Set Your Tivo: 03.07.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 7th, 2011

***** – 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.

Four automatic bids will be handed out this evening in places stretching from Connecticut to Las Vegas. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

Colonial Championship (at Richmond, VA): VCU vs. Old Dominion — 7 pm on ESPN (****)

Old Dominion looks like a safe bet even if they lose but VCU more than likely has to win this game to make the NCAA Tournament. The Rams and Monarchs split the season series, each winning on the other’s home floor. This game will be all about pace and one team’s strong defense against the other’s potent offense. If Old Dominion can keep this game in the half court, they can let their stellar two point defense and rebounding take over. The Monarch’s are the best offensive rebounding team in the country while VCU ranks #303 in defensive rebounding percentage. Old Dominion also ranks highly in defensive rebounding, placing them among the best overall rebounding teams in the nation, led by Frank Hassell, averaging just under 15/10 on the season. Over his last eight games, Hassell has been even better, averaging 19/10 down the stretch. Not coincidentally, the Monarchs have won all eight of those games and 12 of their past 13. ODU is #9 in two point defense but allows 36.9% three point shooting, #298 in America. That has been the bugaboo for Blaine Taylor’s group and the Rams are one team that can really take advantage of that. Four out of ten VCU field goals attempted are threes and they shoot it at a pretty good clip, 35.6% this season. However, that percentage drops to 33.7% when you look at CAA games only. The Rams must create offense through their defense by forcing turnovers. That will offset part of the rebounding edge ODU is almost sure to have. An energetic and aggressive defense can help push the pace and take Old Dominion out of its rhythm. The Monarchs struggle to shoot and score, relying on their defense and rebounding to win games most of the time. Shaka Smart should use some zone from time to time in order to force Old Dominion to make jump shots, something they don’t do well. Rebounding out of a zone is always difficult (especially against the #1 offensive rebounding squad) but we feel it’s worth the risk. VCU shouldn’t spend all game in a zone but mixing it up defensively will greatly help their cause. Old Dominion gets 57.5% of its points from two point range but they have a few threats from deep, most notably Kent Bazemore. He’s arguably their best three point shooter and also a terrific defender, ranked eighth nationally in steal percentage.  The Rams shouldn’t have that much trouble answering Old Dominion from the arc considering they have a number of quality shooters, including Bradford Burgess (16/13 vs. George Mason yesterday), but they need to get some looks inside for Jamie Skeen. The Wake Forest transfer has had a terrific year in Richmond and is averaging 21.7 PPG over his last three. It’ll be tough to score against Old Dominion’s interior defense but Skeen should look to get to the free throw line where he’s a 73.7% shooter. VCU is a good free throw shooting team overall and they’ve made it to the line on 41.5% of their possessions in conference play. Foul trouble for Old Dominion would open up the interior a bit and allow the Rams to spread the floor easier. VCU had lost four of their last five games heading into the conference tournament but seems to have found new life just down the road from campus in Richmond. They’ll be slight underdogs tonight but this is anybody’s game. Old Dominion will likely win the rebounding battle but whoever controls the turnover margin and the tempo will likely win this game and clinch the automatic berth.

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MAAC Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 4th, 2011

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC. Get set for the MAAC tournament, which starts on Friday, by taking a look at RTC’s preview and regular season recap.

Postseason Preview

Last year, it was Albany. The next three years, Springfield, Massachusetts. The MAAC is on the move. This season’s postseason tournament will be at Harbor Yards in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The MAAC format is a unique one in that both the men’s and women’s tournaments are contested at the same site. This makes it easier for the fans and gives an opportunity to showcase each member’s program on both the men’s and women’s side.

The men’s tournament tips the evening of March 4, with both men’s and women’s finals the following Monday. The MAAC will be a one-bid league. Iona, Fairfield and Rider have impressive records, but not enough to get an at-large bid. The conference tournament will be winner-take-all and on to the Big Dance.

