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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Team-by-Team guide to the MAAC tournament

Senior Anthony Myles hopes Rider can turn things around in the MAAC tourney. Photo by John Blaine.

March is here so let the madness begin.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament tips off Thursday in what promises to be another open field. The last time the top seed won the MAAC tourney was Siena in 2010.

With 11 teams competing in the league — Monmouth and Quinnipiac were added and Loyola departed — the top five seeds all get a bye while 6-11 play in Thursday’s opening round.

First check out these links to keep you updated on Rider:

Rider searching for answers at MAAC tourney

Myles says Broncs still have life left

Despite bad luck, Rider women eager for MAAC tourney

Here’s a look at the 11 schools competing for the conference’s NCAA tournament automatic berth:

1. Iona (20-9, 17-3): Tim Cluess’ Gaels didn’t take a step back as some anticipated, instead winning the regular-season title with room to spare. Sean Armand (17.8 ppg, 44 percent from 3) was his usual self, but the emergence of A.J. English (17.7 ppg) as a first team All-MAAC player was key. David Laury is a 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward that moves like a guard making him a tough cover.

2. Manhattan (22-7, 15-5): Jaspers won eight of their last nine, including a thrilling OT victory over Iona. Steve Masiello’s crew loves to press with human eraser Rhamel Brown anchoring the defense. George Beamon is an electric scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game.

Manhattan's George Beamon is third in the MAAC in scoring. Photo by John Blaine.

3. Quinnipiac (19-10, 14-6): Bobcats will be a tough out because of the way they bang the boards, leading the country with 46 rebounds per game. Lost guard Umar Shannon to a knee injury late in the season and finished with two shaky losses that should have coach Tom Moore concerned. Ike Azotam averages a double- double (16.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and Ousmane Drame is an solid rim protector.

4. Canisius (20-11, 14-6): Lost out on the No. 2 seed to Manhattan on the in the regular-season finale which means a semifinal date with Iona could be on tap. Billy Baron (24.6 ppg, third nationally) is the best player in the league and any chance to beat the Golden Griffins starts with slowing him down and making the other guys step up.

5. Siena (15-16, 11-9): Jimmy Patsos has the Saints playing well at the right time of the year. Jersey boy Rob Poole (14.6 ppg) is having an excellent season while freshmen Marquis Wright and Lavon Long — when he can stay out of foul trouble — have developed nicely. Patsos is worth the price of admission for his postgame pressers.

6. Marist (12-18, 9-11): Sleeper alert. The Red Foxes picked up the No. 6 seed on the final day of the regular season by dropping 103 points on Quinnipiac. If Marist can get by Niagara, it would face the Bobcats in the quarterfinals. Chavaughn Lewis averages 17.3 points per game.

7. Saint Peter’s (13-16, 9-11): Playing the best of the three Jersey schools, having ripped off four straight victories entering the tournament. Marvin Dominique (16.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg) has been an impact transfer and may have deserved a look for the MAAC first team.

8. Rider (13-16, 9-11): Broncs stumbled to the finish line losing seven of their last eight. Senior stars Anthony Myles (16 ppg) and Danny Stewart (15.1 ppg) have been too inconsistent with Kevin Baggett having to rely heavily on freshman Jimmie Taylor (12 ppg). Went 1-7 against the top four teams.

9. Monmouth (11-20, 5-15): Young Hawks finished the season losing 10 of their last 11. King Rice looks like he has some talent in West Long Branch and this year has had its growing pains. Andrew Nicholas leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per game.

10. Fairfield (7-24, 4-16): Disappointing year for Sydney Johnson’s Stags, who average just 63.5 points per game. Senior Maurice Barrow (14 ppg) comes off the bench to provide some offensive punch.

11. Niagara (6-25, 3-17): What a difference a year makes. Coach Joe Mihalich left for Hofstra and took two of the Purple Eagles’ three best players with him. The result was a first to worst for Niagara under new coach Chris Casey. Antoine Mason ranks second nationally in scoring, averaging 25.2 points per game.

The Pick: Manhattan over Iona.


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