Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Men's Predictions: Minor Disagreement With Coaches

Commentary on the news ...

MAAC coaches, in their annual preseason poll, agreed with your Hoopscribe's predicted order of finish on the top and on the bottom for the upcoming season. There is some disagreement, though, in between.

My predictions, made in early July (and you can see them, to confirm, in The Sporting News' College Basketball annual, now on newsstands), had Manhattan as the pick for first, followed by Iona and Canisius.

And, coaches agreed. Manhattan was the overwhelming pick of coaches, with 10 of them picking the Jaspers as the preseason favorite with the lone vote elsewhere going to Iona.

We also picked Siena for 10th and newcomer Monmouth for 11th, as did the coaches.

Otherwise, as we have mentioned several times, the middle is muddled.

The biggest discrepancy between my picks and the coaches' is that I picked Rider for eighth, and they picked the Broncs for fourth. The other wide difference was my prediction of Saint Peter's for fourth, while the coaches picked the Peacocks for ninth.

I will disagree with the coaches' placement of Saint Peter's, which has some solid returnees, some strong incoming players and one of the league's best coaches in John Dunne. I'll stick by my prediction that Saint Peter's could finish fourth, or fifth. But, I'd be shocked if they finished ninth.

Two other picks of note. I picked Niagara ninth and coaches picked the Purple Eagles for eighth. We both could be wrong. In a subsequent post, after my own predictions were published, I mentioned Niagara as the team with the most potential to be a positive surprise.

The Purple Eagles, despite heavy losses including veteran head coach Joe Mihalich, still have a nice nucleus returning and a very strong incoming group. They could easily finish several spots higher than our predictions.

What does it all mean? Very little.

The preseason picks are made for the sole purpose of bringing some early attention and interest to the league. They create a subject for debate, and there's nothing wrong with that.

So, let the debates ... and disagreements ... begin. The season, and actual games, isn't far behind.

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