Fairfield coach Ed Cooley would be the first to admit home court advantage is nice, but it’s no guarantee. Any of the top four could emerge as champion. At any rate, a prediction must be made and the choice is Fairfield.  The Stags have a nice inside/outside combination. A 66 possession paced team, the offensive efficiency is moderate at 100 but the defense, an outstanding 89. Defensively, they force opponents to give up the ball on 25% of their possessions. With Derek Needham at the point, the Stags TO rate is an impressive 18%. The Stags also boast a plus-four edge in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Credit that to the presence of seven foot junior Ryan Orlander, 6’5 senior Yorel Hawkins and 6’5 freshman Maurice Barrow.

The MAAC, with Siena in recent seasons, has been represented well in the Big Dance. Fairfield, with good guard and interior play, could prove a tough first round matchup. A lot depends on the draw and how Fairfield and the opposition line up. The early season schedule had a few tough tests and they were away from home. Cooley wanted a team ready not just for the MAAC, but the challenges of post season as well.

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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 January 2nd, 2011

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

A Look Back

The non-conference portion of the year, give or take a Bracket Buster or mid-season outlier, is in the books. Fairfield is a team that stood out against non-league opposition. Iona and Rider fared pretty well also.  All that aside, conference play is the major factor. Just after the new year the MAAC schedule, with two games in the books for each team already, gets into full force. Now is the team where teams that struggled early due to injuries, personnel changes or other reasons, make their moves. While a team as Fairfield is off to a solid start, they must be prepared and cast a wary eye on a host of contenders. It should be a fun race.

Power Rankings

1. Fairfield: (2-0, 9-3 overall) Defeated Holy Cross and Vermont to run the win streak to seven games. OE is a modest 98 but the defensive mark is an outstanding 86. Nearly a quarter (24%) of opposing possessions end in a turnover. The offensive rebound margin is a healthy 36-31% edge in favor of the Stags.

Notable: Yorel Hawkins scored ten points and grabbed ten rebounds against Vermont. It was the sixth double-double of Hawkins’ career.

2. Iona: (2-0, 8-5 overall) Snapped a two game losing streak by defeating Hofstra at the Hynes Center. A 73-possession team, the Gaels have an outstanding offensive efficiency rating of 109. The 100 on defense is credible as well. A 19% TO rate and 54% eFG mark solidify the offense. Despite a good defensive number, opponents enjoy a 52% eFG mark.

Notable: Junior guard Scott Machado scored 17 points, pulled down five rebounds and added four assists against Vermont. Machado leads the nation with 8.3 assists per game.

3. St. Peter’s: (2-0, 7-6 overall) Had a five-game win streak snapped by consecutive losses at Rutgers and Lehigh. OE is still low at 87, but the defense, an efficient 93, is keeping the Peacocks competitive as a ‘tough out.’ A TO rate of 23% is not helping the offense. John Dunne’s club is currently a deliberate 62-possession team.

Notable: Sophomore guard Stephen Samuels led St.Peter’s with 14 points at Rutgers. Bad news dominates as Ryan Bacon (ankle) and Wesley Jenkins (hyper-extended knee) are out for two and three weeks, respectively.

4. Marist: (2-0, 2-10 overall) The Red Foxes are in the midst of a four-game tailspin. Defensive efficiency is 109, much higher than acceptable. Marist is not exerting significant ball pressure, as opponents have a 16% TO rate. Offensive efficiency is 87 with only two contests 100 or more.

Notable: Redshirt freshman swingman Anell Alexis is one of the most dependable foul shooters in the MAAC with an .875 (42-48) free throw percentage.

5. Rider: (1-1, 9-5 overall) On a three game win streak with the most recent conquests coming from road wins at LaSalle and Howard. Broncs sport a 108 offensive efficiency and hit a season-high 127 against Howard. Defense is impressive with a DE of 96. Opposition TO rate is a modest 20%, but the defensive eFG mark is an impressive 45%.

Notable: MAAC Player of the Week, Novar Gadson. The 6’7 swingman tied a career high with 25 points in the win at LaSalle, in Gadson’s native Philadelphia.

6. Siena: (1-1, 4-8 overall) The Saints scored a big win against Georgia Tech at home before losing a ‘Franciscan Cup’ meeting at St. Bonaventure. Siena’s giving up 100 DE on that end. The opposition is hitting an eFG percentage of 50 while the Bonnies enjoyed a 56% mark in that contest. Saints had their second highest OE of 117 in that game but gave up their highest, a 123.

