End of season tempo-free MAAC

Regular season MAAC play has come to its inevitable conclusion. The final day offered a few surprises as Rider beat Fairfield at home, Loyola (MD) pulled out a squeaker over Manhattan and Marist went off on Niagara. All of those results have been included in this final edition of the tempo-free MAAC and will also impact the projected tournament results that I will unveil on Tuesday afternoon. It’s been quite the ride. For some more reading on the MAAC, checkout out this Q&A Siena Saints Blog did with MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor.

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Manhattan escapes Niagara’s upset bid

With 8:46 remaining in the game Niagara’s Juan’ya Green went up for a fast break layup when he was met at the rim by Manhattan freshman Emmy Andujar who blocked the ball into the arms of Kidani Brutus. The Jaspers got the ball out on the fast break and George Beamon finished a three-point play on the other end. It was a five-point swing and the biggest sequence of a difficult 71-64 home win for Manhattan.

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Can Manhattan beat Iona?

Well, the simple answer to that question is “Yes.” Of course the Jaspers can beat the Gaels, even at the Hynes Athletic Center. If you’re playing the percentages Pomeroy gives Manhattan a 14% chance, Team Rankings says 5.8% and Accuscore says 13.8%. Let’s say it’s somewhere around 10%. That means that one out of every ten times Steve Masiello’s club pulls what some would consider a pretty big upset.

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MAAC Projection: Iona hasn’t won yet

Much like I did for the Big East, I ran 10,000 simulations for the MAAC (and a bunch of other conferences coming up in this series this week). The MAAC is a slightly different animal because it played conference games already this season. Four teams: Iona, Fairfield, Loyola (Md.) and Manhattan are ahead of schedule at 2-0. Four teams: Siena, Rider, Niagara and Canisius are behind at 0-2. (Marist and St. Peter’s are stuck in the middle, we’ll see why that’s important in a second.) All of this means that the simulations have to take this into account. It’d be really tough for one of those four bottom teams to take the league title away from one of the top four teams, but as you’ll see, it happened twice.

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