MAAC Basketball Picks: Monmouth Will Cover ATS Against Iona

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, March 7, 2016 3:55 PM GMT

In each of the previous 3 seasons, the Iona Gaels battled their arch-rival, the Manhattan Jaspers, for the MAAC Title. But this year, there is a new gun in town. Free NCAAB picks inside.

Iona vs. Monmouth 7:00PM ET
It is the Monmouth Hawks, who exploded on the scene this year with a 26-6 SU record, including 17-3 SU in MAAC action. Iona easily transferred their rivalry intensity to their games against Monmouth this year. The first was a blood bath in New Rochelle at the New Hynes Center, the home of the Gaels. Iona entered that meeting with a recent record of 42-3 SU on their home court. But, the current rivalry was born that night in a blood-letting, fist-slugging OT victory by a count of (110-102) by Monmouth. Five weeks later, the rematch occurred in the Monmouth Activity Center, where the Hawks were 7-0 SU for the season. The game was never close, as Iona was in charge from jump, posting an (83-67) defensive victory against the high-flying Hawks. Tonight, the rubber-match takes place in Times Union. If you are looking for a game that characterizes championship week in the CCTs, then this is a “must watch” at 7:00 pm ET tonight.

 

Betting Preview
Iona was meandering through their season till the January eligibility of Buffalo transfer, Deyshonee Much. Following a (98-91) loss at Fairfield on January 24th, the Gaels, who were a perennial 20-win team in the 5 years under current HC Tim Cluess, stood 10-9 SU (5-12 ATS). Since that time, however, including their (81-70) win last night over host team Siena, the Gaels have gone 10-1 SU, 9-2 ATS, including 7-0 SU ATS away. Key has been a far improved defense, along with the scoring of Much, which has taken some of the pressure off ALL MAAC player, AJ English. Quite simply, Iona enters tonight MAAC matchup playing their best ball of the year. Unfortunately for the Gaels, it may not be enough.  

Fifth year, Monmouth HC King Rice has at last molded his team into what he was hoping for the previous seasons. Last night, the Hawks soared to a wire-to-wire (76-63) victory over Fairfield. That sets up this Championship Game in which Monmouth will be looking to avenge their only home loss of the season. The Hawks proved early in December they would be a team of note. Playing every November and December game away from home, their victories included UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown. By January 1st, they were primed for league action. Since that date, the Hawks have gone 7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS on the conference trail. You will love watching PG Robinson, the Hawks’ diminutive point guard, control the show. Along with Oklahoma transfer, Hornbeak, they are a dynamic duo that can match English and Much. But, the Hawks go deeper than the Gaels, have the advantage of lone home court revenge from the previous meeting and the intangible of the most exciting, creative bench (ESPN did a spotlight piece on the group) in college hoops.  

Sadly, it is improbable that the loser of this contest gets a bid to the NCAA, despite the fact they are each among the best 68 teams in America. I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on the Monmouth Jaspers tonight.    

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2995726, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: Monmouth -1
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle