Conference Tournament Primer: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 6th, 2014

Day four of Championship Fortnight means three more conferences tipping off today, so what better way to get you through the next two weeks of games than to break down each of the Other 26′s conference tournaments. Today, the MAAC, MVC and WCC get started.

Dates: March 6, 8-10
Site: MassMutual Center (Springfield, MA)

MAAC

What to expect: The highest seed has not won this tournament since 2010, but that could change this year with Iona atop the league standings. The offensive-minded Gaels have advanced to the Big Dance in each of the last two seasons – including as an at-large bid in 2012 – and look poised to make a return, winning 13 of their final 14 games and playing steady, efficient basketball along the way. The one loss in that span was to Manhattan, the Gaels’ most likely challenger in Springfield. George Beamon’s 20 points per game leads the Jaspers offensively, but it is on the defensive end where Steve Masiello’s squad has the distinct advantage – center Rhamel Brown is a long, game-changer in the paint who boasts the highest block rate in the country. If Manhattan and Iona meet up in the conference championship on Monday night, it will be must-watch television. And don’t ignore Canisius, either — the team’s electrifying point guard, Billy Baron, averages more than 25 points per outing and is capable of catching fire at any moment.

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If Canisius Goes Dancing, Billy Baron Could Become the Next March Star

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on February 19th, 2014

Ice Bath, and watch Stephen Curry highlights for an hour.

According to a “10 Questions With…” feature on the Canisius mens’ basketball page, that’s the sum of Billy Baron’s pregame routine. And it makes perfect sense, when you think about it. An ice bath for the ice water that runs through his veins — evident from the game-winning shots he so often takes, and hits — and the Curry highlights to remind him of just how captivating a player he can be, how rare it is to possess the kind of quick-release, out-of-the-gym range he has in his arsenal. Not to mention the crafty shot-fakes, gorgeous passes, sudden changes of direction and countless other moves put on display by the Davidson legend. Baron probably watches for those, too. And while the MAAC Player of the Year favorite certainly has elements of Curry in his game, it was BYU great Jimmer Fredette who Siena coach Jimmy Patsos compared him to earlier this season, an appropriate parallel in its own right. Whether he’s more like Curry, Fredette or some other former hoopster, though, doesn’t really matter. The larger point is this: Baron is a rare talent who demands your attention when he takes the court and who’s fully capable of becoming a mid-major star in March, depending on how far the Griffins can go.

Billy Baron vs. Notre Dame, December 29, 2013.

Jimmy Patsos thinks Baron is similar to Jimmer Fredette, which certainly makes sense. (ABOVE: Billy Baron vs. Notre Dame...BELOW: Jimmer Fredette vs. Gonzaga)

Jimmer Fredette vs. Gonzaga, March 19, 2011.

Perhaps the most electrifying aspect of Baron’s game is his ability to pull up and hit from just about anywhere inside the half-court line. And I mean anywhere. Though opposing teams try guarding him all the way up the floor, often using additional defenders to step out and help or even double-team when necessary, he is still able to exploit the tiniest amounts of open space and briefest moments of defensive relaxation. Like Jimmer (and his brother, Jimmy), Baron will simply hoist from four or five feet beyond the three-point line, catching unwitting defenders off-guard and leaving opposing coaches pulling out their hair. Last month, he hit a three from the ‘A’ in Iona’s mid-court decal late in the first half and another from the ‘I’ early in the second. In fact, he’s nailed shots from numerous giant logos this season, regularly enabling his team to cut into deficits or build on leads in the blink of an eye. And like Curry, Baron also has a tremendous feel for how the opposition will react to his movements. He will employ the slightest shot-fakes and hesitations to make defenders over-commit, then take a quick dribble left or right to find the open look. On the year, the 6’2’’ senior is shooting over 42 percent from behind the arc, which is incredibly impressive considering how closely opposing squads guard him and how difficult his attempts can be. When Baron gets the hot hand, it’s hard to look away.

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Morning Five: 04.03.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 3rd, 2013

morning5

  1. It looks like the coaching carousel should be an opening in New Jersey pretty soon after video surfaced of Mike Rice berating players and throwing basketballs at them during several practices at Rutgers. By now pretty much every sports fan has seen it and the only question we have at this point is why Rice still has a job. When Rice was suspended for three games back in December for his behavior in practice we had no idea what could have led to that level of punishment as it appeared too harsh for something minor and too soft for something significant. It turns out the latter was true. Now we understand that emotions can sometimes get the better of us and make us do dumb things, but this was not an isolated incident as the videos show Rice acting this way on multiple occasions. At this point Rutgers has to fire Rice or should be shunned by every recruit in America not only in basketball, but instead in all sports as the lack of concern the administration has for the athletes, who are in no position to stand up for themselves, is appalling.
  2. Speaking of incompetence at the highest levels, USA Today has a pretty impressive takedown of Mark Emmert looking at his career of failing upwards. As the article points out, failure and scandal seem to follow Emmert, but like any good politician he manages to deftly avoid him. The fact that he has done so poorly at so many things may just reflect his incompetence, but the fact that he has done so and still manages to be critical of others for similar faults suggests a more manipulative, sinister side to Emmert than many would expect. If there was any question about Emmert’s ability to lead (and to push blame onto others), this article should answer those.
  3. If you are not a lawyer or have not been following the Ed O’Bannon case that closely, the primer that Andy Staples put together on the case and its potential implications is a great way to get up to speed. As some athletic directors have said this case could lead to a profound change in the business of college athletics including the way they are played. The case, which was initially thought of as little more than a legal curiosity, has come to strike fear in many in the NCAA and in athletic departments all over the country. If O’Bannon is successful in his case, it could change college athletics as we know it. As Staples points out the next big date in this case is June 20 and after that we should know a lot more about how this case may turn.
  4. As we mentioned earlier the Rutgers job should be opening up pretty soon, but there was some more news on the mid-major front (yes, we meant that) as Jimmy Patsos announced that he was leaving Loyola (MD) for Siena. Patsos, who helped turn around Loyola, apparently beat out a fairly competitive pool of candidates and will be introduced as the coach at a press conference tomorrow. At Siena, Patsos will be inheriting a once powerful mid-major that has fallen off rapidly with the departure of former coach Fran McCaffery. We aren’t sure if Patsos can get the program to the heights it saw under McCaffery, but he can certainly lift it above where it has been since McCaffery’s departure.
  5. When they decide to fix all the loopholes in transfer waiver policies one day they will use Trey Zeigler as an example of how they can go wrong. The one-time Central Michigan star transferred to Pittsburgh after last season and was granted a waiver–citing his father’s firing from Central Michigan–allowing him to play for Pittsburgh without having to sit out a year. It turns out that Pittsburgh didn’t fit him that well (and we are not just talking about his DUI in November) as Zeigler will seek to transfer again after less than a year at Pittsburgh. We are not sure what the specifics are behind Zeigler’s transfer are, but we suspect they are related to his drop in scoring from nearly 16 points per game in his first two years at Central Michigan to 4.4 points per game at Pittsburgh as he saw his minutes more than cut in half. We would guess that Zeigler is headed back to a mid-major where he can be the focal point of an offense and will be playing against lower caliber competition.
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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 10th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC.

Top Storylines

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

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

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

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

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

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NCAA Tournament Game Analysis: Second Round — Thursday Afternoon

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 15th, 2012

RTC Region correspondents Brian Otskey (East), Kevin Doyle (South), and Andrew Murawa (West) contributed to this preview.

#6 Murray State vs. #11 Colorado State – West Region Second Round (at Louisville, KY) – 12:15 PM ET on CBS

Steve Prohm Brings His One-Loss Team to the Dance (US Presswire)

Anytime you enter the NCAA Tournament with just one loss and 4-0 record over NCAA Tournament teams, you’re a big story and a threat to go deep in the tournament. That’s the situation Murray State finds itself in. The fact that they’ve got a recent history of some success in the tournament (they knocked off Vanderbilt in the first round in 2010 before losing a heartbreaker to eventual national runner up Butler) makes them an even bigger challenge. In that 2010 loss to Butler, then-freshman guard Isaiah Canaan had the ball in his hands with the clock running down and threw an errant pass that got deflected by Gordon Hayward, effectively sealing the Racers’ fate. Two years later, Canaan is this team’s leader and one of the best guards in the nation, capable not only of getting his own opportunities in a variety of ways, but also creating for his teammates. And he’ll certainly be a problem for a Colorado State team whose guards, though talented scorers offensively, struggle to stay in front of their men on defense. Another issue for the Rams is the fact that they are one of the smallest teams in the nation (there are only five teams smaller, according to Ken Pomeroy’s effective height statistic), with a frontline that doesn’t go any larger than 6’6”. Murray may not have a lot more height (their two main interior players – Ivan Aska and Ed Daniel – go just 6’7”), but the lack of size has been an issue for CSU this year. Still, the Rams can score with just about anybody, but their inability to lock down defensively will be a problem. A bigger problem could be the fact that the Racers are playing not only within an easy drive of their campus, but that the hordes of Kentucky fans who show up for the early session will most certainly convert their allegiance to the Racers, at least temporarily.

The RTC Certified Pick: Murray State

#8 Kansas State vs. #9 Southern Miss – East Region Second Round (at Pittsburgh, PA) – 12:40 PM ET on truTV

This could be an ugly game right off the bat. Neither of these two teams shoots the ball particularly well, especially Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have an awful two point field goal percentage (43.3%) and rank second to last among NCAA Tournament teams in effective field goal percentage. Only 16th seeded Western Kentucky is worse. Despite the poor shooting numbers, Larry Eustachy’s Golden Eagles have a respectable offensive efficiency number thanks to a minimal turnover percentage and solid offensive rebounding. If Southern Miss is going to win this game, it must rebound the basketball and score on second chance opportunities. While Kansas State is regarded as a team that plays terrific defense and rebounds well, the Wildcats are vulnerable on the defensive glass. Provided Southern Miss and point guard Neil Watson can keep a good handle on the ball and get some decent looks, this team will hang around. For Kansas State, it must get Rodney McGruder going early and often. McGruder is the best offensive player on this team and has been playing at a high level of late. Kansas State should win the game if it rebounds well and plays its typical brand of physical hard-nosed basketball. The Wildcats should get plenty of offensive rebounding opportunities against a Southern Miss team that has just one player taller than 6’7.” The free throw battle could be important as well. Each team gets to the line well but also fouls a lot when playing defense. The Golden Eagles shoot it much better from the stripe and they’ll need to today in order to offset the rebounding disadvantage.

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Bracket Prep: Creighton, Loyola (Maryland) & VCU

Posted by EJacoby on March 6th, 2012

As we move through Championship Week (the second half of Championship Fortnight, of course), we’ll continue to bring you these short reviews of each of the automatic qualifiers to help you fill out your bracket next week. In this post, we’ve got the MVC, MAAC, and CAA champions ready to go…

Creighton

The Bluejays Celebrate Their First MVC Title Since 2007 (Omaha W-H/M. Miller)

  • Missouri Valley Champion (28-5, 17-4)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #21/#35/#24
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +10.5
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #5-#7

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. With Creighton’s MVC Tournament victory over Illinois State on Sunday, the Bluejays sit at 28 wins and are just one win away from tying the most in its history. Given that Greg McDermott’s team has one of the best players in the country along with a talented and experienced group of complementary players, it’s not inconceivable that the school could reach 30 wins to break the record. Should Creighton advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1974, it would represent the culmination of a year that CU fans, some of the best in college basketball, have dreamed of for some time. This team is capable of getting there.
  2. The primary reason they’re capable has a lot to do with the scoring wunderkind known as the coach’s son, Doug McDermott. The sophomore wing can quite literally score from anywhere on the court — his 23.2 PPG includes a ridiculously efficient 61.2% field goal percentage (49.5% from three) and he has an array of moves by which he finds open looks all over the floor. The offense quite clearly runs through him, but his supporting cast of guard Antoine Young (12.5 PPG, 4.5 APG) and Gregory Echinique (9.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG) provide additional punch when needed.
  3. The problem for Creighton lies with its defense. Contrasted with an elite offensive unit (#5 nationally), the defense is downright ugly (#186 nationally). Creighton could arguably end up with the biggest disparity between the two ends of the court in the entire tournament field, excluding a crazy #16 seed perhaps. This means that matchups for the Bluejays are exceptionally important because they will only win by outscoring another team, not by stopping them. Ideally, Creighton would find itself in a first game matchup against an equally bad defensive power conference team such as Northwestern or Mississippi State. Getting past that one, they’d then face a team like Florida or even Duke to give themselves a fighting chance to get into a gunner’s delight showcase with the other team. If Creighton, however, sees a team like Wisconsin or Georgetown up ahead, they’re going to have trouble breaking through for that elusive 30th win.

