Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 16th, 2011

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

A Look Back

The MAAC race is about one-third complete. St. Peter’s weathered the re-injury to Wesley Jenkins to start 3-0. The road caught up with the Peacocks and two straight losses followed before they got back on track with a win over Niagara.

Fairfield and Iona are in a 5-1 dead heat for the top spot in the conference, with Rider and St. Peter’s just behind at 4-2. Siena’s regression after a lengthy reign as king of the hill has given way to parity.

There’s a lot of conference play remaining to watch, analyze and enjoy.

Power Rankings

1. Fairfield: (12-4, 5-1) Swept two conference games before dropping a Saturday game to Loyola (MD). The 59-44 victory at Marist preceded a surprisingly one-sided 70-43 decision over St. Peter’s. They average 65 possessions but were at a 59-possession pace both games. Defensive efficiency was outstanding with a 75 and 73 showing in the two games, respectively. Fairfield forced St. Peter’s into a 27% TO rate and Ed Cooley’s club enjoyed a 119 offensive efficiency in that contest.

Notable: MAAC Rookie of the Week Maurice Barrow, a 6’5 freshman forward, posted his first career double-double, with 11 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Niagara.

2. Iona: (4-1, 10-6 overall). Gaels swept two home games defeating St. Peter’s 70-52 and Loyola 86-68 and topped Rider in overtime on the road. Offensive efficiencies were outstanding with 111, 119 and 118 in the three games. Defensive numbers in the first two games were excellent as well as the Gaels held the respective opposition to 82 and 94 efficiencies.

Notable: MAAC Player of the Week Mike Glover. Glover averaged 24 points and 11.3 rebounds over his last three games.

3. Rider: (12-6, 4-2) Rider swept the ‘Western swing’ with victories at Niagara (82-65) and Canisius (77-76). However, they went on to drop a frenzied 100-96 matchup to Iona in overtime. The Broncs have played seven straight games at over 100 offensive efficiency, posting 134, 122 and 117 OE marks for the respective games. Against Iona, Rider’s streak of five consecutive games with a TO rate under 20% was snapped.

Notable: Junior Novar Gadson scored on an offensive rebound at the buzzer to capture the one-point win at Canisius. Gadson had 16 points for the game and led the Broncs with 22 in the Iona barnburner.

4. St. Peter’s: (9-8, 4-2) Road was unkind as the Peacocks were knocked from the MAAC unbeatens. St. Peter’s dropped a 70-52 decision at Iona before Fairfield defeated them easily 70-43. The Peacocks then turned around to dispose of Niagara by 20. Efficiency told a big tale. In the first two games, St. Peter’s was 83 and 73 on offense, but the performance against Niagara signified a turnaround. Defensively, they were 111 and 119 in the losing efforts. The eFG percentage in the Fairfield game was only 30%, but 64.1% against Niagara. Another factor curtailing the offense was a TO rate exceeding 20% in all three meetings.

Notable: Senior Wesley Jenkins returned to the lineup and put up an astounding 31 points on Saturday, thanks largely to a white-hot 7-9 performance from three.

5. Marist: (4-14, 3-3) The Red Foxes have lost four of their last five games, but topped the Jaspers on the road. Marist had their best offensive efficiency, 112, of the season in the win over Manhattan. Turnovers continue to plague Marist. Their TO rate is 22% on the season and their rates were 31% (against Fairfield) and 24% in the Manhattan game.

Notable: Sophomore guard Sam Prescott scored 20 in the loss to Fairfield. It was the highest single game total by a Marist player this season.

6. Loyola: (7-9, 3-3) The Greyhounds won at Manhattan 82-67 before going to New Rochelle and dropping an 86-68 decision to Iona. They turned around to take a nailbiter against Fairfield, 66-65. Against Manhattan, the Greyhounds had their best offensive efficiency, 126, of the season. A 67 possession team, Loyola got into a 72 possession pace at Iona. It didn’t help at either end, as the offense showed a 94 efficiency and the defense was 119.

Notable: Junior guard J’hared Hall came off the bench to score a career high 23 points in the win over Manhattan. Against Fairfield, he buried a go-ahead three in the waning minutes to put the Greyhounds on top.

7. Siena: (6-10, 3-3) Their ‘western’ swing resulted in two losses. Siena dropped games at Canisius (62-61) and Niagara (69-55), but went on to top Marist. In the first two contests, the Saints offense was under 100 in offensive efficiency with a season low 77 at Niagara. And in the two games the TO rate surpassed 20% with a 27% showing, also at Niagara.

