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MAAC preview: Manhattan, Loyola take the reigns

Oct 31, 2012, 10:30 AM EST

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Last season may have been the best year in the history of MAAC hoops, with the normally one-bid conference getting Loyola (Md.) in by way of the conference title and Iona snagging an at-large bid. That was then and this, well, isn’t the 2011-12 season.

Gone for the Gaels are Scott Machado, who led the nation in assists, and the 18.3 points per game of Michael Glover. It’ll be all Lamont “Momo” Jones and a cast of newcomers. Loyola should be at the top despite the transfer of Justin Drummond simply because of Jimmy Patsos and the two-man punch of Dylan Cromier and Erik Etherly (13.7 points, 7.5 rebounds last season). The Greyhounds make the leap to the Patriot League in 2013-14. Manhattan is a solid bet to contend and win the conference title with forward George Beamon and coach Steve Masiello. Niagara has an unheralded star in Juan’ya Green, last year’s MAAC Rookie of the Year, and the leadership of 14-year coach Joe Mihalich. Fairfield will see a significant drop with the loss of Ryan Olander and Rakim Sanders.

Canisius has a new head coach in Jim Baron and gets Freddy Asprilla eligible, but has a lot of catching up to do to contend. Siena has been down since Fran McCaffery left but has the nation’s leading rebounder in O.D. Anosike. Rider isn’t a title team yet, but will get a lot stronger with the addition of St. John’s transfer Nurideen Lindsey who received a waiver to be eligible immediately. St. Peter’s longs for the days of Keydren Clark and NCAA Tournament berths, but has a solid player to base the offense around in forward Darius Conley, who averaged 11.6 points and 7.4  rebounds in 2011-12.

All-Conference Team

G: Nurideen Lindsey, Rider

G: Juan’ya Green, Niagara

G: Momo Jones, Iona

F: O.D. Anosike, Siena

F: Erik Etherly, Loyola (Md.)

Player of the Year

O.D. Anosike, Sr. Siena

Predicted Finish

1.) Manhattan

2.) Loyola

3.) Siena

4.) Niagara

5.) Iona

6.) Canisius

7.) Rider

8.) Fairfield

9.) Marist

10.) St. Peter’s

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.