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Blog Entry

2010 Metro Atlantic (MAAC) Tournament Preview

Posted on: March 5, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: March 5, 2010 11:55 am
 

2010 MAAC Tournament
Albany, NY - Times Union Center (8,065 cap.)

Ahhh...March Madness is once again upon us and that means an entire month in front of the TV watching college basketball. This is my favorite time of year, it beats the Super Bowl and NFL playoffs, baseball and the World Series, everything. Maybe it's the brackets. Maybe it's the upsets. Maybe it's just the best post-season format in sports (and adding thirty teams would kill it, but that's for another day).

Either way, I get 5 weeks of great college basketball with the Metro Atlantic tourney this weekend, the Big East tourney next week and the NCAA tourney from mid-March to April. Okay, so not everyone cares about the MAAC tournament, but the Big East tournament is going to have huge bubble implications and well, the NCAA tournament is just great. Especially the first weekend with the first two rounds. Nothing can top that week.

So, without further ado, my Metro Atlantic tournament preview...

MAAC Standings
Brackets

The bottom four in the standings will play (7v10 / 8v9) Friday in the first round. Those teams will be reseeded, the lowest seed playing No. 1 Siena and the higher playing No. 2 Fairfield in the quarterfinals. The other two quarterfinals are set all ready set (3 Iona-6 Niagara / 4 St. Peters- 6 Rider).

The Favorite - No. 1 Siena

I am getting sick of this team. But that's what happens when you're dominating everyone in conference play. No one can beat these guys. It's the best team and program in the conference. Fran McCaffery's four-headed monster of Alex Franklin, Edwin Ubiles, Ryan Rossiter and Clarence Jackson (14 ppg or higher) have lead Siena to another regular season MAAC title and they're looking for their third consectutive NCAA tournament berth. But they'll likely need to win the tournament, as their resume lacks good non-conference wins. Either way, they're playing at home where they're 14-0 this season and are the odds on favorites to win.

The Contenders - No. 2 Fairfield, No. 5 Rider, No. 6 Niagara

Could Iona and St. Peter's (ranked 3 and 4 respectively) make noise in the MAACs, absolutely, but I wouldn't be picking them. Fairfield has quietly had the second best season in the conference, and they've been quietly good for a few years now. Ed Cooley's Stags have endured personnel problems, injuries and a host of other things in recent years and they still keep winning. Fairfield played Siena tough this year, though they lost both times, Siena had to hold on for a two-point victory in Albany on Feb. 8.

Niagara and Rider were pre-season favorites to contend with Siena for the MAAC title. Though they both didn't have great seasons, both overall and in the MAAC, both teams have the talent to beat Siena. Niagara actually has done it, an 87-74 home win Feb. 12. Niagara however lost the tie-breaker with Rider for the 5th seed since Rider swept the season series with the Purple Eagles. Personally, I'd want to be on the other half of the bracket, awaay from Siena, but that's because Siena crushed Rider in both meetings 84-62 and 80-54 this season. Rider however does have the MAAC's best non-conference win, at Miss. St, who was ranked 19th to open the season.

Cinderella Story - No. 7 Canisus

If you're looking for a team to win from the MAAC's bottom four and first round teams, the Griffs are your best bet. They'll have to beat hapless Marist (1-28) and then Fairfield to make the semifinals. Canisus lost both games to Fairfield this year, but by a total of only 8 points.

Quarterfinal to Watch - No. 5 Rider vs. No. 4 St. Peter's

These two in-state rivals split their season series, with each team winning on the other's home court. And these two student fan bases don't need much of a reason to get excited for this game. Only bad news - winner plays Siena.

MAAC Tournament Final That You Want To See... No. 2 Fairfield vs. No. 1 Siena

Okay, I know that chalk isn't all that exciting, but Fairfield has the best resume against Siena, even with two losses. They've been the only team to threaten Siena's home court this season, where the Saints are undefeated. For a national TV stage, these are the two best teams in the MAAC this season. Siena's NCAA resume probably won't be enough to make it into the big dance, so they'll need a MAAC tournament title to seal their fourth trip to the big dance.

PREDICTIONS

First Round:
[7] Canisus, [8] Loyola MD
Quarters: [1] Siena - [5] Rider, [2] Fairfield - [6] Niagara
Semisfinals: [1] Siena - [2] Fairfield
MAAC Title: [1] Siena

Siena is just too good right now at home. Thankfully, the MAAC tournament is moving to Springfield, Mass for the 2012 MAAC tournament, a nuetral site for all Metro Atlantic teams. The 2011 Tournament will take place in Bridgeport, CT and the Arena at Harbor Yard, the off-campus home of the Fairfield Stags. Siena is the class of the Metro Atlantic right now and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. Regardless, even if Siena losses, they have earned an automatic bid to the NIT by virtue of their regular season MAAC title.

I'll be around all weekend blogging about the MAAC before focusing on the Big East next week. And now to channel my inner Dick Vitale..

March Madness is here BABY!!! Greatest time of the year!!!

Comments

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2010 10:03 am
 

2010 Metro Atlantic (MAAC) Tournament Preview

I'm a proud HOMER and yes... the tourney should rotate!!! There are plenty of decent arena's around the MAAC and to be fair, the Times union Center (Pepsi/Knick Arena whatever it will be called next..) is an unfair advantage.

Rider looked good against St. Pete's... 4 scorers in double figures and Thompson looked like the Player of the Year he was anticipated to be. Very nervous about this afternoons game. Siena is very vulnerable... Franklin is still playing great, but Ubiles looks like he's sleep walking!!!!

Good luck to you as well JEagle....



Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2010 2:19 pm
 

2010 Metro Atlantic (MAAC) Tournament Preview

For those that couldn't tell, Marmlin is our resident Siena homer. And yes, he's right about many things here. Moving the conference to a neutral site, in Springfield, Mass. is stupid. The MAAC has no team in the state and Siena and Fairfield are two of the closer teams anyway.

I don't see why a rotation between Albany, Bridgeport/Fairfield, CT and New Jersey is such a bad thing. And I have no comments on Commish Ensor. That's for another day.

Good luck to Siena, Marmlin. I hope my Broncs get to see you tomorrow.



Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2010 2:03 pm
 

2010 Metro Atlantic (MAAC) Tournament Preview

It wouldn't matter if the MAAC tournament was played in Tahiti... Siena has only lost 3 games in the past 2 years in conference and is going to 3 peat monday night....

Moving the tourney to Springfield is only going to hurt the MAAC financially in the long run. The games are going to be ghost towns... You think Niagara and Canisius traveled poorly to Albany.... Wait till we get to Springfield??? The home court advantage for Siena in this tourney is a myth anyways. Siena has only won it 3 times in the 15 years or so that it was held in Albany and it's a knee jerk reaction to how good a program Siena has become! The Times Union Center is still going to be Siena's home court, they will stil have that recruiting advantage and the reality is that Siena's fan base is just larger than the other MAAC schools...

Here's the funny part.... Siena is still the closest school to Springfield (maybe w/ the exception of Fairfield?) and will still outdraw every other school 5 to 1 at the Tourney. Look for Siena to make a move to another conference in the next 3 years... Ensor (League Commish..) is an idiot!!!


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