Notable: Ryan Rossiter continues to excel. The senior center/forward averages 20 points and 13 rebounds per game. Rossiter battled off a sinus infection and eye injuries to score a game high 19 points in the win over Georgia Tech.

7. Canisius: (0-2, 6-6 overall) Defeated Lamar 78-72 on the road to snap a two-game losing streak. The 72-possession pace might be too fast as the TO rate offensively is 23%. On the season, the defensive efficiency is 100 but the last three opponents have reached 100 or more.

Notable: Senior Elton Frazier scored 22 against Lamar. Frazier leads Canisius with 13.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds an outing.

8. Loyola: (0-2, 4-8 overall) Dropped games at Howard and at home against Bucknell. Greyhounds are on a three-game slide. Offensive efficiency is 96 but the last two games saw Loyola fail to reach 100. Offensive rebounding rate is a positive. Loyola’s OREB percentage is 36% while the opposition is 29%.

NotableJustin Drummond, took home MAAC Rookie of the Week honors. Drummond went off for 21 against Georgetown and followed it up with 15 versus Howard. Drummond leads Loyola in scoring with a 12.7 per game norm.

9. Niagara: (0-2, 3-11 overall) Losses to Quinnipiac and Drexel have extended the losing streak to three games. Purple Eagles still push the pace (72 possessions) and enjoy a 19% TO rate. The OE however is a paltry 89. On defense, the efficiency is a too generous 108 while the opposing eFG mark is 51%.

Notable: Freshman guard Marvin Jordan tied a career high with 17 points against Quinnipiac. Four Purple Eagles scored in double figures in that contest.

10. Manhattan: (0-2, 2-10 overall) Jaspers are in a 10-game losing streak. Their offensive efficiency is 91. In their two wins (over NJIT and Penn) they broke 100 for OE. On the defensive side, the efficiency is 109. Opposition has only an 18% TO rate which hints at average ball pressure applied by the Manhattan defense.

Notable: Sophomore guard George Beamon led the Jaspers with 18 points in a loss to Bowling Green. Beamon has posted a double-double in ten of Manhattan’s first 12 games.

A Look Ahead

January 3

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

January 5

  • Marist at Princeton

January 7

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

January 9

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

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 4th, 2010

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

Looking Back

It is generally assumed the MAAC will be wide open – mo more chasing Siena. Well guess who’s in front after one game? Truth of it is the MAAC will be a great deal of fun for fans and media, a double dose of Advil for coaches. Fairfield is the favorite, but there will be several teams on their heels. Which all adds to upsets, surprises, scoreboard-watching and great fun… except at times for the coaches.

Players of the Week

  • Kyle Smyth, Iona – The sophomore guard had a 26-point first half en route to a career high 29 points in the win at Albany. Smyth tallied a school record eight treys in that game.
  • Ryan Rossiter, Siena – Rossiter averaged 19.3 PPG and 17.7 RPG over the last three games.

Rookie of the Week

Marvin Jordan, Niagara – In a four game stretch, the 5’11 guard averaged 12.5 PPG, 3.0 APG and 2.5 APG. His 17 points in a win over Bowling Green established a new career high.

Power Rankings

1. Siena (2-4, 1-0) – Not an easy road, as the Saints lost to Butler and Princeton (in overtime). Siena drew first blood in conference play with a nice road win at Rider, however. A 22% turnover rate illustrates some of the early difficulties at this point. Their efficiency margin is -1 (100 OE – 101 DE). Despite an uptempo (72 possessions) pace, the Saints are only forcing opponents into a 19% turnover rate.

Player of Note: Ryan Rossiter, who now has a Siena record with 37 career double-doubles.

2. Rider (2-4, 0-1) – Dropped two straight tough ones at home. After losing the conference opener against Siena on Friday, the Broncs were upended by Hofstra two days later. The Broncs sport a 104 offensive efficiency rate and an impressive 55% eFG percentage. They were however, under 100 in both setbacks last weekend. A 22% turnover rate (26% versus Hofstra) has been the root of their undoing in some close contests.