VCU

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ATB: Madness Ensues During Four Classic Conference Tournament Finishes Monday Night

Posted by EJacoby on March 6th, 2012

Last Night’s Lede – Not a single power conference team played on Monday night and there were only 12 total games played, yet it ended up being one of the best nights of the entire season. Why’s that? Because it was the first full night of Championship Week, in which all games taking place from here on out will come during postseason tournaments. Monday saw four conference tournament finals take place – two at 7:00 PM ET, two at 9:00 PM ET – on ESPN or ESPN2, and each game came down to the final possession. The four championships were decided by 13 total points and included three overtime sessions. There was also important action taking place in other mid-major tournaments, so let’s jump right into it…

Your Watercooler MomentVCU Returns to the Tournament

Brad Burgess and VCU Shot Their Way Back to the Big Dance (Washington Examiner/L. Alvarez)

Last year’s unbelievable Cinderella story has guaranteed itself a place in the Big Dance once again this year. Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams were squarely on the bubble heading into Monday night’s CAA Tournament final, as was their opponent, Drexel. A hard-fought game in which VCU led by double-digits for much of the game wound up being close at the end and came down to the final possession when Drexel guard Frantz Massenat’s three for the tie hit the back iron. VCU earned itself an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and there’s not a single team in the bracket that wants to face Shaka Smart’s team in the first game next week. The Rams got 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, and five steals from Darius Theus while their star Brad Burgess had just six points. Drexel, which had just eight assists compared to 18 turnovers, now must sweat it out on Selection Sunday with a very strong conference showing but some weak overall profile numbers such as the #226 strength of schedule that won’t be pleasing to the NCAA Tourney committee. Don’t be shocked, though, if Drexel ends up making it so that you’ll see both of these teams playing again next week.

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MAAC Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2012

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

Tournament Preview

A year ago the MAAC tournament gave us a surprise with St. Peter’s coming on strong to win the title. This season Iona is the clear-cut choice. Interestingly, if Iona gets upset, the conference will be a two-bid league with the Gaels almost certain to be an at-large entry to the NCAA tournament. As it stands, Iona cutting down the nets virtually guarantees the conference one spot on Selection Sunday. Doesn’t mean there will be a lack of excitement and drama along the way.

Final Regular Season Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 15-3, 24-6
2. Loyola (MD) 13-5, 21-8
3. Manhattan 12-6, 20-11
4. Fairfield 12-6, 17-3
5. Rider 10-8, 13-18
6. Siena 8-10, 13-16
7. Niagra 8-10, 13-18
8. Marist 7-11, 13-17
9. St. Peter’s 4-14, 5-25
10. Canisius 1-17, 5-24

 

MAAC Awards

Player of the Year: Scott Machado, Iona

A player that simply has a tremendous impact on the game. Machado scored 13.1  points a game while adding 5 rebounds, but his expertise lies in handing out assists. He led the nation with 10.1 assists an outing. The Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award finalist is also dangerous in late game situations, hitting 80.5% of his free throw attempts.

Scott Macadho's Ability To Rack Up Assists Made Him An Easy Choice For MAAC Player of the Year (AP)

Rookie of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Niagara

The 6’3″ freshman guard averaged 17.5 points per outing. Green went beyond scoring, handing out 4.4 assists per game. The leading freshman scorer and third overall scorer in the MAAC, Green recorded 27 double figure games this season.

