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MAAC Basketball Tournament Betting Preview, Bracket & Odds: Can Any Team Upset Iona?

MAAC Basketball Tournament Betting Preview, Bracket & Odds: Can Any Team Upset Iona? article feature image
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Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rick Pitino (Iona)

No team has dominated its conference like Iona has owned the MAAC over the last decade. The Gaels have won the conference tournament in five consecutive seasons.

Rick Pitino’s roster is loaded again this year, and is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league. The Gaels poised to make it six straight auto bids after finishing first in the regular season by three games.

However, this year, there are a slew of worthy challengers looking to pull off the upset to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

This conference tourney will be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. The top five teams get a buy to the quarterfinals, with the remaining six teams kicking off tournament play on Tuesday.


MAAC Tournament Bracket & Schedule

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2022 MAAC Tournament Odds


Iona Gaels

Iona has the history, the talent and the coaching needed to win its sixth straight conference tournament.

Since Pitino has taken over the helm, Iona has put together an impressive 37-12 record. The group had hopes for an at-large bid this season after taking down Alabama and competing with Kansas, but back-to-back conference losses in February doomed any hopes of that.

The Gaels will need to continue its reign in the MAAC Tournament to hear their name on Selection Sunday.

Iona is led by a pair of graduate students in Tyson Jolly and Elijah Joiner. The duo averages 26 points to go along with nine rebounds.

The program has a dominant rim protector in Nelly Junior Joseph, who was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year last season. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 13 points and snatching 8.2 rebounds per game.

Iona owns the top offensive and defensive field goal percentages in MAAC play. The Gaels are the only team in the league that ranks inside the KenPom top 100, and will be heavy favorites in each matchup.

This tournament is Iona’s to lose given the talent on the roster, and there is value on the Gaels at a plus money price.

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Who Can Win

Monmouth Hawks

Monmouth opened the season going 10-2, including impressive victories over Cincinnati and Towson. But since then, the Hawks have traded wins for losses and struggled to string together victories.

Monmouth has a triple threat on the offensive end of the floor, with three players who average above 14 points per game. Redshirt senior George Papas, Seton Hall transfer Shavar Reynolds and North Carolina transfer Walker Miller all sit among the top 10 in scoring in the MAAC.

The Hawks have struggled down the stretch, dropping three of their last four matchups to end the regular season. The team hasn’t been great shooting the basketball, ranking 237th in 3-point percentage and 267th in 2-point field goals.

King Rice’s program drew one of the toughest draws. The Hawks will need to win a coin-flip matchup against Niagara before likely facing off against Iona just to make it to the finals.

With short odds, I am looking to fade the Hawks in the MAAC Tournament.


Saint Peter’s Peacocks

No one wants to match up with Saint Peters in the MAAC Tournament due to its vicious defense.

The Peacocks own the best defensive efficiency in the conference, while allowing just 63 points per game. They hold opponents to just 31% from 3-point range (42nd) and 46% on 2-point attempts (25th).

Much of that is thanks to one of the top rim protectors in the country in KC Ndefo. Ndefo leads the conference with 2.5 blocks per game and exploded against Quinnipiac, when he swatted 11 shots.

The defense is undoubtedly elite, but the offense has major question marks. The Peacocks turn the ball over at a rate outside the top 300 in the country.

They also hit just 46% of their 2-point attempts, which is 322nd in the nation. But all those misses have led the Peacocks to grab offensive rebounds at a top-50 rate.

Saint Peter’s received a good draw in the bracket, avoiding both Iona and Monmouth until the finals. It should be able to breeze through its side of the bracket and is worth a look at +450.


Marist Red Foxes

It’s been a rollercoaster season for Marist, which opened conference play 3-9 before ripping off six wins in a row in February. The Red Foxes hung with Iona in both of their matchups this season, and have what it takes to make a deep run in this tournament.

The Red Foxes own the second-best field goal percentage in the conference, and have a well-balanced offensive attack. Marist leads the MAAC with 35% of its shot attempts coming from deep.

The Red Foxes have two of the top-10 scorers in the conference in Jao Ituka and Ricardo Wright. The underclassmen duo combines to average just shy of 30 points per game.

Marist lost its final two games of the regular season, which costed it a first-round bye. Despite having to play an opening-round game, the Red Foxes have an easy path to cause some chaos in this tournament.

The lack of experience is a bit of a concern for Marist, but there is potential to find a hedge with +900 odds.


The Long Shots

Siena Saints

Siena is one of the most intriguing teams in the MAAC, as it has played to the level of its competition all season.

The Saints have losses to the three bottom teams in the conference — Rider, Manhattan and Canisius — but they also have found a victory over Saint Peter’s and handed Iona one of its only three conference losses this season.

In conference-only matchups, the program has the lowest offensive efficiency of any team in the MAAC. Colby Rogers and Nick Hopkins are the only outside shooting threats on the roster.

With little help scoring inside the perimeter, the duo will need to get hot for the program to find any success in this tournament.

The Saints are a weak three-seed that is vulnerable to getting knocked off by either Marist or Quinnipiac.


Niagara Purple Eagles

Niagara may be a tough out in the MAAC Tournament. Not only does the program have the second-leading scorer in the conference in Marcus Hammond (18 PPG), but the Purple Eagles enter the tournament hot, winning their last two games by a combined 53 points.

They have a brutal draw with Monmouth followed by Iona, and for that reason, I will be staying away from them in the futures market.

ACC Tournament Betting Preview & Bracket

The No Shots

Rider (+3300) and Manhattan (+3300) pulled the short straws, as they have to match up against Iona in the second round.

If I had to choose between these two as a potential dark horse it would be Manhattan. They handed the Gaels one of their three losses this season and have the leading scorer in the conference in Jose Perez (19 PPG).

Iona won the other three matchups by a combined 40-points, and it’s hard to foresee another let down from it against either program.

Fairfield hasn’t strung together more than two conference wins in a row all season. The Stags went 0-8 in the regular season against the top-four seeds, and there’s no reason for that to change in the tournament.

Quinnipiac enter the tournament losing nine of the last 10, including six in a row. Better luck next year.

Canisius ended the season on a three-game win streak, including victories over Marist and Siena. But the Golden Griffins are equally horrid at scoring and defending inside the paint, ranking outside the top 300 in each.

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