Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

JERSEY CITY, NJ – During a timeout at the Canisius-St.Peter’s game, the PA announcer was putting an advertising pitch in for the upcoming MAAC postseason tournament in Albany. “See who will emerge as the MAAC men’s and women’s champions in 2010,” the announcer said.  At which yours truly remarked to a press row neighbor, ‘Siena and Marist.’ The neighbor chuckled but didn’t disagree.

The Marist women are a clear cut favorite but that’s another story. On the men’s side Siena is ahead of the pack. It’s ‘their championship to lose’  as they say and not because it is being contested on their Times-Union homecourt. Siena is extremely talented, battle-tested and well-coached. A very imposing combination indeed.

Notes and Milestones

  • St. Peter’s overtime win over Canisius on Super Bowl Sunday earned the Peacocks a 4-0 sweep of Niagara and Canisius for the first time in program history.
  • Siena’s Ronald Moore scored the 1000th point of his career in the win over Iona. This marks the second straight season Siena has three 1000-point scorers on the floor the same time.
  • The win over Canisius was St. Peter’s’ second OT win of the season. The last season that happened was during 2005-06 when the Peacocks won three of four extra session meetings.
  • Frank Turner became the sixth player in Canisius history to attempt 600 free throws. Turner hit the charity stripe mark in the loss at Niagara.
  • Iona hit the 18-win mark for the 19th time in the program’s 70-year history. The Gaels hit double digits in conference wins for the 13th time in 29 MAAC seasons.
  • The schedule for ESPN’s BracketBusters is set. Rider at Hofstra is a ‘rematch’ from the days both schools were in the old East Coast Conference. Arguably the marquee matchup of the MAC schools (see full schedule below) is Siena at Butler on Saturday February at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Player of the Week: Alex Franklin (F) , Siena – Scored 23 points and added 7 rebounds in Siena’s win over Iona. Franklin was 7 of 9 from the field and 9 for 12 from the line.

Rookie of the Week: Derek Needham (G), Fairfield – Needham scored 20 points, his second straight 20-point outing, in the win over St. Peter’s. He added 5 rebounds and four steals in 37 minutes in that contest.

