Team-by-team guide to MAAC tournament
Loyola (21-8, 13-5): The Greyhounds have their first 20-win season as a Division I program and with First Team All-League selection Erik Etherly (13.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) leading the way are a dangerous team. Jimmy Patsos does a great job of getting his team to play hard for 40 minutes but the coach is also no stranger to the ill-advised technical foul.
Manhattan (20-11, 12-6): What a job Steve Masiello has done to take the Jaspers from six wins to a third-place finish. George Beamon, who leads the league in scoring with 18.4 points per game, has been a big reason why. But he’ll need help and the health of point guard Michael Alvarado (fractured orbital bone) is key. If he can’t go, Manhattan could have trouble in the favorites role.
Fairfield (17-13, 12-6): Can the league’s biggest underachiever make a run to the tourney title? It’s going to be tough without point guard Derek Needham (broken foot) but Rakim Sanders (16.7 ppg) is as good as any player in the league.
Rider (13-18, 10-8): Have the Broncs finally got it right? Two impressive wins in the final weekend have Tommy Dempsey’s squad thinking it can rewrite the scrip to a frustrating season. Novar Gadson looks more explosive than he did two months ago, averaging 19.6 points per game in his last five.
Siena (13-16, 8-10): The main concern has to be the health of point guard Evan Hymes. The diminutive freshman injured his leg in the regular-season finale and it’s hard to see the Saints advancing without him. Siena does have wins over Iona, Manhattan and Fairfield so it is capable of pulling the upset especially if OD Anosike gets rolling.
Niagara (13-18, 8-10): The explosive freshmen backcourt of Juan’ya Green (17.5 ppg) and Antoine Mason (15.4 ppg) gives the Purple Eagles a chance in most games. They can’t sleep on lowly Canisius in the play-in. The Griffs should be pumped up for the rivalry game.
Marist (13-17, 7-11): Not a bad season for the perennial strugglers. The Red Foxes closed the year by winning six out of eight and should be favored to get by St. Peter’s in the play-in. The backcourt of Devin Price and Chavaughn Lewis (13.9 ppg each) are formidable.
St. Peter’s (5-25, 4-14): John Dunne’s club was always going to struggle after losing its top four scorers from last season’s championship team. The Peacocks have lost seven in a row.
Canisius (5-24, 1-14): It’s been a tough year for Tom Parrotta’s club. The Griffs aren’t very good and not having Gabby Belardo 100 percent the entire season hasn’t help. Harold Washington (16.7 ppg) picked up Second Team honors but it’s hard to see this team surprising anyone. A rivalry game with Niagara in the play-in should at least have them motivated.