Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
Iona avenged a tough defeat in New Rochelle by knocking off Manhattan on their home floor, 85-73. The consensus around the league is that the two teams is will meet again later on down the road. In likelihood, the pair could very well tip it off in March at Springfield with a whole lot at stake.
In the meantime, don’t discount Loyola, who keeps on winning and is playing some outstanding defense.
Player of the Week: Lamont “Momo” Jones, Iona, Jr., G – Averaged 30.5 points and five rebounds as the Gaels swept their two conference games. Jones shot 59.5% from the field and scored a Hynes Center record 43 points against Canisius.
Rookie of the Week: Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’7” Fr. G/F – Recently inserted into the starting lineup, Lewis averaged 13 points for the two games the past week. The freshman swingman proved versatile as well by averaging 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists to compliment his scoring.
Momo Jones Had A Huge Week For Iona (Iona Athletics)
Team, MAAC record, overall record:
2. Loyola (MD)
9. St. Peter’s
Iona – Knocked off Canisius before earning a huge decision at Manhattan. Lamont Jones erupted for 43 points in the win over Canisius. Jones was 16 of 23 from the field (7 of 12 from three). Gaels enjoyed a 140 offensive efficiency rating in that contest. At Manhattan, the OE was another gaudy 123 for Iona. Four players were in double figures, led by Mike Glover’s 19 points.
Loyola – Defeated Rider before winning at St. Peter’s to increase their win streak to six games. Outstanding defense has been the key during the winning streak. Rider was held to a 73 offensive efficiency. Erik Etherly scored 15 points and Shane Walker added 12 boards for Loyola. Against St. Peter’s, balance was a key as Roberton Olson led with 19 points while Etherley added 15 and Walker 14. Read the rest of this entry »
Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and the NEC.
The Week That Was
The thinking coming into the MAAC season was that the conference title would be a race between Iona and Fairfield. Early returns, though, tell us not to discount Loyola (MD). Jim Patsos’ group owns a nice 8-1 record, including an upset win on the road over George Washington. Over in the Bronx, Steve Masiello is keeping his press conference promises. The Jaspers will be around for this race and have a serious impact.
On the negative side is Rider. The Broncs expected to be heard from and have been but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons, as they are struggling at 1-10 and looking for answers. Rider is ranked #97 in offensive efficiency and #116 defensively.
Player of the Week
Dylon Cormier, 6’2″ So., G Loyola – Averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two Greyhound victories. Highlighted was a 26-point effort in an upset of George Washington.
Newcomer of the Week
Emmy Andujar, 6’5″ Fr., F Manhattan – Averaged 12 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in two game for the Jaspers. Won the Doc Johnson award as game MVP in the win against Fordham. Andujar had a 14-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist effort in that “Battle of the Bronx.”
Jim Patsos Has His Loyola (MD) Team Playing At A High Level (BaltimoreSun)
Fairfield(8-1, 2-0): Scored non-league victories over Old Dominion and New Hampshire. Derek Needham led the way with 19 points against ODU in the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase. Stags held ODU to an outstanding 80 efficiency on the defensive end in that victory.
Iona (8-2, 2-0): Gaels took to the road winning at Denver in overtime, losing to Marshall and defeating Richmond. Iona’s win at Richmond was sparked by Michael Glover’s 24 points. A fast paced team, the Gaels average 76 possessions per outing. Their offensive efficiency is outstanding at 115 with a 101 on the defensive end. Read the rest of this entry »
Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
Nonconference play is the norm and story around the country, but especially in the MAAC. Iona’s near-takedown of Purdue raised eyes and caught attention. The Gaels rebounded to defeat Western Michigan in the consolation round in that tournament in Puerto Rico, though, so not all is lost. On Thanksgiving, naturally Macy’s Parade and turkey are the order of the day, but the Old Spice Classic tips off as well with MAAC representative Fairfield entering the eight-team field as a viable threat.
Iona Was Very Close But Hummel Saved Purdue
Player of the Week : Maurice Barrow, 6’5″ So. F, Fairfield. Barrow scored 19 points while grabbing six rebounds in the Stags’ win over Quinnipiac.
Newcomer of the Week – Donovan Kates, 6’6″ Fr. G, Manhattan. Kates scored ten points, including two late threes to help the Jaspers edge NJIT at Draddy Gymnasium.
WYN2K. The Metro Atlantic, or the MAAC in local parlance, is a league that usually has a handful of good teams that can consistently compete with the mid-majors and beat the low-majors, but just doesn’t have the horses to run with the high majors. As a case in point, the league went 1-19 against BCS teams last year (Marist 63, Minnesota 56), but still managed to have one of the best low-major records against nonconference opponents over the last three years (122-174, .412). This is also exhibited by the league’s average seeding (#13.8) in the NCAA Tournament over the last decade – only two times has the MAAC received a #16 seed (2001 – Siena; 2007 – Niagara), and both times it won the PiG as a result. As such, the league is typically competitive at the top, and this year is no different as we can foresee as many as five teams making a run at the title.
