MAAC Tournament Preview And Prediction: Championship Game

Dylan Rossiter, 518 Sports

Happy championship day, everyone.

Tonight we close the book on another great MAAC season. As the Monmouth Hawks take on the Iona Gaels in what I would classify as the single most important game in league history. You don’t have to look far to find out that this is more than a meeting, it’s a rivalry. If you can recall, these two teams got in a fight after their first meeting. Watch the video here. So yeah, they hate each other. Which just adds to the hype of this contest. The game will be televised on ESPN at 7:00 ET. Get your popcorn ready.

Do I have a rooting interest? Of course! I’m 9-0 with my tournament predictions so far. I’m going for the perfect season tonight!

Championship: #1 Monmouth vs. #2 Iona: Just like the semifinals, the best teams made it in to this final round. After getting a chance to watch both of these teams this past weekend, it’s clear that both of them are ahead of the rest of the MAAC class. Why is that? It’s what I’ve been talking about all season, the star power of A.J. English and Justin Robinson. Both of these players would fit in well with any program, big conference of mid-major. Naturally, both teams rely on their star player a little too much. Especially Iona, they live and die depending on the health of A.J. English. Which, again, is understandable. And lately, it’s been a good motto to live by for the Gaels. They are currently riding a seven game win streak, with the biggest of those wins coming at Monmouth, where they won by 16 back in February. It’s not difficult to predict what will happen to Monmouth as far as scoring goes tonight. They usually hover around that 75-80 point range every game. Meaning that they are a very consistent team on offense. But as far as defense goes? Keeping Iona under 80 points is much easier said than done. Could they do it? Yes. Do I think it will happen? No. And for that reason, i’m picking the Gaels. Iona finally gets redemption after their major letdown in the MAAC Tournament last year. Alright Iona fans, I made you happy saying you won’t have a letdown. Please, don’t let me down! Perfection hangs in the balance! Iona 88, Monmouth 77.

Fear not, Monmouth fans. Your team is still going to get an at-large bid. And if you are filling out a bracket next week, keep these teams in mind. They have the star power to make it to the “Sweet 16,” or to even really shock some people to get to the “Elite 8.” My only rule is stop when they hit a one seed, or something like that. This game will be televised on ESPN.

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