Friday, November 27, 2015

Recapping a wild Thanksgiving of MAAC Basketball

In case you missed it the MAAC went an impressive 3-0 in games on Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving including two wild finishes and a school's first Victory over a nationally ranked opponent.

Rider vs. Houston Baptist (Cancun)

In the first game of the trio Rider was able to secure their first victory of the season in a hard fought 67-56 victory against Houston Baptist down in Cancun Mexico. The Broncs were lead by a strong performance from Teddy Okereafor who scored 16 points including 4 three-pointers. Rider would end the half on a 16-2 run to take a 36-22 lead into the break and wouldn't look back from there. The Broncs would lead by double digits the entire second half until the final 6 seconds in the Decisive win.

George Mason at Manhattan

In the second game of Thanksgiving eve the Jaspers welcomed George Mason University to Draddy. The Patriots we just coming off victories against power conference foes in Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. The Jaspers entered the game with only 6 available players (including a walk-on) due to injuries. Things were not looking pretty for the Jaspers in the 2nd half down 16 and Zane Waterman fouled out but some how the Jasper clawed all the way back and found themselves down 1 with seconds remaining. Tyler Wilson dropped the ball down to Shane Richards in the post with less than 5 seconds left and the rest is history... (See Video Below):

Monmouth vs. #17 Notre Dame (Orlando)

Monmouth would enter this game full of confidence after already taking down UCLA at Pauley Pavilion and taking USC to the wire last week. The Hawks would hang tough in the first half carried by the bench. Justin Robinson would turn it on in the second half for the Hawks dropping 22 points in the victory including two free throws with 3.6 seconds left. These free throws would put them up for good and the Hawks would win 70-68. The real winner (on the internet anyway) would be the Hawks bench who became an instant viral hit (below):

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 Weekly Power Rankings [Week 2]

Canisius Senior Kevin Bleeker helps the Griffs to a 2-1 record 

Lots of shuffling in the Power Rankings for Week #2. The top two teams remain the same after continued strong performances from Monmouth and Canisius. Siena moved up the list after pulling even at 2-2 after a brutal 0-2 start against both defending national finalists. Iona slightly redeemed their first two 20+ point losses after taking their home opener at Delaware. Niagara and Fairfield have been a pleasant surprise and round out the top half of the Power Rankings. See full rankings for week #2 below:

1. Monmouth University Hawks (2-1):
After opening the season 1-1 on a west coast road trip in which they split with PAC-12 foes UCLA & USC the Monmouth Hawks continued their travels rolling into Philadelphia on Saturday to take on a feisty Drexel team out of the CAA. The Hawks made pretty easy work out of the Dragons, dropping them 82-74. Monmouth has another opportunity to build their resume as they take on Notre Dame on Thanksgiving.

2. Canisius College Golden Griffins (2-1): 
The Griffs also only had one game in week two where they crushed Ivy League bottom feeder, Cornell on Saturday 87-62. The Griffs look to be firing on all cylinders especially on their home court. They get another shot to grab a "W" on their home court tonight when they take on local Western New York rivals St. Bonaventure out of the Atlantic 10 conference.

3. Siena College Saints (2-2):
The Saint's made the biggest jump this week after turning an 0-2 record into 2-2 after week #2. The 0-2 record was a little misleading as both losses came against last year's national finalists, Duke and Wisconsin. In week 2 they were able to take down a strong Redford University team, who knocked of Georgetown earlier in the week. They followed up the Redford win with another convincing victory against 2k Classic sub-regional host Bryant in the sub-regional championship game. The Saint's will look to carry their momentum into Week 3 where they will open at Bucknell this evening.

4. Iona College Gaels (1-2):
The Gaels followed up their tough loss to Valpo with another 20 point loss to Oregon State in Corvallis. While the Gaels were not supposed to win either of those games, they should have been a lot closer than they were. In the Gaels first two games this season they are averaging just 65.5 points per game which is down a whole 13.5 points from their season average (79 ppg) last year. Similarly the Gaels are giving up 88 points per game this season compared to 73 last season. Finally the Gaels were home and facing another mid-major when they took on Delaware earlier this week. They made easy work of the Blue Hens 92-77. It looks like The Gaels may have found their offensive touch again and we anticipate wins in their next two games against MAAC opponents Fairfield and Marist.

5. Niagara University Purple Eagles (2-3):
The Purple eagles have a crooked number in their win column, and that is more than any teams below them on the power rankings can say. After starting out 0-2 against two quality teams in Old Dominion, and St. Josephs, they were able to bounce back and win 2 of 3 games in week #2. Sophomore Matt Scott looks like an absolute stud for the Purple Eagles who in the 3 games this week averaged 17.3 ppg, 7.7 rebounds, 5 assists, & 3 steals per game. The eagles knocked off Brown decisively and pulled a strong 2nd half comeback against North Carolina A&T while falling to a very strong Vermont team 85-67.

