Everyone loves Monmouth, the band of celebrating merry men who took down Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCLA and USC in the non-conference portion of their schedule. The Hawks might not make the NCAA Tournament, though, unless they take care of business in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Hawks should be slight favorites to win the MAAC Tournament and stand to benefit from a scheduling format that will give them a day off between quarterfinal action and a semifinal game if they win their first contest. Iona is almost as good as Monmouth on a per-possession basis, however, and the Gaels played tough in a 110-102 loss to the Hawks in the regular season.
Oh, and there's Siena, which was swept by Monmouth but beat Iona on the road, but also has losses to Marist and Fairfield on its ledger. The MAAC's public face may be Monmouth's grin, but it's no lock that the Hawks won't be facing premature rigor mortis in Albany.
And with Monmouth's at-large candidacy not quite good enough for the Hawks to be locked into the NCAA Tournament field, it would behoove them to just go win an automatic bid.
While the MAAC Tournament takes place at a neutral site in Albany, meaning that there's no true home-court advantage at play, there are still significant advantages afforded to the top seeds, especially the top three. All of those teams can face no higher than the No. 6 seed in their first game.
The advantage is more profound for the top two seeds, though, as they could enjoy Saturday as a rest day between a quarterfinal victory and a semifinal appearance. Monmouth, for instance, wouldn't have to play for almost 48 hours between a quarterfinal win and its semifinal, while its opponent (either St. Peter's or Fairfield) would be playing its second game in just 19 hours.
- St. Peter's
You can see the full bracket here.
Schedule and Results (all times Eastern)
Thursday, March 3 (First Round)
Game 1: No. 8 Rider 60, No. 9 Quinnipiac 57
Game 2: No. 7 Canisius 102, No. 10 Niagara 97 (3OT)
Game 3: No. 6 Manhattan 81, No. 11 Marist 63
Friday, March 4 (Quarterfinals)
Game 4: No. 1 Monmouth 59, No. 8 Rider 48
Game 5: No. 2 Iona 73, No. 7 Canisius 55
Saturday, March 5 (Quarterfinals)
Game 6: No. 3 Siena 89, No. 6 Manhattan 76
Game 7: No. 5 Fairfield 64, No. 4 St. Peter's 55
Sunday, March 6 (Semifinals)
Game 8: No. 1 Monmouth 76, No. 5 Fairfield 63
Game 9: No. 2 Iona 80, No. 3 Siena 71
Monday, March 8 (Final)
Game 10: No. 2 Iona 79, No. 1 Monmouth 76