Notable: O.D. Anoskie had double-doubles on the ‘Western swing’. Anoskie scored 15 points and grabbed ten rebounds in the loss at Niagara. He also has just four turnovers in his last six games. Clarence Jackson missed six straight games with a sprained ankle, which has affected the Saint offense considerably.

8. Canisius: (8-8, 2-4) Split with a 62-61 win over Siena, snapping a three game conference skid. Followed up with a tough 77-76 loss to Rider and a 72-51 laugher over Manhattan. The Siena game saw the Griffs guilty of a 22% TO rate. Defensively, they forced the Saints into the same number, and put up a +33.7 efficiency margin against the Jaspers, their best mark of conference play. Against Rider the TO rate improved to 11% but the defensive efficiency was an overly generous 122.

Notable: In the win over Siena, sophomore guard Gabby Belardo hit a floater in the lane with 8.8 seconds reaming to give Canisius the lead. Senior Tomas Vazquez-Simmons rejected a last second shot at the other end to seal the victory.

9. Niagara: (4-14, 1-5) Two home games saw a split, and the Purple Eagles remain without a conference road win after dropping a 77-57 game to St. Peter’s. The Rider game saw an offensive efficiency of 107 and TO rate of 12%. On the defensive side, Niagara gave up a 134 efficiency to the Broncs. Against Siena the offensive efficiency was 97 and TO rate 27%. Purple Eagles held Siena in check allowing a 77 defensive efficiency mark.

Notable: Senior Anthony Nelson registered his fourth career double-double in the win over Siena. Nelson scored 30 points, had ten assists and grabbed eight rebounds.

10. Manhattan: (2-15, 0-6) Still winless in the MAAC, the Jaspers dropped a 65-59 home decision to Marist. Manhattan then took a non-conference break with a 57-50 loss at Florida Atlantic. A 71-52 loss to Canisius didn’t make for a happy return. The Jaspers average 64 possessions and applied the brakes even further with 58 possessions each of the last two games. Against Marist, the defense, a 112 efficiency and 55% eFG mark, were responsible for the setback.

Notable: Freshman point guard Michael Alvarado missed the last two games with an injury, but returned against Canisius. Sophomore guard George Beamon continues to provide offensive support. Beamon averages 15.3 PPG (fifth in the MAAC) and 6.9 rebounds.

 

A Look Ahead

January 17:

  • Niagara at Manhattan
  • Loyola at St. Peters
  • Canisius at Siena
  • Fairfield at Rider

January 20:

  • Marist at Rider
  • Manhattan at Loyola

January 21:

  • Fairfield at Canisius
  • Siena at St. Peter’s

January 22:

  • Loyola at Marist

January 23:

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

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 19th, 2010

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

A Look Back

Two conference games are in the books for every team. MAAC play will resume after the new year, but early returns show Marist undefeated. No, we are not talking about Brian Giorgis’ women’s team. The unblemished group is Chucky Martin’s club, 2-0 and after one weekend, they’ve doubled their win total of a year ago. Can they stay around and be a factor? Probably not. Suffice it to say, conference teams are now considering their trip to the Hudson Valley in a different light.

Power Rankings

1. Fairfield: (7-3, 2-0) In the midst of a six-game win streak which includes conference wins at home against Loyola and on the road at Siena. The Siena game, a 72-55 decision, saw the Stags post outstanding efficiency numbers on both ends. The offense was 108 while the defense sported a lockdown 82. Offensive rebounding percentage has been a strong suit as Fairfield holds a 35%-31% edge in that category.

Notable: Ryan Olander scored 17 points and pulled down ten boards in the win over Holy Cross. It was the 6’11 junior’s second double-double in a four game stretch.

2. Iona: (7-3, 2-0 overall) The Gaels ran their win streak to seven games with conference conquests of Niagara and Canisius and non-league wins over Long Island and Fairleigh Dickinson. The efficiency margin is an impressive +11 with an OE of 108 and DE 97. The Gaels are also forcing opponents into a 24% TO rate. Each of the last seven games saw Iona post an offensive efficiency of 100 or better with, most recent, a 121 in the 87-66 win over FDU.

Notable: Junior Mike Glover continues to excel for the Gaels. Glover earned conference Co-Player of the Week honors, averaging 24 PPG, 11 rebounds and shooting 69% from the floor the past two games. A test against Syracuse awaits Saturday.

3. St.Peter’s: (5-4, 2-0) A three-game win streak includes MAAC conquests at Loyola and against Manhattan. The Peacocks also came from behind to edge Wagner 51-50 in Staten Island. Offensive efficiency, overall, is very low at 86. The defensive efficiency is a better than average 93. Turnover rate of 23% and offensive rebound percentage are the main setbacks on offense. John Dunne’s crew is grabbing 27.7% of the offensive boards while opponents are at 36.3%.

Notable: Senior guard Nick Leon paced the Peacocks in the come-from-behind win at Wagner. St.P eter’s trailed by 14 with just over 11 minutes remaining.

4. Marist: (2-9, 2-0) The Red Foxes swept their home dates with Niagara and Canisius. Following the conference wins, Marist dropped games on the road to Rutgers and Vermont while losing to Lehigh at home. Up-tempo play was the key in the two conference wins. For the year, Marist averages 71 possessions with an OE of 87. In the two MAAC meetings the numbers reflected an average pace of 79 possessions and an OE of 97.

Notable: Freshman forward Menelik Watson earned conference Rookie of the Week plaudits for a three-game stretch in which he averaged 11 points per game to go with 4.7 boards. Watson also shot 57% from the field for those three contests. Junior guard R.J. Hall pitched in 13.3 PPG and five assists the last three games

5. Rider: (7-5, 1-1) The Broncs of Lawrenceville defeated UMBC 81-39 while losing to Pitt 87-68 and in overtime, 71-67 at Drexel. Rider posted an off-the-charts +62 efficiency margin against UMBC. Rider was 120 in offensive efficiency and 58 defensively. Averaging 66 possessions on the year, they pushed it to 73 possessions against Drexel, Rider’s fastest matchup to date this season. They struggled on the offensive end with a 92 efficiency mark.

Notable: Junior Brandon Penn and senior Mike Ringgold combined for 33 points at Drexel. The pair, enjoying a homecoming, are both Philadelphia natives.

6. Siena: (3-6, 1-1) The Saints snapped a two-game losing streak with a 72-69 win over Florida Atlantic. Included was a MAAC loss to Fairfield in a rematch of last March’s conference championship game. Their TO rate is a bit high at 21.5%, but was only 14% in the win over FAU. Saints average 100.7 OE however the 72-55 Fairfield loss saw their lowest OE of the season at 82.

Notable: Clarence Jackson was a bright spot with 14 points against Fairfield. Jonathan Breeden got the start over Rakeem Brookins (due to illness reasons) at the point in the Fairfield game. Breeden scored nine points in 16 minutes.

7. Canisius: (4-5, 0-2) The Golden Griffins dropped three of the last four, including conference games at Marist and Iona. Offense is one of the bigger problems. Griffs have an OE of 95, and part of the reason is a TO rate of 24% and an eFG percentage of 47%. Defensive efficiency is a spot-on average 100. Not a bad mark, but the defensive TO rate is 20%, meaning opponents are not seeing pressure on the defensive end and Canisius is losing opportunities to score off forced turnovers.

Notable: In a win at South Dakota, sophomore Alshwan Hymes notched career highs in scoring (18 points) and three pointers made (four).

8. Loyola: (4-5, 0-2) Jimmy Patsos’ boys halted a three-game losing streak with a 65-42 pasting of Mount St. Mary’s. Included in that streak were conference losses to St. Peter’s and at Fairfield. Doing a good job defensively, the Greyhounds hold opponents to 93 DE. The offense is struggling, with an OE of 96. Basically, it is an issue of simply putting the ball in the basket as the eFG percentage is a paltry 44%.

Notable: Shane Walker, a junior forward, captured the conference Co-Player of the Week distinction with an 18/10 norm for the week. Walker had double-doubles in both outings for the Greyhounds.

9. Niagara: (3-7, 0-2) Like Loyola, Niagara put a losing skid to bed, with a 69-61 win at St. Bonaventure. Included in the losses were conference setbacks at Marist and Iona. In the Bonaventure game, Niagara posted their best OE of the season, 103. The defense posted an outstanding DE mark of 91. The turnover rate of 18% given a quick pace of 72 possessions per game, is also a plus. Offensive rebounding is a definite sore spot. The Purple Eagles have a severe deficit with a 28% compared to opposition 39.7% offensive rebounding percentage.

Notable: Junior forward Kashief Edwards paced Niagara with 18 points in a loss to Buffalo. Purple Eagles now have eight straight wins over ‘Little Three’ rival St. Bonaventure.

10. Manhattan: (3-8, 0-2) The Jaspers have had a rough go of it, dropping conference games to Rider and St. Peter’s before losing to Fordham and Binghamton. Manhattan has now lost eight straight. Their pace is a modest 64 possessions per game but the efficiency margin is a -18. Coach Rohrssen’s team has struggled on both ends of the floor. Offensively, a 20% TO rate is a positive. Their finished possessions do not render much however with an OE of 92, largely due to 42% eFG shooting.

Notable: Sophomore guard George Beamon had 12 points and11 boards in the ‘Battle of the Bronx’ setback at Fordham. Beamon has four double-doubles on the season.

A Look Ahead

  • On Saturday, the MAAC takes on the Big East, as Loyola gets a crack at Georgetown, while Iona makes a trip to Syracuse. Iona nearly upset the Orange in the 1998 Tournament, but Jim Boeheim’s troops were bailed out by a three in the waning seconds.
  • Now that finals are over, we get back to basketball, with challenges such as Fairfield hosing Vermont (12/20), Georgia Tech making a trip to Siena (12/22), and Fairfield getting a shot at the Gators (12/29).
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Set Your Tivo: 12.13.10

Posted by Brian Otskey on December 13th, 2010

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Tonight begins a week of almost nothing of significance in the college basketball world. Many schools have finals this week resulting in the annual light schedule for this week.  All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

Florida Atlantic @ Siena – 7:30 pm on Time Warner Cable Sports (*)

Siena enters the game at 2-6 coming off three straight losses. The Saints were expected to contend at the top of the MAAC but they’ve looked ordinary so far. It would be foolish to write them off however as they have quality talent for a mid-major league, talent that’s experienced for the most part. Surprisingly, Siena is 0-4 at home under the direction of first year head coach Mitch Buonaguro. He does have two star players though as Ryan Rossiter and Clarence Jackson are back for their senior seasons in upstate New York. Rossiter has been outstanding, averaging 20/13. Those 13 rebounds are good enough for second in the country behind Kenneth Faried of Morehead State. A key matchup in this game will be Rossiter against FAU’s Kore White who had 18/8 in a win at Mississippi State and was 5-8 from the floor in a victory over South Florida. At 6’8/245, White possesses the height and strength to bang with the 6’9/235 Rossiter. The Owls are 5-4 against D1 competition and have won three straight, including the wins against MSU and USF. They’re led by former St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis who is trying to work his way back up the coaching ladder. Florida Atlantic takes good care of the ball, ranked eighth in offensive turnover percentage. They should win the turnover battle against a Siena team that averages 16 turnovers a game. Siena may be shorthanded as Owen Wignot missed their last game against Fairfield with a head injury. Wignot has been a valuable weapon, hitting 13 of his 21 three point attempts this season. Jarvis has a shooter of his own in leading scorer Gregg Gantt, averaging 15 PPG and 40% from three. The senior duo of Rossiter and Jackson should do most of the scoring for Siena and Rossiter should especially look to take advantage inside. FAU gives up 51% shooting from inside the arc on average but White should be able to contain him somewhat, at least you’d think so. This should be a pretty good game between two decent mid-major teams, despite Siena’s record.

Green Bay @ Wisconsin – 8 pm on Big Ten Network (*)

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Set Your Tivo: 11.23.10

Posted by Brian Otskey on November 23rd, 2010

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Two good games from both Kansas City and Maui involving six ranked teams lead tonight’s slate. Rankings as per the latest RTC Top 25. All times eastern.

Maui Invitational Semifinal: #3 Michigan State vs. Connecticut — 7 pm on ESPN (***)

It's Been Two Years Since These Teams Met in the F4

Each team played relatively close games yesterday. One was expected to, one was not. Connecticut got by Wichita State behind a 29-point second half from Kemba Walker. On the other hand, Michigan State actually trailed against Division II Chaminade for most of the first half and traded baskets with the Silverswords in the early part of the second half before pulling away with a 20-3 run and hanging on for an eight point win. Kalin Lucas was the star for the Spartans, scoring 28 points on 11-20 shooting. Lucas against Walker will be one of the better matchups of point guards you’ll see all season and it occurs here in late November. Walker is averaging 30 points in three games this year and is clearly Jim Calhoun’s go-to guy. Neither team played well defensively in their opening game in Maui but we don’t know if that can be attributed to the setting or maybe a lack of focus. Michigan State in particular, known for its tough defense and rebounding, had been playing well defensively coming into the game but gave up 46% shooting to Chaminade. This game will be a war on the boards as both coaches pride themselves on interior defense and rebounding. For Michigan State, the key could be shutting down Alex Oriakhi. Walker is going to get his share so if Tom Izzo’s big men can lock up the Connecticut sophomore big man, the Huskies will need someone else to step up because Walker won’t be able to do it all himself against a team as good as MSU. UConn is going to have to shoot the three ball very well in order to win, something Walker has struggled with throughout his career (35.3% this year however). Averaging 17 turnovers per game, the Spartans have to protect the ball against a Connecticut team that would like to get out in transition in order to prevent Michigan State from settling in on defense. Anything can happen in an early season tournament on a neutral floor but Michigan State should win this game.

CBE Classic Consolation: #23 Gonzaga vs. Marquette – 7:45 pm on ESPNU (****)

These two teams get together tonight heading in opposite directions. Gonzaga was flat out exposed, but not just by Kansas State last night. San Diego State also took care of the Bulldogs in the Kennel last week. Gonzaga has no clear point guard and that’s forcing Steven Gray to handle the ball much more than he should, often resulting in turnovers. Gray turned it over six times last night and as a team the Zags had 16 turnovers. Gonzaga also was dominated on the glass, not a good combination when you can’t stop anybody either. That was just the case as Kansas State shot 51% for the game. They now face a Marquette team brimming with confidence after a competitive loss to #1 Duke last night, a game we told you would be closer than you thought in this very feature 24 hours ago. MU was led by Jimmy Butler’s 22/6. We don’t know why people always underestimate Buzz Williams and his team as they have an awful lot of talent and looked like a top 25 team yesterday. Marquette may not actually be a top 25 team yet but they’re knocking on the door. A win tonight against Gonzaga should earn them some votes next week, if not actually make it in. The Golden Eagles turned Duke over 19 times, something that probably kept Mark Few tossing and turning in bed last night. Marquette needs a better outing from Darius Johnson-Odom and they should get it against the suspect Bulldog defense. The junior guard was just 1-6 from three and 4-15 overall. As a team, MU shot a dreadful 4-20 from deep, often leading to long rebounds and transition opportunities for Duke. One thing going for Gonzaga is their front court going up against Marquette’s interior. While they have defended fairly well in terms of two point FG% against, Mason Plumlee went off in the second half against the weaker Marquette bigs. Gonzaga has guys such as Robert Sacre who can score in the post and that will pose a problem for Buzz Williams. That said, we expect Marquette to turn Gonzaga over enough to win by getting more field goal opportunities. Gonzaga is not going to win many games against top competition until their point guard situation is under control.

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After the Buzzer: Paul Hewitt Provides Season’s First (mini) RTC

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2010

Your Watercooler Moment.  Yes, Paul Hewitt is still at Georgia Tech, and yes, the Ramblin’ Wreck is still one.  If your memory was hazy as to why major conference schools don’t like visiting mid-majors on their home floors, Kennesaw State’s blitzing of Georgia Tech tonight, 80-63, is your reminder.  But be honest — have you even heard of Kennesaw State before?  The Owls joined Division I a mere five years ago and its best win in five-plus years of basketball at the highest collegiate level was a two-point victory over conference rival Belmont in 2007-08.  It’s quite a leap to go from sneaking by a mid-100s RPI conference opponent to obliterating an ACC foe from start to finish, even one as generally unpredictable and disappointing as Georgia Tech, but the sellout crowd at the school a half-hour north of Atlanta loved it.  Kennesaw State took a fourteen-point lead into the half, and except for a couple of minor pushes by the Jackets, they were never truly threatened tonight.  Paul Hewitt reportedly has a huge buyout in his contract, but we figure eventually Georgia Tech is going to tire of year after year of mediocrity despite the lure and promise of star recruits coming onto campus, right?  We think there’s no greater tell of the abilities of Hewitt to get it done at Georgia Tech than the fact that he’s never in ten years in Atlanta finished better than 9-7 in the ACC — and he’s only done that once (in 2004).  And consider the players who have come through GT: Chris Bosh, Jarrett Jack, Will Bynum, Javaris Crittenton, Anthony Morrow, Thaddeus Young, Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal.  Only a handful of schools nationally have put more players into the NBA than Paul Hewitt, yet this surfeit of talent simply hasn’t translated to success at the collegiate level.  He needs to go, and this loss may have been the ugly slap to the face that Tech administrators need to finally cut him loose.

