After the December weekend of MAAC play, Iona and Saint Peter’s are the only schools with a chance to go undefeated.
KenPom doesn’t give either much of a chance of running the table, giving the Gaels 0.2%, with the Peacocks at just 0.0036%, when you calculate their win probability from the site. Also we found out this conference is the one that localized the best out of all 32 conferences. Here are the numbers to know from the past week.
101 – That’s the average points per game the Iona Gaels have scored in their first two MAAC contests. Iona has struggled with injuries and Schadrac Casimir sat out Friday night, but the Gaels continued their dominance of the conference. The more interesting stat is on Friday at Marist, Iona made 73.4% of their two-pointers, which was thanks to Jordan Washington dominating inside in the second half.
16 – That is the number of three-pointers Canisius made in its MAAC opener against Monmouth, one fewer than the program’s record set at Marist three years ago. The Golden Griffins made 19 three-pointers in their last two contests prior to facing the high-flying Hawks. Seven Griffs scored in double-figures as Canisius set the school record for points scored in regulation in a MAAC opener.
1 – The number of games determined by four points or fewer over the conference’s first weekend of play. Last season 32 of the 110 games were determined by either fewer than four points or went to overtime, the highest rate of any league in the nation.
76 – The minutes Siena junior Marquis Wright played, out of a possible 80, over the first two conference games. He led the weekend in minutes played, but not far behind him were Shane Richards (75), Matt Scott (74), Teddy Okerafor (73), Emile Blackman (72) and Kristinn Palsson (71) among others.
14 – This has become an important number for Fairfield, however the Stags were without Marcus Gilbert for most of their Iona loss and had to play without him against Rider. How did they get a 74-70 win over the Broncs? It was thanks to that number of points from freshmen Jonathan Kasibabu inside and Curtis Cobb outside, to go with 13 each from Tyler Nelson and Matija Milin. The Stags have the third youngest team in the MAAC, Niagara and Marist are younger than Fairfield, but the youth has helped them achieve something through eight games they haven’t done since Sydney Johnson’s second season – reach .500.
Tweet of the Week: With all the hype surrounding @MonmouthBench, they might have been bound to be humbled on their Buffalo trip. Canisius came out on fire and walked away with a 10-point win over the Hawks, or as it was phrased in this tweet.
Quotes of the Week:
“I’m not going to lie to you, I knew at the end I was close to 50 because my teammates kept reminding me, but I didn’t really know until the last five or six minutes. They kept calling my name, and I was like, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ I was wondering why they were passing up shots and telling me to go.” – Iona senior A.J. English on his career-high 46 point night against Fairfield
“A.J. English put on a performance for the ages out there tonight. I’m glad I got a chance to coach it and watch it. Whenever he does that he makes the game easy for us. That was one of the best performances I’ve ever been a part of. Maybe the best.” – Iona coach Tim Cluess
“If you go back, the Princeton game here, we take Maryland down to the last minute of the game, that’s the team that I know. This team I don’t know. We’re not competing. We’re not defending. Guys are killing us from the 3-point line. Not a lot of positive things to say other than we got to show up to practice and get everybody competing and feeling the same way that I do. Guys got to care and this has to bother them.” – Rider head coach Kevin Baggett after their 71-63 loss to Saint Peter’s
“A level of toughness inside that we haven’t had since Mike Glover and I think that really helps us a lot. I think he also, because of the way he’s capable of playing, can open our permitter up a little bit, because when you don’t have that it’s easy to crowd people on the perimeter.” – Iona coach Tim Cluess on Jordan Washington’s 21-point night in their win over Marist
“I don’t know anybody who’s going to stop Iona at our level from scoring points, now we can’t let them get to the century mark, hopefully the next time we play them they’re at 80, 85 maybe because we have a better plan, we’re a little better offensively… I had no answers defensively. I’m all ears if anybody else does.” Marist head coach Mike Maker on their 101-66 loss to Iona
“I can take last year’s blueprint, I can take my second year here (2012-13) as a blueprint. We’ve done it a lot of different ways. We’ve come out and dominated from start to finish in Year 3 (2013-14). Last year, we struggled, starting off 2-7. Listen, it’s a process. That’s what this level is. It’s a grind every game. There’s a lot of great coaches in our league. We know how to do it. It’s a matter of us practicing and doing it. When we do that, we’ll be who we’re supposed to be. Right now, we’re not, but we will be.” Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello on falling to 0-2 in MAAC play
Games to Watch: Tuesday 12/8 Iona at Tulsa 9 p.m. ESPN3; Wednesday 12/9 Hofstra at Siena 7 p.m.; Manhattan at Columbia 7 p.m.; Thursday 12/10 Canisius at Penn State 7 p.m.; Sunday 12/13 Wagner at Monmouth 2 p.m.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.