I'm leaving tomorrow for Albany and the MAAC tournament, which, as I wrote in today's column
in The Trentonian, is anyone's to win.
This will be my third trip to the MAAC tournament, and this is the first time I truly would not be surprised if any of the top six teams won the tournament. As I pointed out in my column -- and as MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor indicated when I talked to him last Sunday at the Broncs' Zoo -- sixth-seeded Marist -- which beat Rider and Niagara and is now at 100 percent health-wise after the return of Louie McCroskey -- could easily win this thing. Same is true about No. 5 Fairfield, the only team other than Rider to beat everyone in the league at least once. And I don't need to convince anyone that any of the top four seeds are capable of winning it as well.
But you can't preview a tournament without making some picks, so....
I'd like to announce the second TCHB Pick Em challenge. Since no one won the TCHB Super Bowl pick em, we'll give this one a shot. The winner gets a free t-shirt of his/her favorite college basketball team. E-mail your picks and favorite team to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlike the Super Bowl pick em, some one is guarenteed to win. Essentially, it's a tournament pool, with a fairly conventional points system.
The scoring system will be two points per game for the play-in round, four points per game in the quarterfinals, eight points per game in the semifinals and 16 points for the championship game. The tie-break will be total number of points scored in the title game.
I'd like this to be as competitive and entertaining as possible, so play and tell all your friends to play. Picks can be submitted up until 7:30 p.m. Friday, when the first game of the tournament (No. 8 Manhattan against No. 9 Saint Peter's) tips off.
Here are my picks:
No. 8 Manhattan over No. 9 Saint Peter's; No. 7 Iona over No. 10 Canisius
No. 1 Siena over No. 8 Manhattan; No. 2 Rider over No. 7 Iona; No. 5 Fairfield over No. 4 Loyola; No. 6 Marist over No. 3 Niagara.
Semifinals: No. 1 Siena over No. 5 Fairfield; No. 2 Rider over No. 6 Marist
Finals: No. 2 Rider over No. 1 Siena.
Bring on the picks!