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MAC Teams: Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Rider, Siena, St. Peter’s
At this point, it’s looking like Siena has everything it will take to remain dominant in the MAAC. Their 2009-2010 team might be even stronger than the one we saw last year. Another conference title run won’t be easy with talented teams like Niagara, Rider, and Fairfield just as hungry for the number one MAAC spot.
Read on for a brief 2009-2010 season preview and conference record prediction for each basketball team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Standings/Predictions are listed at the end of the conference preview.
MAAC Regular Season Champions: Siena
MAAC Tournament Champions: Siena
2008-2009 Record: 11-20, 4-14
Although Canisius has been slowly improving since Tom Parrotta arrived, they only managed to win 11 games during their 2008-2009 season. Not bad, considering they only won 5 last year. The Golden Griffins should have their best shot at a .500 record this season with all five starters returning. Keep an eye on 09-10 honors candidates Frank Turner and Greg Logins.
Predicted Conference Record: 5-13
2008-2009 Record: 17-15, 9-9
Last season the Stags finished with 17 overall wins. They beat Manhattan in the first round of the conference tournament, but then lost to Siena by 15 points. Winning a conference tournament game was a plus, but in the end, they finished with 2 more conference losses than they had the season prior. Besides a couple injuries, Fairfield returns a solid core of players. Third-team All-MAAC selection Greg Nero is among those returning. The Stags should be able to find a way to stay in the top four, with the potential of moving up a spot or two higher. Don’t be surprised to see Fairfield in a postseason tournament.
Predicted Conference Record: 10-8
2008-2009 Record: 12-19, 7-11
For a little while, it looked as though Iona would be capable of doing some good things last year. They then went 2-8 in their last 10 and were defeated by Maris in the first game of the conference tournament. Iona fans now hope that Coach Willard can move the Gaels forward in his third season, after 2 losing campaigns. They lose double-digit scorer Gary Springer, but bring back talented (all-league potential) Scott Machado.
Predicted Conference Record: 7-11
2008-2009 Record: 12-20, 7-11
Last season the Greyhounds were young and lacking experience. In their last 9 games, they went 1-8. This, just one season after winning 12 conference games. Things are looking better this year, as Loyola returns all starters and they welcome Maryland transfer, Shane Walker. Expect the Greyhounds to take a step forward with on-court leadership that they lacked last season.
Predicted Conference Record: 8-10
2008-2009 Record: 16-14, 9-9
Manhattan made a noticeable record improvement last year after winning only 5 conference games during the 2008-2009 season. Excitement dwindled towards the end of the season as the Jaspers lost their final 2 regular season games, and then another to Fairfield in the first game of the MAAC Tournament. Coach Rohrssen has done well building depth, and should see a similar-looking 2009-2010 Jaspers team. They only lose two key players and welcome highly touted JC transfer Rico Pickett.
Predicted Conference Record: 8-10
2008-2009 Record: 10-23, 4-14
Marist took a dive last year, losing 10 more games than they did the season before. They got past Iona in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament before losing to Niagara by almost 30 points. Keep in mind, it was Chuck Martin’s first season. He needs some time to build a system. Rebuilding won’t be easy with 3 key players now gone. The losses include 15.9 ppg Ryan Scheider and 10.3 ppg David Devezen. The Tigers’ five freshmen will have to play above their level to see any improvement by the end of the 2009-2010 season.
Predicted Conference Record: 2-16
2008-2009 Record: 26-9, 14-4
With 26 wins, the Purple Eagles had an impressive season. Things slowed down towards the end, however, when they lost to Siena for the conference title and went down to Rhode Island in the NIT. Things are looking up for Niagara this season with nearly everyone on the roster staying put. Expect the Purple Eagles to fight hard for a conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Predicted Conference Record: 13-5
2008-2009 Record: 19-13, 12-6
Rider finished 3rd in the MAAC with 12 conference wins last year. They earned an invitation to the College Insider Tournament. Liberty sent the Broncs home right away. Rider fans have reason to be optimistic about the 2009-2010 season. They return a talented roster that could produce an explosive offense. If they can make some adjustments on defense, they’ll be up there in the top three of the MAAC and find themselves in a close race for number 1.
Predicted Conference Record: 12-6
2008-2009 Record: 27-8, 16-2
Things have been fun in Loudonville lately. During the 2008-2009 season, The Saints won 27 overall, earned the conference regular season and tournament championship, and played in the NCAA Tournament. They started off with a victory over Ohio State and then lost to number 1 seeded Louisville, by only 7 points. Stay tuned: things are likely to get even better. With 4 out of 5 starters returning, Siena will have the leadership and experience they will need to earn another conference title and a deeper postseason.
Predicted Conference Record: 15-3
2008-2009 Record: 11-19, 8-10
Saint Peter’s took a significant leap forward in the MAAC last season with 5 more conference wins than the season before. They finished number 6. Expect them to make their way into the top 5 of the conference this season with Coach Dunne’s deepest roster suiting up. If the Peacocks can build on their experience and prevent turnovers, they’ll continue to head in the right direction.
Predicted Conference Record: 10-8
Metro Atlantic Conference Standings Prediction for the 2009-2010 Season:
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