Road Favorite Iona Is Our NCAA Basketball Pick Against Manhattan

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, February 26, 2016 4:01 PM GMT

In recent seasons, the Iona/Manhattan battle would have been for regular season superiority. Though Iona is again among the league leaders. See my preview on tonight's NCAA basketball pick.

Iona (-6) at Manhattan 7:00 ET
In recent seasons, the Iona/Manhattan battle would have been for regular season MAAC superiority. Though Iona is again among the league leaders, trailing only Monmouth for the top spot, Manhattan is having a down year mired in the 6th position, as they battle Fairfield and St. Peter’s for the all-important 4th spot in the upcoming MAAC CCT.

Last season was typical of the dogfight between these teams. In the regular season, Manhattan lost (70-67) on this court to Iona. In a similar result, when traveling to New Rochelle (two weeks later), Iona was again victorious (79-75). But, the Jaspers got their double revenge when they won the CCT Final (79-69) to get the NCAA bid. This year, Manhattan returned just 2 starters but was still picked to contend for the MAAC crown. But the offense has left them down, as they are averaging less than 70 PPG. Along with a (-6.6) net rebound margin and committing 14.3 TOs per game, Manhattan is far from the team they were last season. The Jaspers are fortunate to be in the middle of the pack for 5th year HC Masiello (the former Pitino Asst.). 

 

Betting Analysis
Iona, under 6th year HC Cluess, is again fighting for conference superiority with 4 returning starters. A shoddy defense left the Gaels with just a 10-9 SU, 5-12 ATS record after a (98-91) loss at Fairfield January 24th. But, beginning with the (70-56) dominating defensive, oriented victory over this Manhattan team, Iona has surged to a 7-1 ATS mark, allowing only 2 of those opponents to score more than 67 points. At the same time, one of the MAC’s best players, senior guard AJ English, is beginning to show his all-around game and leadership. The most pleasant surprise, however, has been Buffalo transfer, Deyshonee Much, who became eligible at mid-season and has begun to knock down triples with regularity. As a long, athletic guard, Much stands out in this league.

As much as the Jaspers would like to make their season with this home revenge meeting, Iona is quite simply the better team, playing with far more momentum and motivated by challenging Monmouth. Gael supporters will travel the 8 miles to Riverdale en masse to fill Draddy Gym for the MAAC’s most storied and hardest fought rivalry. I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds boards in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball picks on Iona tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Iona -6
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes