Iona and Manhattan start MAAC play tonight

MAAC play started last night with St. Peter’s defeated Siena and Loyola (Md.) taking down Marist. It continues tonight with three games, including Manhattan at Rider and Iona at Canisius. Here are some things to watch for tonight.

Canisius vs. Iona — The Gaels have been the best team in the MAAC during non-conference play thus far and it’s reflected in their awesome rating in Ken Pomeroy. Iona ranks 47th in the nation. Even on the road it has an 85% chance of coming away with the victory. Canisius has lost two games in the row, including a 94-59 loss to Buffalo in its last outing. The Golden Griffins are as bad at defending and the Gaels are good at scoring, so expect a lot of points in this one. Harold Washington is the guy to look out for. He averages 18.3 points per game for Cansius. Junior guard Gaby Belardo, the team’s third leading scorer, is out for this game, making it an even tougher task.

Rider vs. Manhattan — Coming into the season the Broncs were expected to compete with the elite teams in the league like Iona and Fairfield for the conference title. Instead they’re sitting at 1-6 overall and hoping for a restart in MAAC play. Rider is a slight favorite in this game, but the return of George Beamon in Manhattan’s last game against Penn is a good sign for the Jaspers. Rider has struggled on defense this season, but that may be mitigated by the fact that Manhattan has had trouble scoring all season as well. Maybe some of those threes the Jaspers take will go down tonight and get Steve Masiello’s conference career off on the right foot.

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