Here's the latest installment of "ATM," otherwise known as Around The MAAC...
- An astute blog follower. after reading about Scott Machado of Iona's quest to lead the nation in assists this season, brought to our attention that there's another conference performer at the top of a national statistical category.
That would be Niagara's senior point guard Anthony Nelson, whose 3.4 steals-per-game average is the best nationally. He is closely followed by Byron Mulkey's 3.3 steals per contest. Mulkey plays at the University of Buffalo, located about 10 miles to the south of Niagara.
All we can say, with tongue firmly in cheek, is that you should check for personal belongings after moving through western New York since that's the home base of college basketball's two top "thieves."
And, check back on this blog in the immediate future as we'll be talking with Niagara's Nelson in coming days and writing about the exploits of his quick hands.
- Nelson isn't the only conference player among the national statistical leaders. Iona's junior point guard Machado is back atop the assist leaderboard, averaging 8.4 per contest and ahead of No. 2 Aaron Johnson of UAB, who is at 8.2 per contest.
Siena's Ryan Rossiter is averaging 12.8 rebounds per contest, which is second nationally behind only Kenneth Faried of Morehead State (13.3 per game).
Most readers have probably never heard of Faried, but he has just been a rebounding machine over his his career at Morehead State. He currently has 1,418 career rebounds, which is eighth all time since 1973. In the official NCAA men's basketball record books, a distinction is drawn between the pre-1973 era and the post-1973 era. One reason is that because of the split into the three Divisions in use today (Divisions I, II and III), many of the rebounds accumulated in the pre-1973 era were against less–talented opponents that would be considered Division II, III or even NAIA in today's hierarchy.
The all-time career rebound leader is Tom Gola, who played at La Salle in the 1950s, and has 2,201 rebounds.
Since 1973, though, the all-time career rebound leader is Tim Duncan (Wake Forest) at 1,570, followed by Derrick Coleman (Syracuse) with 1,537. If Faried continues to rebound at his current rate, he should approach Duncan's record, or at least Coleman's second-place total.
The MAAC's all-time career rebound leader is former La Salle standout of the late 1980s through the 1989-90 season, Lionel Simmons. His 1,429 rebounds is sixth on the all-time list since 1973.
Here's one other current MAAC player among this year's national leaders in an individual category: Iona's 6-7 junior forward Mike Glover is making .659 percent of his field goal attempts, the fifth best percentage nationally.
- While the women's version of the MAAC doesn't have any individuals near the top of any statistical category, the Marist women's team ranks high in two categories.
The Red Foxes are actually No. 1 in fewest turnovers committed per game (11.2), a good distance ahead of No. 2 Northern Iowa (12.8).
The Marist women are also no. 11 nationally in fewest points allowed, 52.4 per contest.
- One of the better mano-a-mano individual match-ups of the season took place at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., Monday night when Siena's senior center Ryan Rossiter hadd 28 points and Canisius sophomore guard Gaby Belardo had 29 in the Saints' 73-69 victory over the Golden Griffins.
Belardo had his team's final 11 points pulling the Griffs from a 66-58 deficit into a 69-68 lead with just over a minute remaining.
Rossiter, though, followed with two free throws and, then, a rebound of a missed Belardo shot and a length-of-the-court outlet to Siena guard Clarence Jackson for a breakaway dunk and a 3-point Siena lead.
Belardo had a chance to tie it with a final shot, but his well-defended three-point try bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
- This blogger believes the closest approximation of the NCAA's Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is done by Jerry Palm at collegerpi.
Here's how Palm's computer approximation of the NCAA's RPI has MAAC men's teams: iona is No. 89 of 345 Division I teams nationally, followed by St. Peter's, 130; Rider, 146; Fairfield, 152; Siena, 180; Loyola, 211; Canisius, 214; Niagara, 279; Marist, 283; and Manhattan, 300.
Here's how Palm rates the MAAC's women's teams: Marist, 80; Loyola, 189; Manhattan, 213; Canisius, 217; Fairfield, 222; Siena, 234; Iona, 254; Rider, 302; Saint Peter's, 307; Niagara, 326.