Team Breakdowns

  • Canisius – Dropped three games last week. Included were losses at Iona, Niagara and St. Peter’s. The game at St. Peter’s was an overtime contest. Turnovers were the story as the Griffins committed 64 for the three games, including 22 against St. Peter’s. Frank Turner continued his fine play and the senior guard tied the game at St. Peter’s with a coast to coast trip that ended with a buzzer-beating driving layup.
  • Fairfield – Earned their 10th home win of the season with a victory over St. Peter’s. Last time the Stags reached double figures in home wins was  the 1995-96 season when they eventually went to the NIT. After allowing 88 points to Rider two games prior, Fairfield held St. Peter’s to a season-low 46 points. Defense has been a key as the Stags have allowed less than 60 points in nine of its sixteen wins this season. Anthony Johnson, the MAAC leader in blocked shots, rejected eight against St. Peter’s.
  • Iona - Took two of three with the lone blemish a loss to Siena, something everyone in the MAAC is experiencing these days. The loss to the Saints snapped the Gaels’ eight-game win streak, their longest in a decade. Junior Alejo Rodriguez narrowly missed his fourth straight double-double in the win over Marist. Sophomore guard Scott Machado contributed steady scoring with a carreer high 24 points at Siena followed by 17 at Marist.
  • Loyola (MD) - Swept a road weekend for the first time in three years with wins at Rider and Manhattan. Greyhounds had five double figure scorers against Rider. It was the first time since January 2009 the Greyhounds performed that feat as no Loyola player attempted more than eight shots in the contest. Loyola clicked on both ends at Rider as they shot 54% for the game while holding the Broncs to eight field goals  in the second half. Shane Mack collected his first MAAC double-double in that game with a 12 point, 12 rebound outing.
  • Manhattan – Split two conference games last week. Senior guard Darryl Crawford led the way with 20 points and 4 rebounds in a win over Marist. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak and was the Jaspers’ first since January 8th. Manhattan dropped a tough 62-56 decision to Loyola on Super Bowl Sunday. Crawford and Rico Pickett shared scoring honors with 19 apiece against Loyola. Pickett still paces MAAC scorers with 20.9 PPG in MAAC play.
  • Marist – Dropped both of their conference games. Freshman guard Candon Rusin led the Red Foxes both games in scoring and had a weekly high mark of 17 points in the loss to Iona.  Rusin has hit a three pointer in 21 of Marist’s 24 games this season. Junior forward Keory Bauer who tends to favor the perimeter, used his 6’9 frame underneath to pull down 10 rebounds against Iona. Marist plays four of its last five regular season games away from home. Their final home game is a February 26 meeting with St.Peter‘s.
  • Niagara – Used defense to defeat rival Canisius 66-54. Niagara held the Golden Griffins to 4 of 15 shooting, forced nine turnovers and blocked three shots the final ten minutes. Anthony Nelson scored all of his 17 points in the second half for Niagara. Bilal Benn pulled down 11 rebounds in the win.
  • RiderJustin Robinson scored 19 points in the loss to Loyola. Robinson and teammate Ryan Thompson are the two leading free throw shooters in the MAAC. Rider had five players in double figures against Loyola. The Broncs play four of their last five games at home.
  • St. Peter’s – Bounced back from a loss at Fairfield to defeat Canisius in overtime at Yanitelli Center. The Peacocks are guaranteed a .500 MAAC record for the first time in four years. Their 14 wins is the most by a Division I school in the state of New Jersey. Wesley Jenkins led the way against Canisius with 25 points  and 10 rebounds while Darius Conley also added a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
  • Siena – Captured a showdown with Iona 88-68 before a sold out Times-Union Center. Win pushed the home court win streak to 33 games, second longest in the country. Ryan Rossiter has posted a double-double in eight of his last nine games and the junior forward has done it thirteen times this season. Since the New Year six Player of the week awards have been cited. Alex Franklin winning the most recent makes it four out of six for the Saints.

Upcoming…The BracketBusters

February 19 –

  • William and Mary-Iona

February 20 –

  • Siena-Butler
  • New Hampshire-Loyola
  • Buffalo-St.Peter’s
  • Towson-Manhattan
  • Fairfield-Vermont
  • Rider-Hofstra
  • Marist-UC Irvine
  • James Madison-Canisius
  • Niagara-Wisconsin Milwaukee

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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 15th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Hard to believe the race is near the midway point. Siena is ahead and the favorite. Following closely are a group of teams in second through eighth that are fairly even and jockeying to move up. Among that group Fairfield, Iona and Niagara are considered at this point the best to make it interesting for the long run . Can’t write off Rider while St. Peter’s, Canisius and Manhattan are also in the mix.

From the board room…

Bob McCloskey Insurance group has signed a marketing agreement with the MAAC. The organization is a national leader in the sports insurance and marketing areas. Part of the agreement stipulates the McCloskey group will sponsor a postgraduate scholarship to one male and female MAAC student-athlete each year. Rich Ensor, the MAAC commissioner,  is excited about the venture noting, “it is particularly important that the agreement provides scholarship support for postgraduate studies for MAAC student-athletes who are known for their success on the playing fields and the classroom.”  Here are the standings.

A tempo free look at offensive efficiency. The mark is simply points per possession multiplied by 100. The average possessions per game for the respective team is noted in the first column. This includes all games. The figures are from conference games only. Again, stats are courtesy of Basketball State.

Milestones

  • Wesley Jenkins of St.Peter’s became the program’s 28th 1,000 point scorer. Jenkins hit the mark in his 71st career game.
  • Tyrone Lewis has scored  over 1,600 points and is eighth on Niagara’s all time list.
  • To date Anthony Nelson of Niagara has handed out over 430 assists.
  • Senior guard Frank Turner needed three rebounds to become the first player in school history to score 1,500 points while adding 500 rebounds and 500 assists,
  • Nick Leon of St. Peter’s has passed the 900-point mark and is soon to join the school’s 1,000 point list.