Coach of the Year: Jimmy Patsos, Loyola

The Greyhounds finished conference runner-up and recorded a 20-win season for the first time in school history. Loyola also owns victories over every other school in the conference’s “first division.” They will be a tough out in Springfield.

First Team All-MAAC:   

  • Rakim Sanders, Fairfield, Forward
  • Mike Glover, Iona, Forward
  • Erik Etherly, Loyola, Forward
  • George Beamon, Manhattan, Guard
  • O.D. Anosike, Siena, Forward
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RTC Summer Updates: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 15th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our MAAC correspondent, Ray Floriani.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

The MAAC should provide another interesting race for the top. Two of last year’s best programs, Iona and Fairfield, will slug it out. The Gaels were tournament runners-up to St. Peter’s while Fairfield was the conference regular season champion. Off the floor, the wheels are already in motion as the conference plans the move to Springfield, Massachusetts, where the men’s and women’s championships will be contested at the MassMutual Center.

  • A Busy MAAC HQ: The headline for a good part of August concerns the conference postseason tournament. ‘The Road to MAAC-achusetts‘ began on August 3, with marketing representatives from each MAAC institution meeting at Siena College. Reps from the MassMutual Center, the host site, were also in attendance. Among the presentations and objectives were league-wide advertising of the championships on ad pages and in media guides, in game promotions allowing fans the chance to win tickets to the tournament and grassroots marketing efforts in the communities of each school. Ticketmaster also outlined social media opportunities which will allow fans to follow the MAAC schools and see who may be attending a particular session of the tournament. “There are great synergies developing between the championship marketing team and the MAAC,” said Marissa Skibbe, Global Spectrum’s Director of Marketing at the MassMutual Center. “Together, we have created an extensive and fun plan that is moving like a well-oiled machine. We can’t wait to see the creative elements come to fruition.” The tournament isn’t the only place where the conference’s administration is making waves, however. MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor was recently named to the WCBA board of directors. One of the most highly-respected administrators in college basketball, Ensor recently completed a five-year term on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.
  • Dunne rewarded at St. Peter’s - Fresh off the school’s first 20-win season in two decades and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995, St. Peter’s awarded coach John Dunne with a new contract extending through 2015-16. Dunne’s first two teams at St. Peter’s recorded just eleven wins total, but the win total over the past three seasons is 47, including 30 victories in MAAC play. The Peacocks finished this season 20-14 and captured the MAAC Tournament crown at Harbor Yards. They appeared in the NCAA Tournament, but were defeated by Purdue in the opening round. Dunne’s name was starting to surface as a few openings arose in the spring. The financial details of his new contract were not reported, but the extension marks a notable increase in pay over his former contract. “Throughout his [Dunne’s] tenure, he has guided our student-athletes to success both on the court and in the classroom, St. Peter’s AD Pat Elliott said. “We are excited about the future of St. Peter’s basketball with Coach Dunne leading the way.”
  • New Faces: Steve Masiello took over at Manhattan, replacing Barry Rohrssen. Masiello mostly recently was on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville. He knows the conference, however, having served as an assistant on Bobby Gonzalez’s Jaspers staff before heading south. After turning around the program at Fairfield, Ed Cooley was summoned to do the same at Providence in the Big East. Replacing Cooley is highly-regarded Sydney Johnson, formerly of Princeton. Last season, Johnson led Princeton to the Ivy title and NCAA Tournament, where they lost to eventual Final Four participant Kentucky by just two points. Johnson will inherit a strong group of returnees at defending regular season champion Fairfield. On the court, Lamont Momo” Jones decided he was ready for a different role after playing a supporting part with Derrick Williams in the Arizona Wildcats’ head-turning NCAA Tournament run and transferred to Iona (more after the jump).

