MAAC men’s basketball power rankings – 1/23/15

The following rankings were submitted Friday afternoon.

1. Iona Gaels (14-6, 7-2 MAAC) First in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 80-79 @ Niagara, L 78-74 @ Canisius, W 78-68 @ Rider.

Iona’s 78-68 road win over Rider last night breaks the tie atop the MAAC standings. Gaels freshman guard Shadrac Casmir scored 24 points, picking up the slack with the absence of guard Isaiah Williams who’s out with a foot injury. David Laury and A.J. English have continued their outstanding play as they average 24.5 and 19.75 points per game over the past two weeks.

Next three games: Sun, 1/25 vs. Niagara, Sat, 1/31 vs. Saint Peter’s, Mon, 2/2 @ Fairfield.

2. Canisius Golden Griffins (11-7, 6-3 MAAC) Tied for third in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 83-49 vs. Siena, W 78-74 vs. Iona, W 64-50 @ Fairfield.

In last weeks rankings I said that Canisius’ Sunday afternoon rematch with Iona would be the defining game for this team. They did not disappoint as they defeated the Gaels 78-74. Canisius has played very fundamentally sound basketball this season as they rarely beat themselves. The Golden Griffins are the second in the MAAC in turnover margin at plus-1.3. A win against Rider on Saturday would be huge for Canisius, as it would give them sole possession of third place. Jim Baron has done an incredible job with his team this season and should get votes for MAAC Head Coach of the Year.

Next three games: Sat, 1/24 @ Rider, Fri, 1/30 vs. Quinnipiac, Sun, 2/1 vs. Marist.

3. Rider Broncs (12-8, 6-3 MAAC) Tied for third in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 56-53 @ Quinnipiac, W 82-79 vs. Manhattan, L 78-68 vs. Iona.

Rider suffered a tough loss to the hands of Iona Thursday night after coming off perhaps their best win of the season against Manhattan in overtime on Sunday. Rider is built for the long run as they have depth and veteran leadership. The Broncs have nine players averaging ten or more minutes and out of those nine players six are upperclassmen. Rider is built for March, but they have to get it done against the top teams in the MAAC, as they are 0-2 against Iona and 0-1 against Monmouth.

Next three games: Sat, 1/24 vs. Canisius, Thurs, 1/29 @ Saint Peter’s, Mon, 2/2 vs. Iona.

4. Monmouth Hawks (10-9, 6-2 MAAC) Second in the MAAC

Previous three games: L 62-61 vs. Saint Peter’s, W 77-70 vs. Fairfield, W 71-56 @ Pennsylvania.

The Hawks rebounded nicely from their loss to Quinnipiac by beating in state rival Rider 55-54 last Monday. The Hawks have gotten the job done on the road this season, as they are 4-0 in the MAAC. Sophomore guard Justin Robinson is averaging points over the last three games. When Robinson scores in double digits Monmouth is 8-4, they are 2-5 when he scores in single digits.

Next three games: Wed, 1/21 @ Pennsylvania, Fri, 1/23 vs. Niagara, Sun, 1/25 @ Manhattan.

5. Manhattan Jaspers (8-9, 5-3 MAAC) Fifth in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 84-75 vs. Niagara, W 72-65 @ Saint Peter’s, L 82-79 vs. Rider.

An 82- 79 loss in its last game against Rider puts a halt to Manhattan’s four game win streak. The Jaspers have been harassing opponents on defense as they are forcing 17 turnovers over its past three games. Emmy Andujar has been a beast for this team as he leads the Jaspers in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (6.8), and assists per game (3.1). Steve Masiello’s team is playing its best basketball at the right time of the season.

Next three games: Fri, 1/23 @ Quinnipiac, Sun, 1/25 vs. Monmouth, Fri, 1/30 vs. Siena.

6. Quinnipiac Bobcats (10-8, 4-5 MAAC) Tied for seventh in the MAAC

Previous three games: L 56-53 vs. Rider, W, 72-71 @ Marist, W 63-55 @ Saint Peter’s.

