Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Around The MAAC: Points, Steals, Key Contests

As we do every season, we occasionally find some time to look around MAAC.

It's a feature we call "ATM," or Around The MAAC.

Here's the latest installment.

SCORING LEADER

In case you haven't noticed, the top two players among  the Division I national scoring leaders includes one from the MAAC and another former player in the conference.

Niagara's junior guard Antoine Mason (as predicted in this blog prior to the season) is the national scoring leader, connecting on 30.0 points per game thus far.

No. 2 on the national list, at 25.5 ppg., is Dylon Cormier of Loyola, a MAAC member until this season.

If Mason retains the scoring lead through the season he would become the fourth MAAC player to win a national scoring title.

The others have been Army's Kevin Houston, 32.9 ppg. in the 1986-87 season; Niagara's Alvin Young, 25.1 ppt. in the 1998-99 season; and, Saint Peter's Keydren Clark, who did it twice, 26.7 ppg. in the 2003-04 season and 25.6 pg. in the 2004-05 season.

THIEVERY AT ITS BEST

It's usually pretty difficult for freshmen to make a mark at a mid-major level program, but frosh guard Emia Willingham of the Siena women's team has already had a break-out performance.

Willingham, a quick 5-foot-6 guard, had 10 steals in a recent game against Sacred Heart.

That total is the single-game high nationally thus far this season, tied Siena's school record for single-game swipes by either men's or women's players, and is second all-time for a game played by a MAAC player.

Only former Manhattan standout Gina Somma, who had 12 steals in a game during the 1993-94 season.

WELCOME ADDITION

The new conference team expected to be the most-competitive in terms of regular-season championship contention is the Quinnipiac women's squad.

The Bobcats are currently 3-4 in non-league play, but are highly regarded enough to rank 24th nationally in the collegeinsiders.com poll of mid-major level programs from 23 different conferences.

Quinnipiac's losses thus far have been to Louisville (No. 5 nationally at the time of the game), 6-1 St. Joseph's 5-1 St. John's and 5-3 Tennessee-Martin, the three-time defending Ohio Valley Conference's representative to the NCAA tournament.

And, now, we'll really get a look at how good Quinnipiac can be this season.

The Bobcats have back-to-back games coming up against two other teams rated in the mid-major poll.

They host Marist on Friday at 6 p.m., the first MAAC game of the season and it's a good one. The teams were picked in the coaches' preseason poll to finish first (Marist) and third, respectively, in conference play this season.

Marist is currently ranked No. 18 in the mid-major poll.

Both programs are coming off NCAA appearances and perfect records in league play from the 2012-13 season. Marist was 18-0 in the MAAC, and Quinnipiac was 16-0 iin its former affiliation, the Northeast Conference.

And, then, the Bobcats play another non-league contest on December 15 at UAlbany (2 p.m.).

UAlbany checks in at No. 8 in the mid-major poll. And, once again, it's a meeting of teams that went to the NCAA's last year after perfect league records. The Great Danes were 16-0 in America East play in 2012-13.

Your blogger plans on attending the Dec. 15 Quinnipiac at UAlbany game to get a first-hand look at the Bobcats, and will provide a post-game report.

2 comments:

Andy Scarano said...

Marist is playing well - but going to be tough to judge exactly where Quinny stands as they are going to be at full strength and the Marist women will not be. So regardless of out come one must keep in mind that come March there will be a very different Marist team at the Championships then is on the court today - and the one on the court today is playing some good ball

Steve Amedio said...

Thanks, as always, for your insights.
Looks like, despite the depleted roster, Marist is still good enough to hold off the latest "challenger" to its decade of domination.