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Breaking Down The 2015-16 Season For The MAAC Conference

Recapping the 2015-16 MAAC Mens Basketball Postseason action.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Another MAAC basketball season comes to an end. Unfortunately this year there are no happy endings, in the form of post season runs, to write home about. While the preseason favorite Iona Gaels did not win the MAAC regular season crown they did finally overcome the two year streak of losing in the MAAC Tournament final. The Gaeks knocked off the #1 seed Monmouth Hawks to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels, however, were more than slightly disappointing in the big dance losing by 13 to the Iowa State Cyclones in the round of 64.

The Gael's loss wasn't the only disappointing topic surrounding the MAAC and the NCAA Tournament this march. Many MAAC hoops fans and college basketball analysis alike felt that the Monmouth Hawks should have been granted an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. This would have been only the 3rd time in the history of the MAAC that a team got an at-large bid (Manhattan '95, Iona '12). The Hawks (28-8, 17-3 MAAC) recorded road/neutral victories against, UCLA, Notre Dame, Georgetown and USC. While UCLA and Georgetown went on to struggle this year, winning at Pauley Pavillion is not an easy thing to do - Just ask Kentucky and Arizona, both NCAA Tournament teams who came up short this season at Pauley. In the end however the loss to Iona in the MAAC finals dropped the Hawks RPI to 55 and even ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, (who had them in) turned out to be wrong as the committee left them out.

The Hawks would prove that the committee may have made the right decision as they bowed out of the NIT (where they were a #1 seed) in the second round losing handily 87-71 to the #4 seed George Washington Colonials (who would go on to win the NIT championship).

The Siena Saints looked to defend their crown of mediocrity by trying to make a run at back to back CBI championships. Their title defense was cut short, however; as the Saints fell in the first round to Morehead State 84-80.

The surprise team in the MAAC this season was the Fairfield Stags who finished with 19 wins on the season for only the 10th time in the last 50 seasons. The 2015-16 Stags boasts the top scoring freshman class in the conference and look to be on the up and up. They however would also end their post season early with an 77-62 home loss to New Hampshire in the opening round of the CIT. No other MAAC schools participated in post season tournaments.

While the conference went 1-4 in post season play, there were tons of of individual post season accolades handed out around the MAAC:

Justin Robinson (Monmouth Hawks):
  • USBWAA All-District II Team
  • All-Met First Team Selection
  • ECAC First Team Selection
  • NABC All-District First Team
  • AP All American Honorable Mention
  • Finalist - Lute Olson Award
  • Finalist - Lou Henson Award
A.J. English (Iona Gaels):
  • USBWAA All-District II Team
  • All-Met First Team Selection
  • ECAC First Team Selection
  • NABC All-District First Team
  • Finalist - Jerry West Award
  • Portsmouth Invitational Invitee - (MVP)
Shane Richards (Manhattan Jaspers):
  • All-Met Second Team Selection
  • NABC All-District First Team
Marcus Gilbert (Fairfield Stags):
  • All-Met Third Team Selection
  • NABC All-District Second Team
Jordan Washington (Iona Gaels):
  • All-Met Third Team Selection
Brett Bisping (Siena Saints):
  • Division I-AAA ADA Scholar Athlete Team
  • NABC All-District First Team
King Rice (Head Coach - Monmouth Hawks):
  • ECAC Coach of the year
  • NABC District 1 Coach of the year
  • Finalist - Ben Jobe Award
  • John McLendon National Coach of the year