Hewitt Has No Answers (AJC/C. Compton)

Tonight’s Hits…

  • Mini-RTC at Kennesaw State.  Honestly, we’re not sure when a school like Kennesaw would get another shot at something like this, so we’re somewhat shocked that the entire student body wasn’t immediately on the floor after the final buzzer.  Maybe they’re still new to this whole basketball thing.  Nevertheless, there was a mini-RTC of which we found photographic evidence.  If anyone has a better photo or can show more students filling the floor, we’ll count it as a full one, and the first of the 2010-11 season.

There Was a Mini-RTC at Kennesaw Tonight

  • Clarence Jackson. During several portions of tonight’s Siena game at Minnesota, it appeared that the confident Jackson was going to win the game all by himself.  He had 29/5/4 assts including five threes and if he’d gotten any help from his teammates — he had more FGs and points than the other four starters combined — Siena may have been able to walk out of the Barn with a big win.
  • Fordham’s Streak. It took 322 days and 23 games but the nation’s current longest losing streak ended tonight when Fordham defeated Sacred Heart, 69-51.  Good for those guys, and even better that they really did it in a convincing fashion.  Chris Gaston had 12/17/4 blks.
  • Nikola Vucevic. Could be one of the more underrated and unknown big men in the nation — through two games the USC forward is averaging 21/13 against not-terrible competition (UC Irvine and Santa Clara).
  • Double Your Morris Trouble. The Kansas twins Marcus and Markieff Morris both had dub-dubs tonight — Marcus went for 22/11 while his brother dropped 12/13 in an easy win over Valparaiso.  The win was also KU’s 61st consecutive home victory, one short of its all-time record.  Watch out, North Texas (Friday night’s opponent).
  • Atlantic Sun! Just a few days after Stetson took out Wake Forest, Kennesaw State did the same to Georgia Tech.  What’s the lesson here?  Maybe yellow and gold teams shouldn’t play A-Sun squads?  Or maybe those ACC teams are really struggling right now.
  • Oakland.  The Golden Grizzlies going into the MAC favorite’s gym and easily dispatching them after getting rolled up over the weekend by WVU was an impressive win, and the kind of thing that will be very helpful come March.  Keith Benson didn’t even play all that well (10/6/3 blks while in foul trouble), but OU was still able to win easily.
  • Steve Lavin. Lavin gets a nod here for having the cojones to schedule his team to play 3,000 miles away in a bandbox gym at 2 am ET.  This was going to almost assuredly be a loss for his team, but we have a sneaky suspicion that putting his players through this will be a good learning and bonding experience for them that will help come the rigors of Big East play later this year.

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RTC Conference Primers: #15 – MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 21st, 2010

Ray Floriani of NBE Basketball Report and College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Predicted Order of Finish

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

All Conference Team

  • Derek Needham (G) – Fairfield
  • Ryan Rossiter (F) – Siena
  • Wesley Jenkins (G) – St.Peter’s
  • Scott Machado (G) –  Iona
  • Julius Coles (G) – Canisius

Top Newcomer

Mike Glover (F) - Iona. Glover,  a 6’7 transfer from Seton Hall is eligible at Iona this season and is the newcomer pick here. He’ll certainly get the opportunity to excel as the Gaels need steady contributions up front.

Averaging 16.4 points per game as a freshman last season, Fairfield's Derek Needham may be the MAAC's best player. (Brian A. Pounds/Connecticut Post)

Predicted Champion: Fairfield (NCAA Seed: #14) – They nearly won the conference in 2010 and are the favorite entering this campaign. The Stags were twenty minutes away from an upset and ticket to the Big Dance, but Siena rallied to capture the MAAC Tournament crown in overtime. If the Stags won the game, it would have been labeled an upset by traditional fans, but not in the eyes of those who follow the MAAC closely. Fairfield was that good. They return a big reason for their success last year in point guard Derek Needham. The freshman prodigy was one of the best players in the MAAC and will play a vital role in the Fairfield attack. Anthony Johnson, a solid inside player, is gone. Coach Ed Cooley hopes some of the injury problems of last year have exited as well. Newcomers Maurice Barrow and Keith Matthews will inject some fresh talent. Read the rest of this entry »

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First Round Game Analysis: Friday Afternoon

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2010

Over the next two days in a series of separate posts, RTC will break down all 32 of the first round games using our best analytical efforts to understand these teams, the matchups and their individual strengths and weaknesses.  Our hope is that you’ll let us know in the comments where you agree, disagree or otherwise think we’ve lost our collective minds.  Here are the Friday afternoon games.