Player of Note: Junior Brandon Penn scored 14 points and added nine rebounds (both career highs) in the loss to Siena.

3. Loyola (3-2) – A loss at Vermont balances a win against Morgan State at home. The Greyhounds are solid defensively, with a 93 DE rating and not too bad on offense sporting an OE of 100. An 18% turnover rate helps the offense smooth while an opposing eFG mark of 44% is a defensive key. Loyola averages 69 possessions per outing but seems comfortable at varying tempos.

Player of Note: Sophomore forward Erik Etherly pulled down a game and career high 13 rebounds in narrow 51-48 setback at Vermont.

4. Canisius (3-2) – Earned a New York split last week, dropping an 81-64 decision to Buffalo at home before defeating Binghamton on the road. The Golden Griffs are holding the opposition to 95 defensive efficiency. Turnovers are noteworthy on both sides of the ball. Canisius forces opposition into a 22% turnover rate, but on their end, the turnover rate is exactly the same and affecting the offense. The weekend is highlighted by visits to Iona on Friday and Marist Sunday.

Player of Note: Senior forward Elton Frazier scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 19 foul-plagued minutes against Buffalo.

5. Iona (3-3) – The Gaels topped Albany and Norfolk State on the road to get to .500. They have a big weekend, hosting Canisius and Niagara. Iona holds opponents to a defensive efficiency rating of 98, but the defensive eFG mark is a too-generous 53.5%. Turnovers have offset that. Tim Cluess’ club is forcing opponents into a hefty 24% turnover rate.

Player of Note: Beside Kyle Smyth’s outburst, junior guard Scott Machado had scored 14 points, paired with a career high 15 assists against Albany.

6. Fairfield (2-3) – The Stags snapped a three-game losing streak with an easy win over Norfolk State in the Hoop Group Classic at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Defense has been sound with a 90.7 defensive efficiency rating. Offensive rebounding percentage has been a strength, leading opponents 35%-28%. The Achilles’ heel to date is a 45% eFG mark. Offensively, the OE rating is coming along at 95, thanks to an eye popping 132 in the 91-56 win over Norfolk.

Player of Note: Senior forward Warren Edney averaged 18 PPG the last two outings.

7. Niagara (2-4) – The Purple Eagles dropped road games to Albany and Detroit, but remain uptempo with 71 possessions per game. Niagara’s been stagnant on both sides of the ball, but at least they take care of the rock, sporting an 18% turnover rate. Still not enough to counter a 41% eFG mark and an offensive rebounding percentage deficit (OREB Pct – Opponents OREB Pct) of -10%, so eventually they’ll have to up their scoring output.

Player of Note: Beside Marvin Jordan’s noted exploits, junior forward Kashief Edwards was named to the Legends Classic Detroit Subregional All-Tournament team after averaging 14.7 PPG with 7.0 RPG.

8. Manhattan (2-4) – The Jaspers had a rough go of it at the Old Spice Classic, dropping three games. In battling Georgia closely, they eventually came up short, dropping a 61-58 matchup. Manhattan simply has trouble scoring; their pace is in the mid sixties possession-wise but the offensive efficiency of 91 and eFG percentage of 41% are woefully below par.

Player of Note: Sophomore forward George Beamon had a consistently strong line against Georgia, 14 points, ten rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.

9. St. Peter’s (2-4) – As was the case last year, good defense, not so good offense. John Dunne’s club earned a nice win over Alabama at the Paradise Jam before coming home to defeat LIU, but took a step back with a loss at Seton Hall. The Peacocks’ OE is 80 while the DE is a more-than-acceptable 96. A return to form of Wesley Jenkins making his season debut against Long Island will help. Keeping Ryan Bacon, the main interior threat, out of foul trouble will also be a positive.

Player of Note: Jeron Belin, a senior forward, hit the game-winner against Alabama and had a team high 23 points against LIU.

10. Marist (0-6) – Another struggle, even in the early going. Red Foxes have dropped all six games by twenty points or more. The efficiency margin is a whopping -36, with the OE at 81 and defensive efficiency a too generous 118. On a bright note, the conference schedule tips off this weekend and both games (Niagara on Friday, Canisius on Sunday) are in the friendly confines of home, the McCann Center.