MAAC Player of the Week: Edwin Ubilies, Sr, G/F, Siena – Averaged 23 points for the week while shooting 61% from the field. Came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points in a first place showdown with Niagara.

Rookie of the Week: Derek Needham, Fr, G, Fairfield – Averaged 17 points in a 2-1 week for the Stags. The highlight was a career high 28 points in a game at Niagara. Needham also scored 10 of the Stags final 11 points in a win at Loyola.

Team Breakdowns

  • Canisius – Pair of league wins over Iona and Marist raised the Griffs to 3-2 in the MAAC. Three of Canisus’ last five opponents have failed to hit the 60-point mark. Senior Frank Turner continues to be the main scoring threat. Not just at Canisius either as he leads the MAAC with a 17 PPG norm. Junior Elton Frazier put  up big numbers against Marist with 25 points (career high) and 10 rebounds.
  • Fairfield - Stags won two of three and remain unbeaten at home. They are 5-0 at the Arena at Harbor Yard and 3-0 at their on campus Alumni Hall. Yorel Hawkins had a 34 consecutive free throw streak end. It started back on December 5th. Derek Needham has been the leading scorer but the freshman guard has handed out almost 100 assists to date. Anthony Johnson had 27 in a win over Manhattan.
  • Iona – The Gaels split on the week losing to Canisius and defeating Rider. Scott Machado continued his torrid scoring as the sophomore guard averaged 20.5 PPG for the two games. A key factor in the win over Rider was the play of junior forward Alejo Rodriguez who had a career high 17 rebounds. That is the highest individual total in the MAAC this season. Sophomore Rashon Dwight has four double-digit scoring efforts. All came since his insertion into the starting lineup nine games ago.
  • Loyola (MD) – After a four-game win streak the Greyhounds dropped games to the MAAC’s two leading teams, Siena and Fairfield. Loyola was faced to play three halves without leading scorer Brett Harvey who had appeared in 109 consecutive contests. Harvey didn’t dress for Siena and missed a half against the Stags after an injur from a hard foul. Harvey, in fact, was fouled with one second left in the half. Junior guard Jamal Barney picked up the scoring slack in Harvey’s absence.
  • Manhattan – Tough stretch of one win in three outings with the losses by a combined total of four points. Jaspers led Rider by 16 only to fall on a tip in with less than ten seconds remaining.  Junior guard Rico Pickett had a very impressive three game stretch averaging 24 PPG. Pickett had a career high 29 points in a narrow loss to Fairfield on Sunday. The lone win, a decisive 76-53 conquest of St.Peter’s last Friday.
  • Marist – Dropped all three games, losing to St.Peter’s and Canisius as well as a non-league meeting with Princeton. Freshmen led in scoring each of the three outings. No surprise as 59% of the Marist point production has come from freshmen. Candin Rusin, a freshman guard, has been hitting well beyond the arc. Overall, youth and the reliance on the perimeter have made the going tough in Poughkeepsie.
  • NiagaraBilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis continue to excel. Benn is averaging a double-double (14.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) and only Ohio State’s Evan Turner averages more points, rebounds and assists than the Niagara senior. In a two-OT loss at St.Peter’s Lewis had four at halftime and finished with 27 points. His trey with just under two seconds left forced OT. In the extra sessions he continued to be a dangerous scoring factor scoring 11 of his 27 points.
  • Rider – Dropped a home game to Iona. Previously the Broncs had captured 26 of their last 31 at home. They get a quick opportunity to avenge that loss as they travel to New Rochelle to face the Gaels on MLK day. There’s not an official category but Junior Mike Ringgold has more offensive rebounds (70) than anyone else in conference. He had a huge one on a tip in with 6 seconds to go that allowed Rider to edge Manhattan in Riverdale. Justin Robinson leads the MAAC in free throw shooting (.905) but his consecutive streak of made charity tosses ended at 26. Final rebounding note… junior Novar Gadsen is the only MAAC player with over 100 (104) defensive boards.
  • St. Peter’s - Defeated Marist, lost at Manhattan and came home for a thrilling two-OT win against Niagara. Latter win was significant as St. Peter’s was coming off their worst effort in over a year per coach John Dunne. Nick Leon paced St. Peter’s with 29 points while Wesley Jenkins added 27. Ryan Bacon continues to contribute solid inside play for the Peacocks. Interesting weekend to watch as St. Peter’s travels to Rider on Friday and hosts Loyola Sunday.
  • Siena – Win over Canisius on Monday was their 30st straight at the Times Union Center.  Saints have won 30 of their last 32 against MAAC schools. Edwin Ubiles is scoring and accurate. He’s hitting 54% from the field over the last eight games. Continued excellence at the points is another strong spot for the Saints. Ronald Moore leads the nation with 8.6 APG and in the last 48 games had one outing with more turnovers than assists. Beside leading the MAAC in categories as scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage… Siena leads in attendance with 7,772 fans  per game at the Times Union Center.