12:15 pm – #2 West Virginia vs. #15 Morgan State  (Buffalo pod)

West Virginia enters the NCAA Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the nation. They squeaked out an enormous road win at Villanova to end the regular season then swept through Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Georgetown en route to a Big East championship riding the heroics of Da’Sean Butler. The Mountaineers are an extremely gifted rebounding team; in fact, sometimes their best offense comes after a missed shot. They feature multiple weapons that can step out and shoot a mid-range jumper or three from Wellington Smith to Kevin Jones to the all-around dynamo Butler. Also, few teams can match West Virginia’s intensity in the halfcourt defensively. Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman will need a gigantic scoring output from their own star, Baltimore native Reggie Holmes. Holmes scored 25 or more points fifteen times this season, averaging 21.3 PPG and ranking in the top-50 in percentage of shots taken. The Bears also feature a rugged forward named Kevin Thompson who comes in at fifth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage. In fact, Morgan State ranks 11th in the country as a team in that very category. Unfortunately for the underdogs, West Virginia is never outworked on the glass, not with Jones, Devin Ebanks and Bob Huggins prominently involved.

The Skinny: This one shouldn’t be close from the tip. Morgan State dominated the MEAC all season, but West Virginia is flying high at this point. Expect the Mountaineers to dominate by 25-30 points.

12:25 pm – #6 Xavier vs. #11 Minnesota  (Milwaukee pod)

The answer to which team will win this game depends entirely on which Gopher team shows up to play in Milwaukee.  Will it be the defensive juggernaut that held Purdue to 11 first  half points last Saturday, or will it be the team that got obliterated by Ohio State 52-29 in the second half on Sunday?  Tubby Smith’s team has been schizophrenic like that all year, following up strong wins with disastrous performances (two losses to Michigan?  really?), which probably explains why they were a bubble team up until Sunday evening.  Xavier comes into this one with the stronger resume, but it’s difficult to say if the Musketeers are the better team.  When he plays under control, XU’s Jordan Crawford is a talent, and his supporting case of Jason Love on the interior and Terrell Holloway running the show makes for nice balance throughout the Xavier lineup.  The question we have is who will win the defensive battle, though.  Xavier defends the three really well, while Minnesota behind Blake Hoffarber and Lawrence Westbrook both shoot it equally as well.  This game is essentially a tossup (Vegas agrees, setting Minny as a one-point favorite), and we really liked the first seven halves of basketball that the Gophers put up in Indianapolis on a neutral floor last week, so we’re going with the extremely mild 6/11 upset here, in a close game that comes down to the last possession. 

The Skinny: Despite the seedings, this is a tossup game and we like the Gophers to win it on the last possession. 

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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 28th, 2010

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – The regular schedule winds up this weekend with the postseason tournament beginning on Friday in Albany. Siena is in the driver’s seat as regular season champion, top tournament seed and host of the get together in New York’s capitol city.  The Saints’ BracketBuster setback at Butler all but insures Siena will have to cut down the nets at the Times Union Center to get to the Big Dance. Something they are in very favorable position to do.

Player of the Week: Ryan Thompson (G/F), Rider - Averaged 29.5 PPG, 4.5 rebounds and assists in two games. Scored 21 in a win at St.Peter’s and followed up with a carrer-high 38 in an OT loss at Hofstra.

Rookie of the Week: Colin Nickerson (G), Fairfield – Averaged 16.5 PPG and shot 65% from the field in two games for the Stags. Set a career high of 13 against Manhattan than surpassed it with 20 points at Vermont.

Milestones and Notes

  • Iona’s nine conference wins is the fifth highest total since the Gaels started MAAC play in 1981-82.
  • Derek Needham set the freshman scoring record at Fairfield. Needham broke the mark of 427 set by Fordham assistant Joe DeSantis in 1976.
  • Frank Turner of Canisius enters the final weekend with 593 career assists leaving him just shy of being the seventh MAAC player to hand out 700 assists. Turner tied the school record with 121 games played, a mark he is set to eclipse this weekend.
  • Ryan Thompson, with 1,809 career points, is fourth on Rider’s all time scoring list. Older brother Jason (‘08) is in third at 2.040 points.
  • Speaking of Rider, juniors Mike Ringgold, Justin Robinson and Jharmar Youngblood all joined the school’s 900-point club recently.
  • St. Peter’s’ fifteen victories is the most in four years. Ten MAAC wins is the best showing since the 2004-05 campaign.
  • On Senior Day at Siena this Sunday, the school will honor the most successful senior class in program history.

