Games of the Week
My favorite day of the basketball season other than conference tournaments is the last day of the regular season, when several games always have direct seeding implications. But of equal importance are some of the games taking place on Friday, which will set up Sunday's storylines.
The Games of the Week list has three from Sunday and two from Friday, starting with ...
5. Siena at Rider, Friday, 7 p.m., ESPNU
This isn't the toss-up game it was last year, when the Broncs handed the Saints their first MAAC loss. But it also isn't shaping up to be an all-out lashing like the teams' Dec. 23 meeting in Alabny. The Saints could use a road win coming off a lackluster second half at Butler, and the Broncs could clinch at least sixth place with a win and a Canisius loss at Loyola.
4. Canisius at Rider, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Yes, it's true that the No. 7 seed will have a virtually automatic win over Marist in the tournament play-in round, but that doesn't mean any team would be happy about playing next Friday night. The Broncs control their own destiny, but if they lose Friday to Siena, they'll need a win here to avoid that 7-10 game.
3. Niagara at Fairfield, Sunday, noon, MAAC TV
Seeding implications aside, few matchups are more intriguing than this one. The Purple Eagles look like they may have turned a corner, while the Stags are rolling despite having been further ravaged by injuries.
2. Iona at Saint Peter's, Sunday, 2 p.m.
How big this game is will depend largely on what happens Friday. But it's possible that the No. 3 seed will be on the line -- an important factor because the 4 seed would be stuck on Siena's side of the bracket in Albany.
1. Iona at Fairfield, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Gaels, coming off an impressive BracketBuster win, can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win. The Stags, though, have been tough to beat at home and are playing their best basketball of the season.