Upcoming games

January 16

  • Niagara at Iona
  • Siena at Fairfield

January 18

  • Rider at Iona
  • Canisius at Fairfield

January 22

  • St.Peter’s at Niagara
  • Rider at Canisius
  • Iona at Manhattan

January 23

  • Loyola at Marist

January 24

  • St.Peter’s at Canisius
  • Fairfield at Iona
  • Siena at Manhattan
  • Rider at Niagara
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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 2nd, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Just before the New Year teams rounded out the non-conference schedule before MAAC play heats up not long after the ball drops in Times Square. The significant contest of note was two days before Christmas as Siena ‘held serve’ defeating conference contender Rider in a game at Albany.

The other big news came in the boardroom not on the court. The MAAC weighed bids and decided to award their championships to the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The tournament will be held there 2012-14. In choosing the 8,000 seat facility, MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor wanted a truly neutral site. Ensor feels the facility is in proximity to member schools and the conference can draw at a locale where a member school does not use as a home facility on a full or part-time basis. The Basketball Hall of Fame in the same city is prepared to help setting up a special exhibit regarding MAAC history.

A tempo-free look at defensive efficiency. The metric is simply points per possession allowed multiplied by 100. The average possessions per game for the respective teams is noted in the first column. This includes all games. The next time out we will focus on MAAC play only as everyone will have at least four conference games in the books which should allow us to see trends start to take shape. Again, stats are courtesy of Basketball State.

St.Peter’s was sort of a surprise though the 6-6 record is deceiving as John Dunne’s club had a few tough losses. Niagara’s 96 is high but can be explained given the schedule and injuries. The fact that the Purple Eagles have been able to weather those setbacks (notably injuries to Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis) and find a way to start 2-0 in conference play (9-5 overall) speaks volumes of their resiliency and the job coach Joe Mihalich is doing.

Milestones

  • Rider junior Justin Robinson leads the MAAC in free throw shooting and is 17th nationally.
  • Tyrone Lewis is four steals away from setting the all-time record at Niagara. Lewis is five assists from becoming the 5th MAAC player in history to record 2,000 points, 200 assists and 200 steals.
  • In Canisius’ 63-48 win over New Orleans, the 48 points marked the lowest total allowed by the Griff defense since last century. Fairfield scored 45 on February 8,1997 in a Canisius victory .
  • Derek Needham of Fairfield is second in conference scoring (15.8) and assist (6.1) totals.

MAAC Co-Players of the Week :

  • Brett Harvey (G), Loyola – Led the Greyhounds to a big 72-67 upset at Indiana. Harvey scored nine of his game high 25 points down the stretch as Loyola sealed the victory. He added four assists and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
  • Alex Franklin (F), Siena – Scored 22 points (9 of 13 shooting) and added 11 rebounds in the Saints’ big victory over conference contender Rider in Albany. It was Franklin’s second double-double of the season.

Rookie of the Week. Rashard McGill (G), Iona - Averaged 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds off the bench in a win over FDU and a loss at UConn.  McGill scored his career-high 12 points in the game against the nationally ranked Huskies on Sunday.