Player of Note: Redshirt freshman swingman Anell Alexis averaged a gritty 5.3 rebounds over three games since the last update.

A Look Ahead

  • December 4: Rider gets the unfortunate privilege of a trip to the Pete to face Pitt, while Manhattan takes on St. Peter’s.
  • December 5: Niagara and Iona square off while Loyola and Fairfield match up.
  • December 8: Loyola gets a crack at George Mason, but meanwhile in conference play, Niagara pays a visit to Buffalo.
  • December 10: Fairfield meets Siena, while St. Francis (NY) and Canisius battle out of conference.
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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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Morning Five: 10.08.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 8th, 2010

  1. Players are doing individual workouts and getting a good amount of fullcourt run on their own time as they ramp up to the start of practice next weekend, so injuries are inevitable.  A couple of notable ones reported yesterday include St. Peter’s star forward Wesley Jenkins, who is suffering from a partial tear of his ACL, and Michigan State freshman Russell Byrd, who has a stress fracture in his foot.  MSU will be fine without their youngster in the lineup, but St. Peter’s is a team expected to contend in the MAAC this season, so potentially losing Jenkins and his 14/5 averages from 2009-10 could seriously hurt the long-term fortunes of the Peacocks.
  2. Better to be injured than dismissed from the program, we suppose.  UNC’s Will Graves, a player who seems to have been in Tar Heel blue since Matt Doherty was hanging out at Top of the Hill, has been kicked off the team for failing to comply with team rules.  The 6’6 redshirt senior was supposed to be UNC’s top returning scorer (9.8 PPG) and three-point shooter (73 treys last year), but Roy Williams is going to have to find offense elsewhere now.  That Harrison Barnes kid better be pretty good, or it’s progressively looking like another rough season in Chapel Hill.
  3. A little nepotism never hurts, especially when your brother is a successful basketball coach and you’re looking to get back into the game.  Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton has hired his big brother Sean as an advisor, er, “executive advisor to the coaching staff,” which essentially means help out where you can but stay the hell outta my way.  The position is a voluntary one, which means that Sean can advise the coaches but he cannot interrelate with the players.  Of course Sean is coming off an ugly addiction to painkillers that resulted in several felony charges for which he pled guilty, but if he can keep his nose clean the next six months while assisting his brother, we’re sure that a college somewhere out there will be willing to take another chance on him.
  4. Luke Winn’s transparency with how he picked his 53-player Naismith Award ballot last week shows a remarkably similar process as to how we here at RTC went through the country to pick our sixty Impact Players for 2010-11.  What’s that saying? — great minds…  although we’re going to definitely take some heat in coming weeks for a few of our omissions.  No doubt about it.
  5. There were a couple of big commitments yesterday in the recruiting world.  Tony Wroten, a 6’4 point guard from Seattle ranked in the top 30 on, signed with his hometown school Washington over Louisville, UConn, Villanova and Seattle.  Down the I-5 a piece, new head coach Dana Altman got a huge recruiting coup for Oregon by grabbing 6’4 shooting guard and #22-rated Jabari Brown out of Oakland over Arizona State, Washington, Georgia Tech and UConn.  Brown specifically stated that the Nike affiliation and the new facilities drew him to Eugene.  There are now only seventeen uncommitted players in the top 50 of the class of 2011.
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MAAC Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2010

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – The MAAC tournament begins on the men’s side on Friday at the Times Union Center in Albany. The distinction has to be made as the women tip off on Thursday. The MAAC showcases both the men’s and women’s events at the same locations giving fans the opportunity to see the respective programs of all ten members.  Siena is a clear cut favorite. The homecourt advantage and rabid following doesn’t hurt but Siena is a talented, battle tested and well-coached club. They have one loss in the MAAC, a late season setback at Niagara which might have been a blessing in the long run.

The bracket:

All conference honors went to the following:

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2010

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

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

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

Notes and Milestones

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

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

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

Team Breakdowns

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

Upcoming…The BracketBusters

February 19 –

  • William and Mary-Iona

February 20 –

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

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