News and Notes from around the MAAC ...
- Here's a look at where conference teams stand in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), through Sunday's games. These are the numbers that, at season's end, the NCAA selection committee uses as part of its process in seeding teams and selection at-large teams for the NCAA Tournament. Overall, there are 347 Division I teams rated.
1. Siena, RPI of 34.
2. Iona, 72
3. Fairfield, 124
4. Saint Peter's, 144
5. Rider, 154
6. Niagara, 174
7. Canisius, 191
8. Loyola, 192
9. Manhattan, 224
1o. Marist, 338
What does it mean now? Not much, except that Siena still has a chance to be consered for an at-large berth should it fail to capture the conference's post-season tournament.
Still ... there have been teams rated in the top 30 in the RPI before that have not been picked for the tournament. And, any loss would drop Siena's RPI meaning the Saints don't have a lot or wiggle room.
Siena could probably survive one regular-season loss, but probably not two, should it hope to stay in contention for an at-large bid if it needs one.
- Siena played its most recent game at Manhattan without senior forward Edwin Ubiles (shoulder injury) and sophomore guard Kyle Downey (broken foot), but held off the Jaspers, 66-58.
The Saints are likely to get a stern test Thursday when they play at Saint Peter's (7-3 in conference play thus far). Siena is 10-0 in the MAAC, and Thursday's contest is probably its most serious threat to date to its quest to complete the regular-season conference schedule with an unbeaten record.
- A class move by Rider women's coach Lynn Milligan late in her team's 57-43 loss at Siena on Sunday. After the Broncs' senior guard Amanda Sepulveda made a three-pointer with about four minutes left, Mulligan took her top player out o fthe game. Sepulveda had 18 points at the time, but her team was trailing by 14 points. At that point, Sepulveda needed just two more points to reach 1,000 for her career. Now, Sepulveda will score her 1,000th career points at home when Rider hosts Iona on Friday.
- While the Rider women's team has lost its last 10 games, there's still some optimism for future success, particularly since the Broncs have the clear-cut frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors in 6-foot-2 freshman center Caitlin Bopp, who averages 7.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game thus far. Bopp had four points and seven rebounds in 18 first-half minutes against Siena on Sunday, before suffering a back injury early in the second half and did not return to the game.
- Fairfield's senior center Stephanie Geehan continues to rate among the best nationally in rebounds (4th, 11.8 per game) and blocked shots (4th, 3.7 per game).
Other top-20 members of the national statistical rankings for women include Brittane Russell of Canisius in steals per game (17th, 3.1), Michelle Pacheco of Manhattan in steals (19th, 3.0), Rachele Fitz of Marist in field goal percentage (16th, .573), Liz Flooks of Niagara in three-point field goal percentage (13th, .462), Suzi Fregosi of Iona in assist-turnover ratio (10th, 2.45) and Erica Allenspach of Marist in assist-turnover ratio (17th, 2.23).
- Siena's senior guard Ronald Moore continues to lead the country in assists (8.3 per game), and ranks 15th in assist-turnover ratio (2.84).
Other to-20 members of the national statistical rankings for men include Alex Franklin of Siena in field goal percentage (16th, .578), Ryan Rossiter of Siena in rebounding (13th, 10.4), Derek Needham of Fairfield in assists (14th, 5.8), and Rossiter of Siena in total double-doubles (9th, 10)..