Team Breakdowns

  • Canisius - Finished second at the Southern Miss Christmas Classic by winning two out of three games in the round-robin event. Canisius fell to North Florida but defeated Southern Mississippi and New Orleans. The loss was Southern Mississippi’s first in the three years of the event. Senior guard Frank Turner continued his outstanding play, averaging 19 points for the three games. A good sign is scoring help from junior forward Elton Frazier who had 17 in the New Orleans game and averages 11 ppg on the season.
  • Fairfield - Derek Needham is now second in conference scoring with 15.8 ppg. Needham is one of two Fairfield players to start all eleven games to date and have double figures scoring in ten of them. Not just a scorer, the freshman guard averages 6.1 assists per outing. Fairfield owns a 5-0 home record to date. The Stags played Holy Cross, Fordham and St.Francis (NY) at the on campus facility, Alumni Hall.
  • Iona – Started a six-game road trip, the season’s longest, with an 82-60 win at FDU. That was followed by a 93-74 setback at UConn. Sophomore Scott Machado and freshman Rashard McGill were the only Gaels to average double figures for the two games. Machado has shown no signs of a sophomore jinx and has displayed the ability to hand out assists as well as score. Senior Milan Prodanovic knocked down five three-pointers, accounting for all of his 15 points in the win at FDU.
  • Loyola - The Greyhounds had never defeated a Big Ten team in eight tries. Number nine was the one as they defeated Indiana 72-67 in Bloomington. Loyola led by 24 the first half before the Hoosiers came back and held a three-point lead in the stretch. Resiliency and senior guard Brett Harvey secured the victory, Loyola scored 10 of the game’s last 12 points with Harvey scoring nine of them. Harvey finished with a game high 25 points, added five assists and had two four-point plays the second half.
  • Manhattan – The Jaspers have spent virtually the entire month on the road. After the New Year the trek  continues with a visit to Marist January 2nd before returning to the friendly confines of Draddy Gymnasium. Darryl Crawford and Antoine Pearson have been steady contributors. Of late, Manhattan is also getting contributions from upperclassmen Patrick Bouli and Andrew Gabriel. The Jaspers had their longest layoff of the season going from December 19 until December 30 between games.
  • Marist - Dropped their first nine games. Freshmen are getting most of the minutes, 24 of the first 45 starts, and account for 55% of the team’s scoring those initial nine outings. First year point guard Delvin Price had a recent three-game run with a 9:4 A/TO ratio. Veteran contributions are coming for the Red Foxes as well. Sophomore guard RJ Hall returned to the lineup after sitting out the first semester due to academics. Hall, a solid performer at guard last year, scored nine points and had four assists in a recent loss to Lehigh. Junior guard Daye Kaha scored  a team high 11 off the bench in that same contest.
  • Niagara – Came back from 19 down to defeat rival St. Bonaventure. Niagara was without the services of All-MAAC performer Bilal Benn. The Purple Eagles, in fact,  have played eight of the first dozen games minus a first team all-conference performer as Tyrone Lewis missed a few contests earlier in the season. Senior sixth man Demetrius Williamson has answered the call filling in for injured teammates and posting 12 points per game. He had a career high 22 against St. Bonaventure and hit several crucial threes down the stretch.
  • Rider - There is something about 8-6. Rider’s loss to Siena just before Christmas to drop to 8-6. Rider was 8-6 last year then proceeded to win 10 of 13 down the stretch and be selected for postseason play. Rider was 8-6 in ‘08 and finished with 23 wins. The Broncs were 8-6 in ‘07 and doubled the win total from the previous year. So 8-6 is no cause for immediate concern. Rider has won 15 of its last 22 (.682) regular season MAAC games. Mike Ringgold had a double-double at Siena with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
  • St. Peter’s – Traveled to Piscataway and came out on the short end of a 66-42 decision at the hands of Rutgers. In that contest, the Scarlet Knights rejected 18 St. Peter’s shots. A positive note was Steven Samuels who led St.Peter’s with 14 points and 7 rebounds. The Peacocks bounced back for a road win at Stony Brook on Monday. Wesley Jenkins leads the team (13.7 ppg) in scoring while Nick Leon has contributed steadily from his guard spot. Darius Conley has also been a factor off the bench.
  • Siena – Drew first blood in conference action knocking off contender Rider 84-62 in a pre-Christmas meeting in Albany. LaSalle transfer Kyle Griffin saw his first action in a Siena uniform. Griffin, coming off three knee surgeries, played both guard positions and scored five points in 13 minutes. Griffin will contribute and add depth to what is undoubtedly the MAAC’s best starting five unit. The senior lead guard is running away with the national assist race. Moore, at last count, was averaging 8.4 assists per game. With the likes of Alex Franklin and Edwin Ubiles, Moore has capable teammates that are converting his passes.

