MAAC Tournament Notebook
Just how whack was the MAAC? Quite whack, if do say so myself. Let’s just put it this way…a 7th seed with a 16-18 record beat a 4th seed for the conference crown. Start up the Apocalypse machine. Yes, Siena became the first MAAC team with a sub-.500 record to advance to the big dance. Behind Dwayne Archbold’s 30 points, the Saints topped Niagara at Albany’s Pepsi Center, 91-77. Archbold had a combined 111 points throughout the tournament. Siena’s unlikely sojourn to the MAAC title included a play-in game victory over St. Peter’s and upsets of 2nd seed Marist and 6th seed Fairfield.
With their low RPI and losing record, chances are the Saints will have to partake of another play-in game as the dubious 64th or 65th team in the NCAA tournament. Winthrop, here we come!
More MAAC Tourney Mayhem
In addition to Siena’s quashing of Marist, two of the other top 3 seeds fell early. In quarterfinal action on Saturday, March 2, top-seed Rider fell to Canisius, the 8th seed, 85-84, and 3rd-seed Manhattan was surprised by Fairfield, a 6-seed, 81-73.
Rider’s Don Harnum impressed his fellow colleagues enough to win the 2001-02 Spalding MAAC Coach of the Year award. Harnum, who was elected by his peers, skippered the Broncs to a 13-5 conference record (17-10 overall), and a share of the regular season conference title with Marist.
The MAAC will be represented in the tournament by the best worst team in the conference, 16-18 Siena. Did Siena’s win kill any postseason participation for the rest of the league? It’s quite possible. The top three regular season teams, Rider, Marist and Manhattan each had 20 wins or less, and that’s not gonna cut it for an NCAA, at-large bid. Rider and Marist, on account of being the MAAC regular season champs, might squeak in with an NIT bid, but they are 17-11 and 19-9 respectively. Those win totals might be enough, but a lot depends on who gets shut out of the field of 65.
Manhattan, even though they finished third in the conference and showed poorly in their tournament, might be NIT-bound. They have the toughest schedule among the three MAAC leaders and as well as 20 wins on their resume.