6. Fairfield University Stags (1-3):
If you had Fairfield middle of the pack power rankings in week 2 -- that makes one of us. After the Stags went 0-2 in week 1 (including a loss to #1 UNC) they were able to bounce back and split their two games in week #2. In their first game of the week they put up a really good fight against BIG TEN opponent, Northwestern before ultimately falling at the end 72-79 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. They followed up the tough loss with an emotional win against in state Rival Sacred Heart in overtime on Saturday, 83-79. Take the two hard fought losses to power 5 conference schools on the road and your Stags are .500 on the season. Stags will look to keep their winning ways alive tonight on the road at Maryland Eastern Shore as part of the same CBE Hall of Fame Classic tournament.

7. Saint Peter's University Peacocks (1-3):
Saint Peter's and their freshman star Antwon Portley looked to be very promising 1-1 record in week 1 including the MAAC's first win of the season taking down Brown at home. Week 2 was not as kind to Peacocks who went 0-2 losing two games by a combined 4 points to Hartford at home and in state rival Princeton on the road. Despite the two very close losses we expect the Peacocks to bounce back. Expect them rise up the ranks next week after they face FDU on the rod.

8. Quinnipiac University Bobcats (1-2):
Bobcats were able to get a win in week 2 after going 0-1 in week 1. They quickly fell to 0-2 after losing to a quality Vermont team early in the week before bouncing back and knocking off Holy Cross at home 62-56 to get their first win of the season. They will be home for two games next week in which they will host NC Central and Albany. A split in those two games would be a positive for the Bobcats.

9. Marist College Red Foxes (1-2):
After going 0-1 in week 1 with a loss to a bad Holy Cross team, the Red Foxes of Marist were able to bounce back and split their match-ups in week 2. They started the week by winning at home to Ivy League foe Dartmouth by 10 points, 73-63. They then dropped a close one at Kent State in some MAC on MAAC action in Ohio by a score of 79-72. The Red Foxes will have a tough week next week as they take on a Vermont team who is undefeated against the MAAC this season.

10. Rider University Broncs (0-3):
It's tough to list the likes of Quinnipiac and Marist ahead of a Rider team that many thought would finish the season in the top 3 of the MAAC, however both those teams have something that the Broncs do not - a win. The Broncs followed up their week 1 loss to Princeton by going 0-2 in week 2. They lost to a depleted La Salle squad on the road in Philly on Tuesday. The Broncs almost redeemed themselves on Friday when they gave #3 Maryland all they could handle but ultimately fell the the ACC frontrunners 65-58.

11. Manhattan College Jaspers (0-2): 
The Jaspers went 0-1 for their second consecutive week after getting run off their new home court 80-67 by Bison of Bucknell on Saturday in their home opener. The Jaspers are still looking for players to get healthy and looking for someone to step up and replace what they lost in the departure of forward Jermaine Lawrence. This could be a long long season for the Jaspers.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday [11/21/15] MAAC Previews, Predictions and Viewing Guide

Niagara Purple Eagles are in action tonight at The Mohegan Sun Arena against Vermont. 

Huge day in MAAC Land today with 8 teams in action across the country starting early with a 2:00pm tip down in Philadelphia where Monmouth will look to continue their strong road trip against the Dragons of Drexel. Shortly after that tip we will have an all-upstate-New York battle between Canisius and Cornell in Buffalo. Niagara will round out the early games when they travel to Vermont to take on the Catamounts of the American East conference at 5:00pm.

There are also a group of 4 of 7:00pm tips which will feature the short-handed Jaspers making their debut on their brand new bright green court in Riverdale against Bucknell of the Patriot League. Marist will be in Ohio to take on Kent State out of the MAC and Fairfield will be home to face in-state rivals Sacred Heart out of the NEC. Siena will conclude it's 2k Classic games with a matchup with Bryant in Rhode Island.

The night cap will feature a 9:00pm tip between Saint Peter's and instate rival Princeton which will be played at Dillon gymnasium on Princeton's campus which has not hosted a basketball game since 1969.

Monmouth at Drexel

Time / Location: 2:00 pm / Daskalakis Athletic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Last Meeting: 2005-06, Drexel 76 - Monmouth 47
Spread: Monmouth [-3.5]
Watch Link: Drexel TV Prediction: Drexel has had a tough go at it so far and are looking to get their first win of the season at home tonight against the Hawks. Monmouth had a great west coast trip and should be full of confidence coming into this one. As long as Monmouth does't look past a quality Drexel team they should be able to pull this one out. Monmouth Covers 76-69

