Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament preview

This is part 8 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Monmouth 18-2
St Peter's 14-6
Iona 12-8
Siena 12-8
Fairfield 11-9
Rider 10-10
Canisius 10-10
Quinnipiac 7-13
Niagara 7-13
Marist 5-15
Manhattan 5-15

Tournament format:
Thursday March 2 to Monday March 6.  (semis March 5, quarterfinals March 3/4.  They're sharing the tournament with the women, which throws off all the schedules.  Gah)  We're at a neutral site at Albany here.  All 11 teams are going.

The matchups:
1) Monmouth vs. 8/9) Quinnipiac/Niagara
4) Siena vs. 5) Fairfield
3) Iona vs. 6/11) Rider/Manhattan
2) St Peter's vs. 7/10) Canisius/Marist

The stakes:
MAAC was RPI 16.  That's about average for them.  Sometimes they sneak an at-large candidate into the fray, but not this year.  This includes RPI 42 Monmouth, who doesn't have the resume it had last year.  Their only Top 100 win is Princeton, so much like others we've talked about already, they have the RPI and nothing else working in their favor (there's also a win at Memphis mixed in that could help).  3 of their 5 losses are true quality, too.  Monmouth is in line for a 13 seed, as the combination of a competent conference and a Top 50 RPI does bode well for them.

If someone else wins the conference, they'll probably avoid Dayton, but a 15 or 16 seed would be a threat.  St Peter's 134 RPI, Iona 118 RPI.  Seems like a 15 seed to me, at face value.  No one really has a quality win to work with for seeding.  Well, Iona beat Nevada?  So maybe a 14 seed.

No one's in NIT range, which is a mild upset for this conference.  St Peter's and Iona would be a lock for the CIT if they want it, and Fairfield, Canisius, and Rider are all eligible (and Siena can get there with 2 wins).  So expect a healthy MAAC presence in the EIEIO tournaments.