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MAAC Tournament bracket and schedule: Until further notice, the title goes through Iona

Somehow, the Gaels stole the 1 seed.

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NCAA Basketball: MAAC Conference Tournament Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest: this has not been a banner season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Three-time defending champ Iona stumbled to a 2-9 non-conference record, Monmouth — which should have gotten an NCAA Tournament at-large berth just three years ago — was worse, losing its first 12 games of the campaign, while Siena was dealing with a new coach and system.

The one team that seemed to have potential to save the MAAC from the abyss was Rider, but despite returning nearly everyone from a team that went 15-3 (and was the top seed in the conference tournament), the Broncs have never truly found their way this season. And so, according to KenPom, the MAAC enters Championship Fortnight rated just 29th of 32 conferences (ahead of just the NEC, MEAC, and SWAC).

All is not lost, however. It’s not like the MAAC was going to be a multi-bid league anyway, a point Monmouth proved in 2016. And the computers don’t give a read of how entertaining some of the contests have been this season, the most prominent of which was a shootout for the ages between Cameron Young and Quinnipiac against Jalen Pickett and Siena. That game just so happened to be played at the site of this year’s tournament, the Times-Union Center in Albany.

Pickett was new coach Jamion Christian’s first recruit at Siena and hopes to lead a resurgence in the program. The Saints will enter this week’s proceedings as the fifth seed, for which there was a time the strongest fanbase in the MAAC would be calling for a head coach’s ouster. But Christian and Siena were picked dead last in the preseason poll, and Christian has used a deliberate style (at one point this season, Siena was playing at a slower tempo than Virginia, which many experts thought was mathematically impossible). Like seemingly everyone else, the Saints have a real shot if they can get hot.

Until further notice, however, the MAAC crown goes through top-seeded Iona, who managed to get there despite six conference losses, and hasn’t had to change its glorious pregame hype video since its last MAAC Tournament loss in 2015.

Tournament Bracket

How to Watch

First Round (Thurs., March 7)

ESPN3 will stream all games.

Game 1: No. 9 Saint Peter’s Peacocks vs. No. 8 Marist Red Foxes, 5 p.m.
Game 2: No. 10 Fairfield Stags vs. No. 7 Manhattan Jaspers, approx. 7:15 p.m.
Game 3: No. 11 Niagara Purple Eagles vs. No. 6 Monmouth Hawks, approx. 9:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals (Fri., March 8)

ESPN3 will stream both games.

Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs. No. 1 Iona Gaels, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Game 2 Winner vs. No. 2 Canisius Golden Griffins, approx. 9:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals (Sat., March 9)

ESPN3 will stream both games.

Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. No. 3 Quinnipiac Bobcats, 7 p.m.
Game 7: No. 5 Siena Saints vs. No. 4 Rider Broncs, approx. 9:30 p.m.

Semifinals (Sun., March 10)

Game 8: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, approx. 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Championship (Mon., March 11)

Game 10: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)