Momo Jones' Transfer To Iona Will Spell Trouble For Gaels Opponents. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

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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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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on December 19th, 2009

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – Virtually every MAAC team has two conference games in the books as we head into the holidays. By Christmas everyone will have played a pair as Siena hosts Rider on December 23 in a meeting of 1-0 teams with title aspirations (not just sugar plums) ‘dancing in their heads’…

Early on in league play things are shaping up as expected but it is very early. The one mark that stands out is Iona at 0-2. The Gaels, off their win against Albany, are 5-2 out of conference with wins over Creighton ( in the Old Spice) and at Providence on their resume. They played both MAAC games at home but dropped meetings with St. Peter’s and Siena.

The MAAC nearly made it 2-0 against the Big East on the week. Following Iona’s won, Rider lost a tough one in overtime at Rutgers.

A tempo free note…  POSS is the average possessions per game. All games are counted. When conference play heats up the focus will be on MAAC games only. The TO rate is turnovers divided by possessions. Under 20% is an excellent figure. That means only one fifth or less of total possessions end in a turnover. Again thanks to the people at Basketball State for the data.

Milestones.

  • Frank Turner of Canisius has 27 straight double figure scoring games, the nation’s 7th best mark among active players.
  • Prior to Providence, the last Iona win versus a Big East team was December 27, 2001 over Seton Hall in the Holiday Festival at the Garden.
  • Antoine Pearson of Manhattan became the program’s 32nd player to hit the 1,000 point mark.
  • Marist has hit at least one three-pointer in 299 consecutive games.
  • Tyrone Lewis broke Niagara’s career three-point field goal record. Lewis has 227 treys to date. The record was held by former teammate Lorenzo Miles (220).  He also became Niagara’s 11th player to hit the 1,000-point select circle.
  • Ryan Thompson moved to 9th on Rider’s all-time scoring list. Thompson passed Rider Hall of Famer Greg Burston ‘99. Thompson went over the 1,500 point mark in the game at Rutgers.

Co-Players of the Week.

  • Anthony Johnson (C), 6-8 SR, Fairfield – Averaged double-doubles in two wins. Scored 21 against Sacred Heart and pulled down 8 offensive rebounds in a win over Holy Cross. Shot 57% from the floor for the two outings.
  • Tyrone Lewis (G), 5-11 SR, Niagara – Enjoyed back to back 26-point performances. Had 6 treys is a loss to Buffalo then canned 5 beyond the arc in a win at Illinois State.

Rookie of the Week. Kyle Smyth (G), 6-4 Fr, Iona – Led the Gaels in scoring in their two wins. Highlight was a career high 21 points in the victory at Providence. Shot 71% from the field and 6 of 10 (60%) beyond the arc for the three games.

Team Breakdowns.