Canisius vs. Cornell

Time / Location: 3:15 pm / Koessler Athletic Center, Buffalo, New York
Last Meeting: 2014-15, Conrnell 67 - Canisius 60
Spread: Canisius [-11]
Watch Link: ESPN3 Prediction: Canisius is one of the more underrated and under the radar teams in the MAAC this year. If they are able to keep their offensive production at the pace we saw in the past few contests they should handle Cornell at home. Canisius Covers 86 - 73

Niagara vs Vermont

Time / Location: 5:00pm / Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Last Meeting: 2013-14 Niagara 68 - Vermont 65
Spread: Vermont [-7.5]
Watch Link: ESPN3 Prediction: Niagara has had Vermont's number over the years going 16-3 including winning 7 of the last 8 meetings. Vermont is clearly the better team this year but Niagara has already proven they are better than everyone anticipated. Vermont squeaks this one out but Niagara Covers. Vermont 78 - Niagara 73

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday [11/20/15] MAAC Previews, Predictions & Viewing Guide

Iona Gaels are back in action tonight in their home opener against Delaware at Hynes Athletic Center. 

Three good MAAC Games are on tap for tonight as  Siena, Iona & Rider all look to get their first wins of the season. Siena will take on Radford as part of the 2k classic at a neutral site game on the campus of Bryant University. Iona will face Delaware in their home opener at Hynes. Rider will have the biggest challange of the evening when they take on Maryland in College park as part of the Cancun Challenge.

Siena vs. Radford

Time / Location: 4:30 pm / Chace Athletic Center, Smithfield, Rhode Island
Last Meeting: 2014-15 Radford 76 - Siena 66
Spread: None Available
Watch Link: NEC Front Row Prediction: Radford is very hard to read  as they had some early season success taking down Georgetown in double overtime in their season opener but then got crushed by VCU in their second game. Most recently they struggled with Non-D1 Catawba winning by single digits. Siena has had a tough go so far after losing to both 2015 national finalists but have shown promising signs. We'll take Siena 68-59

Rider @ Maryland

Time / Location: 7:00pm / XFINITY Center, College Park, Maryland
Last Meeting: 1995-96, Maryland 83 - Rider 67
Spread: Maryland [-19]
Watch Link: Big 10 Network Prediction: The Terps are one of the top teams int he country. Rider has lost two very winnable games to mid-majors. The game is in College Park. You do the math. We like Maryland big in this one... 80-58

Delaware @ Iona

Time / Location: 7:00pm / Hynes Athletic Center, New Rochelle, NY
Last Meeting: 2007-08, Iona 57 - Delaware 52
Spread: Iona [-9]
Watch Link: MAAC.TV Prediction: The Gaels are 5-0 against the Blue Hens in their season history dating back to 1955. The Gaels are coming off of two brutal losses and are returning home for the first time all season. Expect the Gaels to turn things around tonight and take out frustrations on Delaware. We're going Gaels 80-68.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday [11/17/15] MAAC Previews, Predictions & Viewing Guide

Iona Sophomore Guard S. Casimir will look to get Iona back on track tonight in Corvallis against Oregon State. 

Three MAAC games on the docket for tonight. Rider, Marist & Iona all look to bounce back from opening day losses and even their records at 1-1. Rider is in Philly to take on La Salle. Marist has their second straight home game where they will take on Dartmouth and Iona is out west taking on PAC-12 bottom dweller Oregon State. Below is our previews, predictions and watch links for each game:

Rider @ La Salle

Time / Location: 7:00pm / Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Last Meeting: 2012-13, La Salle 63 - Rider 52 
Spread: La Salle [-4]
Watch Link: A10 Network Prediction: The Broncs will look to bounce back after a tough loss at home to Princeton earlier in the week. La Salle and rider go way back as old NEC rivals but times have changed. La Salle is always tough especially on their home court. This is going to be a tough one coming down to the wire. Could go either way but we think La Salle pulled it out at home 72-68.

Dartmouth @ Marist

Time / Location: 7:00pm / McCann Arena, Poughkeepsie, New York
Last Meeting: 2000-01, Marist 68 - Dartmouth 54
Spread: Dartmouth [-2.5]
Watch Link: Red Fox Network Prediction: This is another chance for Marist to pick up a win against another sub-par opponent. Dartmouth was picked 6/8 in the IVY League preseason coaches poll ahead of only Penn and Cornell. While we are all pulling for Coach Mike Maker here we just don't think he has the horses in the race. We think Dartmouth squeaks out a win in 70-68.

Iona @ Oregon State

Time / Location: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Oregon
Last Meeting: First Meeting
Spread: Oregon State [-7]
Watch Link: PAC-12 Network Prediction: Expect the Gaels to come out firing tonight after getting crushed by Valpo on Saturday. This is actually a winnable game for the Gaels against an Oregon State team who finished dead last in PAC-12 preseason voting. Expect this game to be a tight game that could go either way. We anticipate another week before the Iona cobwebs shake off but this one will be a competitive 84-81 loss for the Gaels.