The Bobcats have won eight of their last ten games, but looks can be deceiving. Out of those eight wins, only one has been to a top six team in the MAAC after they defeated Monmouth 68-64 a few weeks ago. Quinnipiac’s most important stretch is coming up as they play Manhattan tomorrow at home and then travel for perhaps the hardest road trip in the MAAC as they face off against Canisius and Niagara. The Bobcats need to up their play as they head into the meat of their MAAC schedule.

Next three games: Fri, 1/23 vs. Manhattan, Fri, 1/30 @ Canisius, Sun 2/1 @ Niagara.

7. Siena Saints (7-10, 4-4 MAAC) Sixth in the MAAC

Previous three games: L 79-67 vs. Fairfield, L 83-49 @ Canisius, W 74-70 @ Niagara.

Despite all their injuries and mental lapses this season Siena is in the middle of the MAAC standings. Jimmy Patsos’ team is still missing big men Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas, but they have stayed afloat. If Siena can right the ship and stay in the middle of the MAAC standings until the MAAC Tournament when they are healthier, they should be fine.

Next three games: Fri, 1/23 @ Marist, Sun, 1/25 vs. Saint Peter’s, Fri, 1/30 @ Manhattan.

8. Saint Peters Peacocks (9-11, 3-6 MAAC) Ninth in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 62-61 @ Monmouth, L 72-65 vs. Manhattan, L 63-55 vs. Quinnipiac.

Last night’s 63-55 loss to Quinnipiac puts Saint Peter’s in the bottom three of the MAAC. They are the best defensive team in the MAAC and I really like the way they defend the perimeter. But, the reality is that Saint Peter’s is 1-4 in games decided by three points or less. The Peacocks need to capitalize down the stretch of games, which means that they need to execute offensively down the stretch.

Next three games: Sun, 1/25 @ Siena, Thurs. 1/29 vs. Rider, Sat, 1/31 @ Iona.

9. Fairfield Stags (6-12, 4-4 MAAC) Tied for seventh in the MAAC

Previous three games: W 60-54 vs. Marist, L 77-70 @ Monmouth, L 64-50 vs. Canisius.

The Stags are currently taking advantage of a very mediocre 2014-2015 MAAC. Fairfield is a team that struggles to score the basketball, but so has every other team in MAAC at some point this season (except for Iona). Last season six teams averaged over 70 points per game, only Iona and Siena average above 70 this season. Despite being in good position right now, I am not sold on Fairfield. They still need to play a surging Canisius team twice as well as Iona, Rider and Monmouth one more time.

Next three games: Sun, 1/25 @ Marist, Fri, 1/30 vs. Monmouth, Mon, 2/2 vs. Iona.

10. Niagara Purple Eagles (3-14, 2-6 MAAC) Tenth in the MAAC

Previous three games: L 67-56 vs. Pennsylvania, L 80-79 vs. Iona, L 74-40 vs. Siena.

Two tough losses by a combined five points to Iona and Siena last week extended the Purple Eagles’ losing streak to six games. Niagara should be encouraged by their last two performances however as they head into a tough weekend with games against Monmouth and Iona.

Next three games: Fri, 1/23 @ Monmouth, Sun, 1/25 @ Iona, Fri, 1/30 vs. Marist.

11. Marist Red Foxes (1-17, 0-8 MAAC) Eleventh in the MAAC

Previous three games: L 66-54 @ Quinnipiac, L 60-54 @ Fairfield, L 72-71 vs. Quinnipiac.

It has been a season to forget for the Red Foxes as they dropped two more games against Fairfield and Quinnipiac this past week. The one positive for Marist is that they are getting healthier as sophomore guard Khallid Hart returned from injury last week against Quinnipiac.

Next three games: Fri, 1/23 @ Siena, Sun, 1/25 vs. Fairfield, Fri, 1/30 @ Niagara.

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