CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The MAAC Tournament.
Mat Mlodzinski made his predictions last week but some unexpected upsets happened on a certain side on the bracket. 11-seed Marist won three straight games to advance to the MAAC championship, including a 69-57 victory over 10-seed Saint Peter’s in the semifinals. The champion did not surprise any of us though and that is the bottom line: the Iona Gaels are going dancing for the second time in the three-year Rick Pitino era.
CBB Review MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Danniss Jenkins, Iona
How about a 27-point conference finals performance to propel your team to the Big Dance? How about 23 of those 27 coming in the second half?
At about the 10-minute mark, Marist overcame a 9-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 46. At that exact point, Jenkins simply took off. He nailed a go-ahead three, then made another triple a few minutes later to increase the lead to 7. Two possessions later, Jenkins hit the dagger and by the final buzzer, Iona’s lead grew to 76-55.
The second team All-MAAC honoree finished the tournament at 10 for 17 from three point range over the Gaels’ three games.
CBB Review All-MAAC Tournament First Team
- G: Jaylen Murray, Saint Peter’s – 3 games (19.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG)
- G: Daniss Jenkins, Iona – 3 games (18.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 58.8 3P%)
- G: Walter Clayton Jr, Iona – 3 games (20.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 50.0 3P%)
- G: Javian McCollum, Siena – 1 game (24.0 PPG, 9.0 APG, 1.0 RPG)
- C: Patrick Gardner, Marist – 4 games (21.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.5 BPG)
Iona’s NCAA Tournament Prediction
Round of 64
As a 13-seed, the most likely result for the Gaels is a first round loss. With that being said, they can certainly be dangerous, especially with the right matchup. Considering they will be playing very close to home against UConn, this fits the bill.
As one would expect from a Rick Pitino team, Iona is deliberate on both ends of the court. They are tough on the glass and have a top ten turnover margin in the entire country. According to Shot Quality, Iona is above the 85th percentile in passing.
As a versatile defensive bunch that loves to utilize the pick and roll to get downhill, that can get the Gaels into trouble at times. It’s a great first-round matchup against the Huskies, and although an upset isn’t expected, it shouldn’t come as a major surprise.