ON TAP…

January 2

  • Rider at Loyola
  • Iona at Niagara
  • Manhattan at Marist
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Siena

January 4

  • Marist at St. Peter’s
  • Fairfield at Niagara
  • Siena at Loyola
  • Iona at Canisius

January 6

  • Princeton at Marist

January 9

  • Canisius at Marist
  • Niagara at Siena
  • Iona at Rider

January 11

  • Niagara at St. Peter’s

To all A Happy and prosperous New Year…

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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on November 22nd, 2009

checkinginon

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences,

NEW YORK CITY – The consensus is Siena is the favorite. Judging by early returns, hold off on engraving the championship trophy and sending it to Albany.

MAAC STANDINGS

  1. Iona                       2-0
  2. Siena                     2-0
  3. Rider                     2-1
  4. Fairfield                2-1
  5. Loyola                   2-1
  6. Manhattan         1-1
  7. Niagara                 1-1
  8. St. Peter’s            1-1
  9. Canisius                0-1
  10. Marist                   0-2

PLAYER of THE WEEK: Mike Ringgold 6’7 JR F, Rider. Ringgold scored 21 points and added 6 rebounds in the big victory over # 18 Mississippi State.

ROOKIE of the WEEK: Derek Needham 5’11 FR G, Fairfield. The Stags entered the season looking for help at the guard spot. Needham is filling the bill. Over the first two games, the Dalton, Illinois native averaged 16 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #15 – MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 22nd, 2009

seasonpreview

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.   Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Siena                15-3
  2. Niagara            14-4
  3. Rider                13-5
  4. Fairfield           12-6
  5. St.Peter’s          10-8
  6. Manhattan        9-9
  7. Iona                  8-10
  8. Loyola              7-11
  9. Canisius           6-12
  10. Marist             4-14

All-Conference:

  • Ryan Thompson (G/F), 6’6 Sr., Rider
  • Ronald Moore (G), 6’0 Sr., Siena
  • Tyrone Lewis (G), 5’11 Sr., Niagara
  • Edwin Ubiles (G/F), 6’6 Sr. , Siena
  • Ryan Rossiter (C), 6’9 Jr., Siena

6th Man: Owen Wignot (F), 6’6 So., Siena

Impact Newcomer: Rico Pickett (G), 6’4 Jr., Manhattan

maac logo

What you need to know.

  • The MAAC is a ten member conference that hosts games from cozy campus locales to public arenas as Madison Square Garden, Arena at Harbor Yards and Times-Union Center to name a few.
  • Once again the conference will host the Old Spice Classic. The eight team event is November 26 through 29 at the Milk House Arena located in the Walt Disney World Resort Complex. Iona represents the MAAC with Alabama, Baylor, Creighton, Florida State, Marquette, Michigan and Xavier rounding out an impressive field.
  • Rivalries are huge. The charter membership gave us two games in the classic ‘Battle of the Bronx’ with Manhattan and Fordham. Iona and Fordham also got the pulse beating quicker. Membership has altered over the years but rivalries, largely due to geography and tradition,  still are a big part of the MAAC. There’s Iona-Manhattan. Upstate is Niagara-Canisius, a ‘holy war’ from the old Little Three Days. Then there’s Marist-Siena. The latter has the upper hand of late but that’s another meeting where you throw the records out the window. Bragging rights are at stake.
  • Iona captured the first title in 1982 with an overtime victory over St.Peter’s. The semis and finals were at Meadowlands arena (now Izod Center) in East Rutherford, NJ.
  • Jeff Ruland did not play in the MAAC. The 1979-80 was his last in a Gael uniform but he is a part of MAAC history having returned to coach his alma mater and leading them to three MAAC championships.

