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Ranking the MAAC’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

While Iona, which has represented the conference in the last three NCAA Tournaments, has a strong schedule, two league rivals have slates that outshine the Gaels’.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Duke vs Iona Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

Since Fran McCaffrey’s Siena squad earned a nine seed all the way back in 2009, no MAAC team has earned a seed higher than 13th. Remember that the Iona squad that was selected for an at-large in 2012 ended up slotted as a 14, thanks to the need to keep First Four opponent BYU in a Friday/Sunday pod and regional. Last season, the Gaels, who won the MAAC Tournament as the four seed, were assigned a 15 seed. Over the last decade, only Manhattan’s 2015 First Four squad has been seeded lower.

With Iona dropping out of the four-year ranking’s top 100 this season—and declines by Monmouth, Saint Peter’s, Siena, and Manhattan—the MAAC dropped from 18th to 19th in the conference ranking. However, Rider, Canisius, Fairfield, and Niagara all saw their fortunes improve, and with those squads expected to compete for the conference crown this season, the MAAC’s representative is more than likely find itself on line 14 or 15 of the bracket.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Iona 2.264078 112 98
Monmouth 1.9574805 120 108
Canisius -0.14772635 165 185
Rider -0.57849735 177 212
Saint Peter's -0.815901 183 164
Fairfield -2.204163 215 232
Siena -2.47983045 226 169
Manhattan -3.28191075 244 233
Niagara -3.888403 267 297
Quinnipiac -5.020615 291 264
Marist -6.950455 322 312
Average -1.922358491 211.0909091 206.7272727
Conference Rank 19th of 32 (18th in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps for 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
12 Rider 177 98 79
30 Marist 322 266 56
34 Quinnipiac 291 236 55
190 Canisius 165 169 -4
191 Niagara 267 271 -4
213 Iona 112 122 -10
216 Fairfield 215 225 -10
221 Saint Peter's 183 196 -13
267 Siena 226 251 -25
304 Manhattan 244 285 -41
321 Monmouth 120 176 -56

And with KenPom‘s preseason rankings projecting that Rider, the preseason favorite of most, will jump into that metric’s top 100, the MAAC’s seeding prospects should be in the 12-13 range—provided the Broncs are the conference’s auto bid winner, that is. Unfortunately for the conference, the majority of its teams are expected to take at least a small step back, which could complicate the seeding picture for any other potential automatic qualifier.

Ranking The Schedules

Heading into 2018, the majority of the MAAC’s league average schedule rankings fall within the bottom quarter of Division I, a slight step back when compared to last season. And while Canisius and Monmouth have slates that rank within the top 30 or 40 consistently across the categories, five league members have bottom 100 slates that weigh the conference’s numbers down.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
28 Canisius** 4.60022609 37 5.00775168 29 5.999038096 19 4.324621279 38
30 Monmouth** 5.276402738 22 4.984158379 30 5.415146143 33 4.509088566 31
133 Iona* 3.111624771 100 2.615073855 134 2.796664349 142 2.43348336 130
181 Fairfield 1.841895658 168 1.841895658 183 1.841895658 192 1.841895658 162
231 Rider* 1.480480027 195 0.9641271135 229 0.9896794729 235 0.9385747542 223
246 Siena* 0.9259598563 228 0.7062657952 248 0.8156833673 248 0.5968482231 247
273 Manhattan 0.319895875 266 0.319895875 272 0.319895875 278 0.319895875 266
298 Saint Peter's -0.2938123875 290 -0.2938123875 298 -0.2938123875 301 -0.2938123875 291
309 Quinnipiac -0.6767402557 305 -0.6767402557 309 -0.6767402557 313 -0.6767402557 303
316 Niagara* -0.4538465875 293 -0.8365195538 316 -0.6921726962 315 -0.9808664115 316
319 Marist* -0.9254187045 317 -0.9017928854 319 -0.6819046042 314 -1.121681167 323
214.9090909 Average 1.38242428 201.9090909 1.248209388 215.1818182 1.439397547 217.2727273 1.081027954 211.8181818
27/32 Conference Rank 23 of 32 27 of 32 26 of 32 26 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

