By Nick Veronica
Iona has had the MAAC’s top seed locked up for a while now, but it took until the final day of regular season play for the rest of the bracket to shape up.
Manhattan beat Canisius on Sunday and Quinnipiac lost to Marist, setting the Jaspers up the 2-seed and dropping the Griffs to fourth. Marist, Saint Peter’s and Rider all tied at 9-11 but Marist won the tiebreaker for the 6-seed while Rider fell all the way back to eighth.
Here’s the men’s 2014 MAAC Tournament bracket (click to enlarge):
Canisius drew red-hot Siena in the 4-5 game, played at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Springfield, Mass. The teams played a three-overtime thriller the last time they met last on Feb. 16 and Siena hasn’t lost since, beating Manhattan, Rider, Quinnipiac and Monmouth to finish 11-9 in the conference.
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos gave very high praise to Billy Baron after both meetings this year, even saying “He’s an NBA second round pick” after Baron dropped a career-high 40 points in the triple OT game while playing all 55 minutes.
Will Patsos finally be able to stop him? Manhattan may have shown the blueprint Sunday, playing relentless defense on Baron the entire length of the court while holding him to 10 points on 2 of 10 shooting.
Canisius’ secondary scorers are going to have to step up in a big way if teams continue to defend Baron like that. Chris Perez needs to continue to get to the hoop and Zach Lewis needs to be on from behind the arc while Jordan Heath and Chris Manhertz must at least pose a threat inside. Heath and Manhertz haven’t scored 10 points each in the same game since playing Notre Dame in December.
Canisius last met Siena in the MAAC Tournament in 2009, losing 77-52. Canisius swept the season series against Siena this year and also won their final meeting last year. Canisius hasn’t won four straight against Siena since 1960.
I’m heading down for the tournament this weekend. Check back for live blogs and coverage of all the action here and on Twitter. Follow @nickveronica
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