Friday, October 23, 2009

MAAC Gets Some National Notice

Your blogger has noticed the MAAC getting some mention nationally of late.

Currently on newsstands is USA Today's "College Basketball" preview.

A personal observation is that the publication appears to provide well-researched and solid information about the high-major programs, but not so much with the mid- to low-major programs.

We'll just address the MAAC quickly.

The MAAC preview got all of 11 paragraphs. So much for a "comprehensive" report on the conference from this publication. If you want that, rush out and buy The Sporting News' preseasion College Basketball Preview magazine. Of course, your blogger's MAAC preview appears in that publication.

While the USA Today's publication's predictions for the upper level of the conference appear to be the majority opinion, this blogger will take exception to a pick of Canisius to finish last this season.

The Golden Griffins were 4-14 and 11-20 last season, but return every player who started a game in 2008-09 as well as adding some strong freshmen players.

Canisius particularly showed signs of life late last season, winning four of its final six games. The only two losses in that stretch were to league champion Siena, including one by four points. The Griffs also lost two games during the season by a point last season, another by two points and another by three points.

All of that would indicate that Canisius is on an upward swing, at least for this season, and yours truly would be absolutely shocked if the Griffs finish last in the MAAC as USA Today's preseason special edition predicts.

A little less of a debate will be caused by the publication's preseason "bracketology" report.

(Just an opinion: Isn't it getting a little ridiculous when NCAA tournament brackets are projected even before a season begins?)

Siena is picked as the MAAC's representative to the NCAA tournament, but is predicted to be a 12th seed in a 16-team bracket.

Siena was a No. 9 seed last season, and is likely to be every bit as good, if not better, than a year ago. Of course, the Saints' non-league schedule might not be quite as strong as a year ago (although it is still very good), which could affect the team's RPI numbers.

AND, THEN, there's a very nice look, in a nationaly publication, at recent workouts in which former Siena player Jack McClinton was a participant.

The mention occurs in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (the NBA preview issue) as part of a feature on Idan Ravin, an independent trainer who is known in basketball circles as "The Hoops Whisperer."

The story is actually an exerpt from the book "The Art of the Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA" written by SI staffer Chris Ballard.

Within the excerpt published by SI is much about Ravin's work this past summer with McClinton (who played on season at Siena before transferring to Miami) and former Pitt standout Sam Young as they prepared for workouts with pro teams prior to the NBA draft.

McClinton, a second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs, was waived by that franchise just prior to the start of preseason camp.

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