Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.
A Look Back
The non-conference portion of the year, give or take a Bracket Buster or mid-season outlier, is in the books. Fairfield is a team that stood out against non-league opposition. Iona and Rider fared pretty well also. All that aside, conference play is the major factor. Just after the new year the MAAC schedule, with two games in the books for each team already, gets into full force. Now is the team where teams that struggled early due to injuries, personnel changes or other reasons, make their moves. While a team as Fairfield is off to a solid start, they must be prepared and cast a wary eye on a host of contenders. It should be a fun race.
1. Fairfield: (2-0, 9-3 overall) Defeated Holy Cross and Vermont to run the win streak to seven games. OE is a modest 98 but the defensive mark is an outstanding 86. Nearly a quarter (24%) of opposing possessions end in a turnover. The offensive rebound margin is a healthy 36-31% edge in favor of the Stags.
Notable: Yorel Hawkins scored ten points and grabbed ten rebounds against Vermont. It was the sixth double-double of Hawkins’ career.
2. Iona: (2-0, 8-5 overall) Snapped a two game losing streak by defeating Hofstra at the Hynes Center. A 73-possession team, the Gaels have an outstanding offensive efficiency rating of 109. The 100 on defense is credible as well. A 19% TO rate and 54% eFG mark solidify the offense. Despite a good defensive number, opponents enjoy a 52% eFG mark.
Notable: Junior guard Scott Machado scored 17 points, pulled down five rebounds and added four assists against Vermont. Machado leads the nation with 8.3 assists per game.
3. St. Peter’s: (2-0, 7-6 overall) Had a five-game win streak snapped by consecutive losses at Rutgers and Lehigh. OE is still low at 87, but the defense, an efficient 93, is keeping the Peacocks competitive as a ‘tough out.’ A TO rate of 23% is not helping the offense. John Dunne’s club is currently a deliberate 62-possession team.
Notable: Sophomore guard Stephen Samuels led St.Peter’s with 14 points at Rutgers. Bad news dominates as Ryan Bacon (ankle) and Wesley Jenkins (hyper-extended knee) are out for two and three weeks, respectively.
4. Marist: (2-0, 2-10 overall) The Red Foxes are in the midst of a four-game tailspin. Defensive efficiency is 109, much higher than acceptable. Marist is not exerting significant ball pressure, as opponents have a 16% TO rate. Offensive efficiency is 87 with only two contests 100 or more.
Notable: Redshirt freshman swingman Anell Alexis is one of the most dependable foul shooters in the MAAC with an .875 (42-48) free throw percentage.
5. Rider: (1-1, 9-5 overall) On a three game win streak with the most recent conquests coming from road wins at LaSalle and Howard. Broncs sport a 108 offensive efficiency and hit a season-high 127 against Howard. Defense is impressive with a DE of 96. Opposition TO rate is a modest 20%, but the defensive eFG mark is an impressive 45%.
Notable: MAAC Player of the Week, Novar Gadson. The 6’7 swingman tied a career high with 25 points in the win at LaSalle, in Gadson’s native Philadelphia.
6. Siena: (1-1, 4-8 overall) The Saints scored a big win against Georgia Tech at home before losing a ‘Franciscan Cup’ meeting at St. Bonaventure. Siena’s giving up 100 DE on that end. The opposition is hitting an eFG percentage of 50 while the Bonnies enjoyed a 56% mark in that contest. Saints had their second highest OE of 117 in that game but gave up their highest, a 123.
Notable: Ryan Rossiter continues to excel. The senior center/forward averages 20 points and 13 rebounds per game. Rossiter battled off a sinus infection and eye injuries to score a game high 19 points in the win over Georgia Tech.
7. Canisius: (0-2, 6-6 overall) Defeated Lamar 78-72 on the road to snap a two-game losing streak. The 72-possession pace might be too fast as the TO rate offensively is 23%. On the season, the defensive efficiency is 100 but the last three opponents have reached 100 or more.
Notable: Senior Elton Frazier scored 22 against Lamar. Frazier leads Canisius with 13.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds an outing.
8. Loyola: (0-2, 4-8 overall) Dropped games at Howard and at home against Bucknell. Greyhounds are on a three-game slide. Offensive efficiency is 96 but the last two games saw Loyola fail to reach 100. Offensive rebounding rate is a positive. Loyola’s OREB percentage is 36% while the opposition is 29%.
Notable: Justin Drummond, took home MAAC Rookie of the Week honors. Drummond went off for 21 against Georgetown and followed it up with 15 versus Howard. Drummond leads Loyola in scoring with a 12.7 per game norm.
9. Niagara: (0-2, 3-11 overall) Losses to Quinnipiac and Drexel have extended the losing streak to three games. Purple Eagles still push the pace (72 possessions) and enjoy a 19% TO rate. The OE however is a paltry 89. On defense, the efficiency is a too generous 108 while the opposing eFG mark is 51%.
Notable: Freshman guard Marvin Jordan tied a career high with 17 points against Quinnipiac. Four Purple Eagles scored in double figures in that contest.
10. Manhattan: (0-2, 2-10 overall) Jaspers are in a 10-game losing streak. Their offensive efficiency is 91. In their two wins (over NJIT and Penn) they broke 100 for OE. On the defensive side, the efficiency is 109. Opposition has only an 18% TO rate which hints at average ball pressure applied by the Manhattan defense.
Notable: Sophomore guard George Beamon led the Jaspers with 18 points in a loss to Bowling Green. Beamon has posted a double-double in ten of Manhattan’s first 12 games.
A Look Ahead
- Manhattan at Rider
- Canisius at St. Peter’s
- Iona at Siena
- Marist at Loyola
- Niagara at Fairfield
- Marist at Princeton
- Siena at Canisius
- Loyola at Manhattan
- St.Peter’s at Iona
- Fairfield at Marist
- Rider at Niagara
- Rider at Canisius
- Siena at Niagara
- Marist at Manhattan
- Loyola at Iona
- St. Peter’s at Fairfield