Predicted Champion. Siena (NCAA #9). The Saints return four starters from a club that went to the second round and gave Louisville fits before exiting in a close contest. It was the second straight year the Saints earned a first round win in the NCAA Tournament.  The lone loss was 6’3 guard Kenny Hasbrouck. Beside being MAAC Player of the Year and a double digit scorer, Hasbrouck provided outstanding leadership and inspiration to Fran McCaffery’s club. Filling in his spot will be Clarence Jackson, a dangerous three point shooter who can create his own shot. Ronald Moore, an outstanding lead guard, triggers the attack. The Ryan Rossiter, Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin backcourt is hands down the conference’s best. McCaffery has a habit of scheduling higher level opponents, usually on the road. It’s paid off as the Saints are a confident, battle tested group. Come tournament time they enter a game planning to win not just hoping.  The mix of returning talent, recent success and proactive attitude make Siena the MAAC favorite.  Given their recent NCAA success and strength of schedule Siena could be a #6 or #7 seed if things go right.

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Checking in on the… MAAC

Posted by nvr1983 on January 10th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The race is slowly starting to take shape.

Siena 4-0
Niagara 3-0
Rider 3-0
Manhattan 2-2
Fairfield 2-2
Marist 2-2
Iona 1-3
Loyola 1-3
St.Peter’s 1-3
Canisius 0-4

Do the stats lie? Not really, but they need a closer look.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #17 – MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 26th, 2008

Ray Floriani from College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast (NEC) and Metro Atlantic Athletic (MAAC) conferences.

Predited Order of Finish:

  1. Siena    (15-3,  20-8)
  2. Niagara   (14-4,  21-10)
  3. Fairfield   (13-5,  19-10)
  4. Rider    (12-6,  19-10)
  5. Loyola (MD)   (11-7,  16-13)
  6. Manhattan   (9-9,  16-13)
  7. Iona   (7-11,  11-17)
  8. Canisius   (6-12,  10-19)
  9. St. Peter’s   (5-13,  11-18)
  10. Marist    (4-14,  10-20)

WYN2K. The MAAC was formed in the 80s and tipped off the 1981-82 season.  Yours truly covered the first MAAC contest ever, an Iona romp over Army at the Gaels’ Mulcahy Center. The MAAC began with six charter members – Army, Fairfield, Fordham,  Iona, Manhattan  and  St.Peter’s. Four schools – Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan  and St.Peter’s – remain from that original group as change has altered the league over the years. The conference tournament previously alternated between Buffalo and Albany, but two years ago it was in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Last year Albany, NY, hosted it and will once again showcase it come this March.  Some brief notes…

  • Siena, the defending champion, returns a strong cast with three players who could be considered for player of the year honors: 6-3 senior guard Kenny Hasbrouck, 6-6  forward Edwin Ubilies and 6-5 forward Alex Franklin, both  juniors.
  • Niagara’s fine junior guard Tyrone Lewis was MVP of the MAAC tournament as a freshman. Niagara captured the title in 2006-07.
  • Niagara and Canisius (the ‘dreaded’ western New York swing) are a few miles apart, but six of the league members – Rider, St.Peter’s, Iona, Manhattan, Fairfield and Rider – are within a 120 mile radius, which makes for a not too distant road trip.  

Predicted Champion.  Siena (#13 NCAA).  The Saints captured last season’s MAAC tournament championship, then gave a great showing in the NCAAs, as Siena defeated Vanderbilt 83-62 (see below) before falling to Villanova in the second round. That momentum of March should carry over into this year as coach Fran McCaffery has virtually everyone back.  Siena, in theory, could make this a two bid league.  If the Saints earn 15 or 16 conference wins, have a respectable non-conference showing against a murderous slate and get knocked out of the MAAC tournament, they could go as an at-large based on last year’s strong NCAA showing. That idea, however, is not one the competitive McCaffery is looking at as a realistic option, nor is it likely to happen.

