NCAAB Odds, Picks for Marist vs Iona (MAAC Championship)

NCAAB Odds, Picks for Marist vs Iona (MAAC Championship) article feature image

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Marist vs Iona Odds

Saturday, Mar. 11
7:30 p.m. ET
Marist Odds
-105o / -115u
Iona Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Tonight’s MAAC Championship features one expected squad in Iona and one totally-out-of-left-field-how-on-Earth-did-you-make-it-this-far squad in Marist.

Iona ran through the MAAC for a second straight season, posting a 17-3 conference record and winning the league outright by four games.

Nobody in conference play came close to Iona’s efficiency numbers on either the offensive or defensive end. The Gaels rank 76th overall in KenPom, 120 spots higher than the next-best team in the MAAC.

Domination might be an understatement.

Marist finished last in the MAAC in the regular season and features the league’s third-worst offense and worst defense. The Red Foxes certainly played hard to get to this championship game, but they were also helped tremendously by Lady Luck.

In its three MAAC postseason contests this year, Marist has shot 24-for-60 (40%) from 3; its opponents have shot 15-for-80 (18.8%). Marist is a 33% 3-point shooting team on the season, and its opponents have shot 34.9%, so this conference tourney run has been nothing short of miraculous.

Unsurprisingly, Iona swept the season series against Marist, beating the Red Foxes soundly by 19 and 27. In those games Iona scored 1.29 and 1.25 points per possession — the No. 1 offense in the country, Gonzaga, scores 1.24 points per possession.

Marist offers zero resistance at the rim, so Iona big man Nelly Junior Joseph, a First Team All-MAAC selection, will have his way inside and on the glass all night long.

The stylistic points in this matchup favor Iona, as well. The Gaels are an up-tempo offense and want to run in the open floor.

Per Synergy, Iona is one of the better transition offenses in the country while Marist features one of the worst transition defenses. Fast break points — particularly off defensive rebounds — should come easy for Iona.

The Gaels' guards — led by MAAC Player of the Year Walter Clayton and Second Team All-MAAC honoree Daniss Jenkins — are complete and total mismatches for Marist’s perimeter.

The Red Foxes don’t turn teams over, they don’t deny the 3-point arc and their ball-screen coverage is average at best.

Jenkins has averaged 22 points per game against Marist this season, while Clayton scored 18 in his only outing. There's little hope for Marist when it comes to containing Iona’s backcourt.

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Marist has one ace up its sleeve that gives it a puncher’s chance tonight, and that’s 6-foot-11 forward Patrick Gardner, a Second Team All-MAAC selection and of the most unique players in the league.

Gardner is a true unicorn due to his ability to handle the ball, shoot, pass and score on the block. He leads the Red Foxes in scoring and rebounding and ranks top-three in assists, steals and blocks.

Gardner is a matchup nightmare for every team in the MAAC, including Iona. In the MAAC Tournament thus far, Gardner is averaging 20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

The spread on this game is massive for a championship contest, but it’s warranted given these two teams’ performances during the regular season.

Iona is the best team in the MAAC; Marist is quite possibly the worst.

Marist’s only hope is that the horseshoe lodged up its rear is still intact, and it helps its opponents’ outside shots miss and its shots fall. Even then, it’s hard to see Marist winning — or even coming close to winning — this game.

Pick: Iona -14.5 (Play to -15)

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