By Nick Veronica
Canisius coach Jim Baron
Canisius players Jeremiah Williams and Phil Valenti
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos and Marquis Wright
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):
By Nick Veronica
Canisius at Siena, 2 p.m., Times Union Center
The teams: Canisius: 17-9, 11-4 MAAC, 7-6 road. RPI: 105. Streak: won one.
Siena Saints: 11-15, 7-8 MAAC, 8-3 home. RPI: 237. Streak: lost one.
Last game: Canisius rallied behind Billy Baron and Chris Perez to beat rival Niagara, 71-65, Friday night.
Siena lost in the final seconds Friday night against Marist, 65-64. The Saints led by four with 12 seconds to go but gave up a layup and then had their inbounds pass stolen, which Marist turned into a game-winning three-pointer.
About Siena: Siena is only a few years removed from being the class of the conference, but two head coaches later, the Saints are just another MAAC team that’s trying to break in young players and will likely become chum in the conference tournament. Junior guard Rob Poole leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game and sophomore forward Brett Bisping is second with an even 10.0. Head coach Jimmy Patsos, formerly of Loyola, has no seniors on his roster.
Recent history: Canisius has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 93-87 win in December, but Siena owns 14 of the last 17. Canisius is 3-26 at Siena since MAAC play began in 1989.
Manhertz status: Chris Manhertz is not expected to play for Canisius after missing the last two games with a broken nose. I’ll update when I have an official word. UPDATE:
Scoring leaders: With his 34-point performance Friday night, Billy Baron’s average is back up to 24.0 points per game, good for fourth nationally.
MAAC standings (teams play 20 conference games; the top five seeds get byes in the tournament):
Other MAAC games Sunday are Niagara at Manhattan, Marist at Monmouth and St. Peter’s at Quinnipiac.
How to follow the game: I’ll be following the game and tweeting, and this list should be active. The Siena media guide says the game will be on Time Warner, but that’s no help if you’re a Verizon subscriber.
Billy Baron in the NBA? That’s what Siena coach Jimmy Patsos had to say after Canisius’ 93-78 win in the Koessler Athletic Center.
“I told these guys Baron’s a great player. Baron’s got a chance to play in the league,” Patsos said. “Baron has a chance to play in the NBA. I think Billy Baron could be a backup point guard in the NBA because he really knows how to play.”
Baron had a career-high 13 assists and led all players with 21 points. Patsos heaped on more praise when discussing the defensive dilemma Baron presented because he was just as willing to pass the ball as he was to take it to the hoop.
I’m back at the KAC today for Canisius basketball against Siena in what will be Jim Baron’s 800th game as a head coach — he enters today 413-386 and 24-17 with the Griffs.
Last time out: Canisius (4-3) and Siena (3-7) are both 1-0 in the MAAC. Canisius beat Saint Peter’s 82-67 on Friday behind a career-high 28 points from Jordan Heath while Siena won at Niagara, 84-71.
About Siena: Guard Rob Poole leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game. You may also be familiar with guard Evan Hymes, who also averages more than 10 ppg. The Saints are led by coach Jimmy Patsos, who led Loyola to a MAAC title in 2012 but came over when Siena fired Mitch Buonaguro after last season.
Series history: Siena has won 14 of the last 16 meetings, but was also a league powerhouse during most of that time. The Saints split the season series last year, with the Griffs winning their most recent meeting, 76-44 at the KAC.
Noteworthy: Billy Baron was held to 9 points Friday night. It was just the fifth time in his Canisius career he scored fewer than 10 points, but oddly enough, Canisius is 4-1 in those games.
A live blog will be up about 10 minutes before tip. You can also follow along on Twitter @NickVeronica.