) , a MAAC All-Rookie selection last year, is the marquee returnee.
  8. Canisius (5-25, 1-17 MAAC): The Griffs are in a rebuilding mode, but Jim Baron does have enough to work with to pull a surprise and challenge for the first division. Guard Harold Washington, a high-scoring senior, should be steady once again. Alshwan Hymes and Chris Manhertz give Baron experience at the respective guard and forward spots. Three transfers, headlined by 6’10” Freddy Aspirilla from Kansas State, give Baron more options to work into the rotation. Baron also has the services of son Billy, a junior guard who averaged 13 points per game (shooting 31% from three) last season at URI and is cleared for immediate action.
  9. Rider (13-19, 10-8 MAAC): Kevin Baggett takes over for Tommy Dempsey, who accepted the arduous task of righting the situation at Binghamton. A former Rider assistant, Baggett represents a smooth transition having been on the staff at Rider the previous six years. Daniel Stewart, a 6’7” junior, is the most notable returnee. Stewart averaged 11.1 points while grabbing 6.5 boards per game last season. A newcomer to watch and one Baggett hopes makes an immediate impact is Nurideen Lindsey. The St. John’s transfer averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in his most recent season with the Red Storm.
  10. St. Peter’s (5-26, 4-14 MAAC): Back in the 2010-11 season, the Peacocks were cutting down the nets as conference champions. Last year, it was rebuilding and much of the same is slated for the Jersey City based school, now known by St. Peter’s University. Coach John Dunne will have a team, young but a year older and more talented. Darius Conley, at 6’7”, mans the middle and is one of the conference’s best players.
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Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.


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