And now the fun starts.
We’re down to four teams left in pursuit of the MAAC title. And we will know by tomorrow night which team has an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. But let’s not overlook what a great day of basketball we have in front of us. In my mind, the four best teams are competing. And I want it that way. So let’s jump right in to the previews, shall we?
Oh, I almost forgot… I’m 7-0 so far with my tournament predictions. I’m like the Steph Curry of MAAC Tournament predictors.
Game 1: #1 Monmouth vs. #5 Fairfield: It was a simple game plan for the Fairfield Stags in their victory over Saint Peter’s. Utilize the talent of forward Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert finished with 20 points while shooting 50% from the field. He gave the Stags the boost they needed to defeat Saint Peter’s, 64-55. But the biggest challenge of the season arises on Sunday, when Fairfield goes up against Monmouth. The Hawks have dominated Fairfield, defeating them by a combined 36 points in their two meetings this season. One thing Fairfield has been able to do is limit the scoring from star guard Justin Robinson of Monmouth. Of course, they would have to do that again today. Fairfield also needs to play strong along the perimeter. Something that they didn’t do in their last meeting against Monmouth. I anticipate this to be the closest game of the tournament. At the end of the day, Monmouth is the better team. So they edge out the victory. Monmouth 66, Fairfield 63.
Game 2: #2 Iona vs. #3 Siena: Marquis Wright is back for the Siena Saints. And he was dishing the ball all around on Saturday against Manhattan, totaling up eight assists on the night. That, combined with a breakout 22 point performance by forward Brett Bisping, led the Saints to an 89-76 victory over the defending champion Jaspers. The Saints might need all of those 89 points if they want to beat the second seeded Iona Gaels on Sunday evening. Iona guard A.J. English keeps killing teams from beyond the arc, especially Siena. The last time these two teams met, English canned six threes in an 87-81 victory at the Times Union Center. Speaking of that game, man was it crazy. Iona jumped out to a 21 point halftime lead, only to let Siena storm back and take the lead late in the second half. That’s how much Iona relies on their shooting. No lead is safe for them, no lead is safe for the opposing team. That pretty much sums up the Gaels season. But you know what they say, big players need to step up in big games. And I think A.J. English does just that tonight. Iona 85, Siena 75.
To watch tonight’s games, find out the TV schedule by clicking here.