Predicted Champion.Loyola (MD) (#15 seed NCAA). We’re a bit of a sucker for a great turnaround story, and none this year could possibly be better than Loyola. In 2004 the Greyhounds endured a 1-27 season, tied for the fewest victories in D1. Enter Jim Patsos, a smooth-talking optimist who guided Loyola to 6 wins, then 15 wins, then 18 wins last season as he has re-energized the program. Now in his fourth year, the Greyhounds are poised to win the MAAC and earn an NCAA bid, led by former transfers such as Gerald Brown (22.2 ppg – #8 nationally) from Providence, Hassan Fofana (a 6’10 bruiser) from Maryland and Joe Miles (an instant-offense guy) from Marshall. With four returning starters from a 12-6 conference record last year, we think that Loyola is the team to beat in the MAAC this year.
Others Considered. Siena is another school that returns a slew of talent from a 12-6 team, including Kenny Hasbrouck, the 2006 MAAC ROY and an all-league selection last year. The Saints won nine of their last ten games last year before losing to Niagara in the MAAC title game, but we feel that the loss of big man Michael Haddix gives Loyola the edge here. It will be a close race in any case. Last year’s regular season champ Marist returns a good amount of experience and adds some key transfers (including former Syracuse guard Louis McCroskey), but the loss of second-round NBA draft pick point guard Jared Jordan, who led the nation in assists for two years in a row, will be tough to replace. We also expect Manhattan to make some noise this year, as the Jaspers return seven sophomores from a team that surprised the MAAC by going 10-8 last season. Niagara also should be mentioned even though it lost four starters from its NCAA team; after all, the Purple Eagles have won two of the last three NCAA bids, and the one starter returning is all-MAAC forward Charron Fisher, who will be assisted by the MAAC conference tourney MVP Tyrone Lewis. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Rider, if for no other reason than they have an NBA prospect named Jason Thompson on the team, the only returning 20/10 player in all of D1 this season.
Games to Watch. We’re still in the low-majors, so only one game matters.
MAAC Championship Game (03.10.08). ESPN2.
RPI Booster Games. The MAAC doesn’t play many BCS games in a typical season, and this year is no different with 21 on the slate. As always, there are a few opportunities to grab a handful of wins against some BCS bottom-feeders in addition to improving the overall profile of the league simply by showing up and taking your medicine.
Siena @ Syracuse (11.12.07)
Marist @ Miami (FL) (11.15.07)
Stanford @ Siena (11.17.07)
Loyola (MD) @ Seton Hall (11.20.07)
NC State @ Rider (11.22.07)
Fairfield @ Georgetown (12.01.07)
Niagara @ St. John’s (12.15.07)
Loyola (MD) @ Illinois (12.28.07)
Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Once again, for the record, zero.
Neat-o Stat. Former Pitino assistant Kevin Willard takes over for Jeff Ruland at Iona after the Gaels’ horrendous 2-28 performance last season. How do you lose that many games? Well, first, you turn the ball over on more than a quarter (26.1%, 329th nationally) of your possessions; and second, when you manage to hang onto the ball long enough to get to the foul line, you convert at only a 57.7% rate (334th nationally). Iona lost six conference games by <5 points or in overtime – you think extra possessions and making foul shots might have helped?
64/65-Team Era. The MAAC is 5-24 (.172) over this era, which actually accounts for the second-best record among the traditional low-majors (only the Mid-Continent is better), but this is a little misleading because two of those wins were from PiGs. As we stated above, the league tends to receive a favorable seed (among low-majors), averaging a #13.0 over the entire period. Still, only three teams have managed to win a true first round game, and one of those was as a surprising #4 seed (1990 – LaSalle and Lionel “L-Train” Simmons over #13 Southern Miss 79-63 – believe it or not, we found a clip of the L-Train in action in 1988 below). The other two upset victories for the MAAC were in 1995 (#13 Manhattan over #4 Oklahoma 77-67) and 2004 (#12 Manhattan over #5 Florida 75-60). Seems as if only the Jaspers can pull off the upset from this conference.
Note: video cannot be embedded, so double-click on the YouTube logo above to get it to play.
Final Thought. The MAAC as a whole has seen better days, but really it’s the bottom half of the league that’s keeping it down. It’s an exaggeration, but it seems as if every year the worst team in America (as judged solely by records and media coverage) comes from the MAAC. Several years ago it was Loyola, and last year it was Iona. Part of this probably derives from increased media attention due to its location of schools centered in and around New York. Nevertheless, the perception of this league is worse than its actual performance. Still, it has been slipping a smidge over the past couple of years and it needs to put together a strong season this year to earn back some of that respect.