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MAAC Tournament Preview, Odds, and Predictions

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Updated Mar 6, 2022 · 2:52 PM PST

Quinn Slazinski searches for an open teammate
Iona forward Quinn Slazinski, left, looks for a teammate as Alabama forward Juwan Gary defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Jacob M. Langston)
  • The MAAC Tournament will run from Tuesday, March 8th, to Saturday, March 12th
  • Regular season champion Iona is seeking its eighth NCAA Tournament berth in the last 11 seasons
  • See the MAAC Tournament odds, seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview, below

Few programs in college basketball have dominated a conference the way the Iona Gaels have owned the MAAC recently. Iona has won each of past five conference tournaments that have been contested – the MAAC Tournament was cancelled in 2020, and are once again the top seed and regular season champion this year.

The MAAC Tournament gets underway starting on Tuesday (March 8th), with the final taking place Saturday (March 12th). All the games will take place in Atlantic City, NJ, at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

2022 MAAC Tournament Odds

Team (Seed) Odds
Iona Gaels (1) -143
Monmouth Hawks (4) +400
Saint Peter’s Peacocks (2) +450
Siena Saints (3) +700
Marist Red Foxes (5) +900
Niagara Purple Eagles (6) +1400
Fairfield Stags (7) +2000
Manhattan Jaspers (8) +3300
Rider Broncs (9) +3300
Quinnipiac Bobcats (10) +3300
Canisius Golden Griffins (11) +5000

Odds as of March 6 at Barstool Sportsbook.


The Gaels just wrapped up a 17-3 record in conference play, winning six of their final seven games down the stretch. They’re currently penciled in as a 14-seed in the projected NCAA Tournament bracket, although they’ve never had much success in March Madness.

Iona a Gael Force

Led by legendary coach Rick Pitino, Iona breezed through the MAAC schedule after posting an 8-3 record in non-conference play. They posted a signature victory over then ranked #10 Alabama, beat a very good Appalachian State team, and hung tough against #6 Kansas.

Nobody will confuse this Pitino program with some of his former celebrated teams at Kentucky or Louisville who were staples in the Final Four odds. Having said that, they do have the ingredients to win a NCAA Tournament game or two, something they haven’t done in their last five March Madness appearances.

The Gaels led the MAAC in points per game and assists, and ranked second in field goal percentage and total rebounding. Only 10 teams in the country make more free throws per outing, and they feature three players who average 12 points per game, and another two who splash at least 8.

Defensively, they rank second in the conference in defensive rating, and 31st in the nation in opponent effective field goal percentage. They allow under six made threes per contest, and rank third in all of college hoops in blocks.

Since Pitino arrived, Iona is 36-11, with an NCAA Tournament trip and a regular season title. They have size, speed and athleticism, and more importantly are the best team in the MAAC by a mile. They’re the lone program ranked inside the top-87 in KenPom’s rankings, with the next closest Saint Peter’s grading out 48 spots lower.

Pass on Saint Peter’s

Speaking of the Peacocks, they’re a clear fade in the futures market. They rank ninth in the MAAC in points per game, and dead last in free throw percentage. They commit turnovers at one of the 40th worst rates in college hoops, and only 18 teams in the nation commit more fouls.

Defense has been their calling card all season, ranking first in the conference in points per game, and 21st in the country in opponent effective field goal percentage. That suffocating defense hasn’t shown up against the Gaels so far this season though, as Iona has averaged 77.5 points per game versus Saint Peter’s in a pair of convincing victories.

The Peacocks also lost both meetings to Siena this season, their projected semifinal opponent. They did sweep Monmouth, Marist and Niagara, however if I was straying from Iona I’d much rather take a shot on the Red Foxes at much more favorable odds.

MAAC Tournament Pick

Marist has proven over the last month it has the ingredients to go on a conference championship run. They reeled off six straight wins to end February, and played Iona extremely tight in both of their meetings.

The Red Foxes lead the MAAC in field goal percentage and three-point efficiency, and boast two of the top-nine scorers in the conference. They shoot a high percentage from the free throw line, and are one of the better defensive teams in the MAAC as well.

They rank third in the conference in scoring defense, and are holding enemy shooters to 41% from the field. Marist isn’t on the radar of the NCAA Tournament odds, but given their strong recent form, and their lights out shooting, they make an intriguing sleeper to come out of the MAAC at the very least.

Pick: Iona Gaels (-143)

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