We’re a week away from the beginning of March, and that means it time for the Madness to ensue. This also means that I am long overdue in giving the readers (all twelve of you) a healthy dose of Metro Atlantic (MAAC) Basketball information. And because writing about the Big East would give me a headache and be about as useful as fishing in a toilet bowl.
Anyway, we contacted our resident MAAC tiebreaker expert (my college roommate Norm) and he was able to come up with all the doomsday scenarios for tiebreaker hell. We’ll touch on that a little bit later, but right now we need to address the three-way tie for second in the MAAC standings. There is no fight for first anymore since the Fairfield Stags wrapped that up last week. (And congratulations to Ed Cooley and his Stags, who have had recent seasons diminished by injuries, illnesses and other problems that not once have detered their competitiveness in the MAAC.)
Yes, that means the hosts of this year’s MAAC Tournament, being held in Bridgeport, CT, are the top seed, a trend that this former Rider Bronc can’t wait to see end when the tournament moves to Springfield, Mass in 2012.
(Moving the MAAC Tourament to Springfield, Mass., in my opinion, is a terrible idea. But considering Rider’s recent history against top-seeded hosts in MAAC Finals, I’m willing to try anything.)
ST. PETER’S PEACOCKS (17-11, 11-5 MAAC)
Surprisingly, the Peacocks control their own destiny in the MAAC. If they win out vs. Iona and at Rider they will pass both in the standings for second place. Their first game at home against Iona is almost like a seeding semi-final. The Peacocks need a win otherwise they will have been swept 2-0 by the Gaels and Iona would have a head-to-head tiebreaker. If St. Peter’s losses to Iona but beats Rider in the finale, then they would hold have swept the Broncs and hold that ever important head-to-head over Rider.
RIDER BRONCS (20-9, 11-5 MAAC)
If the win out at Marist and vs. St. Peter’s they’ll hold the first tiebreaker in the MAAC if they are tied with anyone at the end of the year. This is by virtue of their win at Fairfield on Super Bowl Sunday in a very confusing set of MAAC tiebreakers. However, they aren’t in full control of their own destiny. They need Iona to lose one of its remaining games. Like if St. Peter’s beats Iona and Rider beats Marist on Friday, it will set up a defacto championship for the second seed in Bridgeport, CT the following week. Rider also has the easiest game on the schedule this weekend facing last place Marist.
IONA GAELS (18-10, 11-5 MAAC)
Iona is very much in the same boat as St. Peter’s. They need wins against St. Peter’s and Fairfield for the following reasons: to sweep the Peacocks and to equal Rider’s tiebreaker by beating the Stags. If that happens, then Iona could be in the driver’s seat for the second seed. But that leads us to…
Okay, my resident Metro Atlantic tiebreaking expert actually thought about this for five minutes. Which means this is bad. Very bad. Consider this: Rider and Iona go 2-0 this weekend, finishing St. Peter’s at 11-7 in conference. Rider and Iona would be tied at 13-5, having split their season series and each beating Fairfield once. The next tiebreaker would be the fourth place team, which would be at least St. Peter’s but also could be Loyola (MD) if they win both games in Buffalo this weekend. If Loyola loses one of its games, Iona wins the tiebreaker for second by virtue of its sweep of the Peacocks. If Loyola and St. Peter’s finish tied, both Iona and Rider finished 3-1 against these teams (Rider swept Loyola, split with St. Peter’s, vice virsa for Iona). So what’s the next tiebreaker…well…uhhh…skipping all the way down to the end of it, our expert believes that a coin toss could be possible. And here’s the scary part. That scenario above, is very feasible.
So there you have it, the first Metro Atlantic entry is in the books. Many more to come from your blogging leader of MAAC Basketball. And I can actually say that.