Return of the MAAC: Monmouth-Iona Gear For Huge Game On Friday And Is Canisius A Real Contender?
Welcome to the first edition of Return of the MAAC. This weekly article will feature all of the major news coming from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball scene. The goal is to showcase both men’s and women’s basketball in the MAAC and highlight the major weekly matchups that will take within the conference. After a successful season that had five MAAC teams winning over 20 games and 11 teams finishing with over .500 conference records (men and women), it is easy to say that the 2015-2016 was indeed The Return of the MAAC and the success is set to continue this season.
Let’s begin this debut edition with a primer for the huge early conference matchup between two of the MAAC’s top men’s teams.
Iona-Monmouth Renews Rivalry In West Long Branch On Friday Night
In a rematch of the 2016 MAAC Tournament final, Iona (9-6) visits the newly named OceanFirst Bank Center to take on Monmouth (10-5) in their first of two regular season matchups. The game comes at a time when both teams are just 2-2 in MAAC play and where Monmouth has lost three games in a row for the first time since 2014. The winner of this game is in a better position early on in MAAC play while the loser begins digging an early hole for themselves in early January.
What makes this game even bigger is that it will be shown on ESPNU, which shows just how important this game has gotten nationally. All eyes will be on Monmouth senior guard Justin Robinson, who is over 20 points over his last six games against Iona, and Iona’s Jordan Washington who is averaging 19 points per game this season in conference play. For the MAAC’s preseason number one team Monmouth, they are 10-5 all-time after losing three games in a row so history is on their side going into the Iona game. With a rocking crowd and a national television audience, look for Monmouth to start fast and not look back against the Gaels.
Canisius’ Surprising Start In MAAC Play
Canisius was picked to finish 9th out of 11 teams in the MAAC preseason poll but four games into conference play, the Golden Griffins are 3-1 and are at the top of the MAAC. At 10-5 overall, Canisius has won seven games in a row and will face Iona Sunday on the road. How Canisius plays against the Gaels on Sunday will show whether the Griffins are a player in the MAAC or if this start is just an illusion this early in conference. With that said, they are surprising everyone right now.
MAAC Players of the Week
Men- Jordan Washington, Iona
Women- Robin Perkins, Rider
Top Three Teams
Canisius: 3-1, 10-5 Overall
Rider: 2-1, 9-5 Overall
Fairfield: 2-1, 7-5 Overall
Quinnipiac: 4-0, 11-3 Overall
Rider: 3-1, 9-4 Overall
Iona: 2-2, 7-6 Overall (There are five other teams with 2-2 conference records)
What teams do you follow in the MAAC? Who do see as the final teams that will be left standing in men’s and women’s basketball? Let us know in our comment section.
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