The computer’s MAAC tourney predictions all revolve around one team: Iona. The Gaels dominate everything you’ll in the simulation results. Basically, if you slip past them, whatever round you come across the MAAC’s most talented team, you’ve got a shot at winning a title. That’s especially true for a team like Fairfield. According to the sim results the semifinal between the Gaels and Stags is the gateway to the title. Almost 60% of the time Fairfield got past Iona, Sydney Johnson’s team won the league title.
Iona’s dominance shows up in some more subtle ways as well. Marist is the unlucky team that (probably) gets a fully rested Iona team. That’s with the presumption that the Red Foxes can beat a struggling St. Peter’s squad. If then Marist was to somehow pull what would be an admittedly huge upset on a neutral court in Springfield they’d have a reasonable shot at winning a title. Those odds though are minuscule.
But what about the other side of the bracket? There’s a collection of interesting teams hanging out there. According to Ken Pomeroy’s number Loyola (MD) is the fourth best team in the MAAC, but the Greyhounds earned their No. 2 seed thanks to two clutch victories against Manhattan. They’ll probably have to do it a third time if they want to play for the title. What’s amazing to me is the Loyola and Manhattan’s odds once they get past each other are pretty similar to Rider’s if they’re able to get past Iona.
The Gaels have a target on their back. Starting Saturday we’ll see how they deal with it. (And while you wait check out Part 2 of MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor’s interview with Siena Saints Blog.)