  

Others Considered.  Niagara and Fairfield are the prime candidates. The Purple Eagles return an outstanding guard in junior Tyrone Lewis. Big East transfers Bilal Benn (Villanova), a 6-5 guard and 6-2 guard Rob Garrison (UConn) will contribute to a strong cast. Fairfield has a defensive reputation anchored by 6-8 junior Anthony Johnson (7.3 RPG and 43 blocks). Senior lead guard Jonathan Han is vital on offense. Han averaged 11.7 ppg while handing out 6 assists per outing. Rider is a dark horse. The Broncs have a sharpshooter in senior guard Harris Mansell (13.7 ppg) and return another Thompson. Ryan Thompson, Jason’s brother, is a 6-6 junior forward who is a strong player (15 ppg) in his own right. 

Key Games/RPI Boosters.

  • Rider @ St.Joseph’s  (11/14/08)
  • Fairfield @ Memphis  (11/15/08)
  • Niagara @ Villanova (Hoop Group Classic – Philadelphia)  (11/19/08)
  • Siena v. Tennessee  (Old Spice Classic) (11/27/08)
  • Marist @ Memphis  (12/2/08)
  • Rider v. Rutgers (Trenton)  (12/3/08)
  • Niagara @ Loyola (MD)  (12/7/08)
  • Seton Hall v. St.Peter’s (Jersey City)  (12/13/08)
  • Siena @ Pitt  (12/17/08)
  • Iona @ Ohio State  (12/20/08)
  • Marist @ St. John’s  (Holiday Festival)  (12/20-21/08)
  • Fairfield @ UConn  (12/26/08)
  • Loyola (MD) @ Duke  (12/31/08)
  • Siena @ Kansas  (1/6/09)
  • Manhattan v. Iona (MSG)  (1/24/09)
  • Siena @ Niagara  (2/27/09)
  • Loyola (MD) @ Iona  (3/1/09)

Neat-o-Stats.  

  • Jimmy Patsos has been on the job four years at Loyola (MD) and he has the second LONGEST tenure in the conference. The ‘grey beard’ among the group is Joe Mihalich who has been at Niagara for a decade.  Mihalich has only had one season below .500 during his tenure.
  • Siena committed only 11.1 turnovers per game last season. Their turnover rating (TO divided by possessions) was 15.4 (anything under 20.0 is excellent).
  • Niagara has won at least a dozen MAAC contests in 8 of the past 10 seasons. 

65 Team Era.  MAAC schools have been a traditionally tough out and in several cases, got a win under their belt before a competitive second round exit. The conference is 6-25 (.194) over the era, but two of those wins are from the PiG (2002 and 2007).  But in four of the last seven NCAA Tournaments, the MAAC has won a game in the Big Dance.  Last year Siena thoroughly dominated #4 Vanderbilt in the first round, which should help the Saints cause several ways this winter.  Besides Siena, LaSalle (1990) and Manhattan (1995 and 2004) were the other conference schools to post a first round NCAA win.   

Final Thoughts.  

  • It was ironic that NBA scouts monitored the progress of Rider big man Jason Thompson last winter because the MAAC, for years, has been known as a guard oriented league. Thompson was the twelfth player to go in last June’s NBA draft. 
  • The MAAC runs a unique postseason tournament (others conferences do it but there aren’t many) in that  both the men and women play their tournaments at the same site. This gives the true hoop junkie a chance to see each school’s program showcased on the men’s and women’s side. It also makes for a real ‘good feeling’ atmosphere that reaffirms what college athletics is all about.  It’s not uncommon to see a men’s team take a break from preparations to sit in the stands and cheer the women’s team on and vice versa.
  • Under the watch of veteran Commissioner Rich Ensor, the MAAC has been a pleasant media experience and the same for its fan base.
  • Cold winter nights at Manhattan’s Draddy Gym are classic.  Where else can you sit press row with the ‘ubiquitous’ Ronnie (the ultra Jasper supporter) on one side and the school’s president, Brother Thomas Scanlon, on the other?   
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