Team Breakdowns

  • Canisius – Improved to 4-1 all time in BracketBusters with a win over James Madison. The victory gave Canisius its 13th win, the most in Tom Parrotta’s four year tenure. Win also gave the Golden Griffins their first winning season at home in five years. Frank Turner had an excellent 16 point, 13 assist game in his final Koessler Athletic Center appearance.  Junior forward Greg Logins added 15 points, 8 rebounds against JMU. Another junior, Tomas Vazquez-Simmons, had 4 blocks against the Dukes , giving him 199 rejections for his career.
  • Fairfield – Ended the regular season with an 8-7 road record including 6-3 in MAAC play. Derek Needham and Anthony Johnson continued their fine play for the Stags. Fairfield did get an additional lift from freshman Colin Nickerson, with a good scoring week including a 20-point outing at Vermont. Stags wind up the regular season at home against Iona and Niagara.
  • Iona – The 69-53 BracketBuster win over William & Mary was the Gaels’ 20th of the season. It was the first 20-win season in four years and 14th in program history. Gaels finished heir non-conference slate 9-3. Scott Machado scored 17 in the William & Mary game. Junior Alejo Rodriquez added 12 points and 8 boards. Iona finishes up in control their seeding destiny . The Gaels visit Fairfield (tied for second) and St.Peter’s (a game behind Fairfield and Iona).
  • Loyola – Dropped a heartbreaker on Senior Day as New Hampshire hit a shot with 0.7 seconds remaining for a 61-60 decision. Senior forward Jawan Wright continued his fine play of late with his third straight double figure outing with 10 points. Junior guard Jamal Barney returned after a six game absence and scored 16 points. Greyhounds entertain Canisius and Manhattan and already know they have drawn the Jaspers in next week’s MAAC tournament in Albany.
  • Manhattan – Split the week losing to Fairfield and defeating Towson in the BracketBuster. Junior guard Rico Pickett averaged 17.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG over the two game stretch. Manhattan opened the Towson game with a 20-0 run in arguably their best performance of the season. Senior forward Brandon Adams had a career high 18 points. Jaspers dished out 22 assists and shot 53% from the field in that  win over Towson.
  • Marist - Lone game was a 66-65 to UC Irvine in the BracketBusters. Marist is 2-3 in those BracketBuster games. Trip to California was a homecoming for freshman guard Devin Price and sophomore guard Mike Taylor. Price enjoyed the trip with a career high 18 points which included four three pointers. Freshman guard Candon Rusin scored 10 points and has double digits in five straight games.
  • Niagara – Won their third straight and five of the last six, defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 85-79. Niagara has now won four straight BracketBuster games.  Anthony Nelson scored 10 straight down the stretch to pull out the win at UMW. Nelson finished with 14 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds while Tyrone Lewis buried six first half treys on the way to a 23 point performance.
  • Rider – Dropped an overtime BracketBuster game at Hofstra. The game featured Charles Jenkins of Hofstra, last years’ MET Player of the Year, who scored 31 points. Rider countered with MAAC POY candidate Ryan Thompson with a career high 38 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Thompson has come on strong down the stretch averaging 25.4 PPG the last seven games. Broncs have won five of those last seven and finish up at home hosting Siena and Canisius their last two regular season contests.
  • St. Peter’s – Went 1-2 for the week but are still in a good position. Peacocks can finish as high as third and no lower than fifth depending on what happens the last two games. The lone victory was on the road where the Peacocks used a 19-4 second half run to stop the Greyhounds 69-61. In between were home losses to a surging Rider club and a BracketBuster against Buffalo. Wesley Jenkins and Nick Leon (outside) and Ryan Bacon (inside) continued their fine play for John Dunne’s club.
  • Siena – Dropped a BracketBuster game of note at Butler 70-53. The 53 points were Siena’s lowest in a single game in over two years. Saints have lost have lost all four of their games to top 50 opponents. The contest with nationally ranked Butler was Siena’s last opportunity to put themselves into at large consideration for the NCAA tournament, should they fail to win the MAAC tournament. Clarence Jackson paced Siena, who led Butler 31-28 at the half, with 24 points.  Ryan Rossiter has been the most consistent Saint the last two months averaging double figures in scoring (14.3) and rebounding (10.7).
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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

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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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