  • Canisius – Lost Saturday to Bowling Green to put the Griffs at 4-4. It marked the first time in six years Canisius was at .500 eight games into the season. The Bowling Green game was a return for the 2009 Bracket Buster won by Canisius on the road. Senior guard Frank Turner scored 12 points and has scored in double figures 27 consecutive games. It is not all Turner as junior Julius Coles had 17 against Bowling Green. Freshman Alshwan Hymes looked good (9 pts 7 rebs) against Bowling green and junior Tomas Vazquez-Simmons had four blocks in that contest.
  • Fairfield – Victories over Sacred Heart and Holy Cross raised their record to 8-2, their best start since the 1977-78 team got out to a 9-1 beginning. That club went 22-5 and earned a NIT berth. Triple threat! Anthony Johnson and freshman guard Derek Needham averaged double figures the two games but the team’s leading scorer for the week was Yorel Hawkins at 19.5 ppg. Six Stags scored in double figures in that 93-77 win over Sacred Heart.
  • Iona – Won two of three with the highlight a 82-73 victory at Providence. Freshman Kyle Smyth (see Rookie of the Week) led the way for the Gaels. Iona also received contributions from sophomore Scott Machado (11 ppg, 3.3 apg) and senior Jonathan Huffman who scored 11 points while grabbing 7 rebounds at Providence. Push the pace! Iona is 7-1 when scoring 80+ under coach Kevin Willard.
  • Loyola (MD) – The Greyhounds dropped their third straight with  a 63-58 OT loss at Coppin State. Their defeat was the first after six straight extra session victories by Loyola, five coming under current mentor Jimmy Patsos. Shooting was the downfall as Loyola shot 28% and 5 of 27 ( 19%) from three point range. Jamal Barney led the way with 16 points but the senior guard was 0-8 from three. The Greyhounds rejected 9 shots in that contest, matching the second highest total in school history. Interior defense has been a constant as Loyola blocked less than three shots in a game only once in the first nine outings.
  • Manhattan – The road was unkind to the Jaspers with losses at Hofstra and Morgan State. The 44-39 contest on Long Island saw the Jaspers force the Pride into 19 turnovers but fail to capitalize, suffering  a 21% shooting night from the floor. Manhattan then dropped an 83-74 decision at two time defending MEAC champion Morgan State. Despite the loss, balance was the key as five Jaspers scored in double figures. Darryl Crawford’s play was a bright spot (15 pts, 6.5 rpg) for the week.
  • Marist – Lost its home opener to Boston University 88-72. The December 12 date for the first home game was the latest in the program’s history. Marist played its initial six games away from the friendly confines of McCann Center. They had three double figure scorers against BU, all freshman. Guard Candin Rusin (a career high 15 points), forward  (13 points) and guard Devin Price (a career high 12 points). Marist frosh have accounted for 55% of the offense to date and three freshmen routinely are on the floor for the opening tip.
  • Niagara – Handed Illinois State its first loss of the season with a 76-68 road victory. Illinois State owned the boards 49-28 but the Purple Eagles shot 47.6% (10 of 21) from beyond the arc. Tyrone Lewis (Co-Player of the Week) hit five treys at Illinois State including two in a 25-second stretch that all  but clinched it for Niagara. Kashief Edwards has been a productive scorer and shot blocker for the Purple Eagles. Edwards rejected four shots (for the fifth time this season) at Illinois State. The Redbirds had won 34 of their last 38 at home.
  • Rider – Defeated UMBC in a road game that was a return from last year’s Bracket Buster, also won by the Broncs. Ryan Thompson had 21 points and 7 rebounds at UMBC then followed up with a game high 26 points in a 80-70 overtime loss at Rutgers. The Broncs were scoreless in the extra session at Rutgers. Rider lost to LaSalle at home, 69-60, on December 9th. It was only the fifth loss in 31 games at on-campus Alumni Gym. Justin Robinson had a 19 consecutive free throws made stretch and leads the MAAC with a 91% mark (31 of 43).
  • St. Peter’s – Posted a 1-1 week defeating NJIT and losing a heartbreaker to Wagner. Both games were at home. Nick Leon and Wesley Jenkins continue to score for the Peacocks. Jenkins had 25 in the win over NJIT. Added production is coming from 6-7 forward Darius Conley, 11 points VS NJIT and a double double against Wagner. Next two games have a NJ flavor as St.Peter’s visits FDU Saturday and Rutgers on Tuesday.
  • Siena – Dropped a road game at Northern Iowa. The four losses (Goergia Tech, Temple, St.John’s and UNI) saw the opponent hit over 60% from the floor the second half. Saints drew first blood in the MAAC with a 73-60 victory at Iona. In the process Siena earned its 38th victory in the last 46 MAAC contests and made it 15 of the last 19 wins in  conference games on the road. Four starters average 11 points or better while the fifth, Ronald Moore, leads the nation with 8 assists per game.

Upcoming games of note.

December 20

  • Fairfield at Rhode Island

December 22

  • Loyola at Indiana
  • St. Bonaventure at Niagara
  • St. Peter’s at Rutgers

December 23

  • Rider at Siena

December 27

  • Iona at UConn

December 29

  • St. Joseph’s at Siena

December 30

  • Canisius at St. Bonaventure
  • Manhattan at Vanderbilt

To all… a Happy Holiday!!!

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Checking in on the… MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2009

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

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The MAAC regular season winds up on Sunday. The conference tournament will begin the latter part of next week in Albany and there is no drama or speculation on the top two seeds, even with Siena visiting Niagara this evening.

We are taking the tempo free look at the MAAC. Only conference games are figured and the EM (efficiency margin) is the vital difference between offensive and defensive points per possession.

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