Rick Pitino and the ninth-seeded Iona Gaels can complete a stunning postseason run when they take on the No. 7 seed Fairfield Stags on Saturday in the 2021 MAAC Tournament championship game at Atlantic City, N.J. The Gaels (11-5) received a low seed after playing only 13 games during the regular season due to multiple COVID-19 pauses but have ripped off three straight wins in the tournament after not playing for 2 1/2 weeks. The Gaels face an improbable opponent in Fairfield (10-16), which split a pair of games with Iona in mid-December.
Tip-off is at 4 p.m. ET at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The Gaels are favored by eight points in the latest Iona vs. Fairfield odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 130.5. Before locking in any Fairfield vs. Iona picks, be sure to see the college basketball predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It has also returned over $400 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Iona vs. Fairfield in the MAAC Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Fairfield vs. Iona:
- Iona vs. Fairfield spread: Iona -8
- Iona vs. Fairfield over-under: 130.5 points
- IONA: The Gaels are making their eighth straight appearance in the MAAC title game
- FAIR: The Stags are 3-5 in MAAC championship games, last losing to Iona in 2018
Why Fairfield can cover
Guard Jake Wojcik leads the Stags in scoring at 13.6 points per game and is averaging 17.8 points and 5.8 assists over the past four games, including a season-high 33 at Manhattan on March 5. A transfer from Richmond, he was not declared eligible to play until the week after the two-game set against Iona. Second-leading scorer Taj Benning was held without a field goal Friday but had 26 points in the two games vs. the Gaels.
The Stags have been reliant on their defense during their season-high four-game winning streak, surrendering an average of 58.0 during that span. They held Monmouth, the highest-scoring team in the MAAC, to a season-low 60 points in the quarterfinals. Fairfield also avenged their loss to Iona behind a suffocating defensive effort, limiting the Gaels to a season-worst point total (52) and 32.7 percent shooting.
Why Iona can cover
Senior guard Isaiah Ross had more turnovers (8) than points (4) or rebounds (7) in Friday's win but he averaged a team-leading 20.5 points during the regular season. He had one of his three 30-point games in the victory against Fairfield in December and also had a 23-point game against the Stags last season. Ross shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent from behind the arc during the regular season.
Senior guard Asante Gist led the way against Niagara with 19 points and is averaging 16.0 points over his last five games -- a span in which he's hit 33 of 35 free throws. Freshman forward Nelly Junior Joseph just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds Friday night. Named the MAAC Newcomer of the Year, he averaged 12.1 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 61.2 percent in the regular season.
How to make Fairfield vs. Iona picks
The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 135 points. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Fairfield vs. Iona? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.