While MAAC under-schedulers lead over-schedulers by a seven-to-four margin, the majority of the gaps are of 50 spots or fewer, so they’re relatively reasonable. However, Rider’s negative scheduling gap of 53 spots is a disappointment for a potential top 100 team, while Canisius’s gap of 137 might lead the Golden Griffins to some early struggles in a season where they hope to contend.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
18 Marist 322 318 4
49 Quinnipiac 291 308 -17
52 Siena 226 245 -19
59 Iona 112 133 -21
74 Manhattan 244 272 -28
86 Fairfield 215 180 35
120 Niagara 267 315 -48
126 Rider 177 230 -53
204 Monmouth 120 30 90
245 Saint Peter's 183 297 -114
274 Canisius 165 28 137
118.8181818 Average (3/32 conf.) 211.0909091 214.1818182 -3.090909091

Home, Power 7 Road, And Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
45 0 15 0

For the second season in a row, the average MAAC team will play four home non-conference games, thanks in no small part to the conference’s restriction on scheduling non-D1 opponents. And with the MAAC’s total of Power 7 road games dropping by two this season, the overwhelming majority of its non-league opponents will come from fellow mid-major loops.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
America East 17 3
Patriot 17 1
Ivy 13 0
NEC 12 2
A 10 10 1
CAA 9 1
ACC 5 2
MEAC 5 0
Big East 4 0
Horizon 3 2
Big South 3 0
MAC 3 0
American Athletic 2 2
C-USA 2 2
Big 12 2 1
SEC 2 1
MVC 2 0
MW 2 0
WAC 2 0
Big West 1 3
Atlantic Sun 1 0
Big Sky 1 0
Big Ten 1 0
Pac-12 1 0
Southland 1 0
Summit 1 0
Sun Belt 1 0
SWAC 1 0
OVC 0 1
Non-D1 0 0
SoCon 0 0
WCC 0 0

Indeed, the top six conferences appearing on MAAC schedules are fellow Eastern mid-major leagues, with the first power conference, the ACC, sitting in seventh place. Just three Division I leagues are absent from MAAC slates this season, though the OVC could still feature in tournament play. Last season, only the Summit League was missing.

Albany will meet five MAAC opponents in 2018, with America East rival New Hampshire and Hofstra from the CAA slated to play four league members. Thanks in part to a home-and-home series against Stony Brook, Quinnipiac has five scheduled games against the America East, while Saint Peter’s has four NEC non-conference games on its slate.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 0 14 2 16 1.454545455 2
Quad 2 1 16 0 17 1.545454545 3
Quad 3 10 21 6 37 3.363636364 9
Quad 4 34 16 5 55 5 6
Non-D1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 45 67 13 125
Average 4.090909091 6.090909091 1.181818182 11.36363636
Percentage 0.36 0.536 0.104
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

MAAC teams will play just two top 100 home games (according to the four-year ranking), with just one of those games qualifying for Quad 2 (top 75) status. Compare that with the 30 Quad 1 and 2 road games league members will play, with 14 of those featuring top 75 (Quad 1 for road games) squads. Note that both of the Quad 1 neutral-site win opportunities come in exempt tournaments, as Canisius will meet Villanova in the AdvoCare Invitational quarterfinals and Monmouth takes on West Virginia at the same stage of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

28. Canisius Golden Griffins

*Exempt Event: AdvoCare Invitational

True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (5)
137. Albany 1. Villanova* 26. Florida State 108. Bucknell
272. Robert Morris 38. Oklahoma State/ (or LSU/UAB/ 26. Florida State*
89. Buffalo 104. Memphis* College of Charleston)* 74. St. Bonaventure
282. Brown 80. LSU/ 198. Elon
117. College of Charleston/ 277. Holy Cross
135. UAB
(or Florida State)*

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Elon, @Robert Morris) and 3 losses (@Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, @Albany)

Reggie Witherspoon’s second season in charge at the Koessler Athletic Center was a success, as the Golden Griffins tied with Rider for the MAAC crown and participated in the CBI. However, Canisius finished just below .500 in non-conference play, a result likely to be duplicated in 2018-19. Not only will the Griffins meet Villanova in the AdvoCare event’s first round, they’ll travel to Florida State for a non-bracketed game tied to the event. Plus, Canisius will play difficult road games at Bucknell and St. Bonaventure. At least they get MAC champ/favorite Buffalo at home.

30. Monmouth Hawks

*Exempt Event: Myrtle Beach Invitational

True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (7)
188. Lehigh 9. West Virginia* 240. Colgate
105. Princeton 90. Valparaiso or 111. Saint Joseph's*
136. Yale 127. WKU* 7. Kentucky
69. Wake Forest/ 108. Bucknell
111. Saint Joseph's/ 141. Hofstra
115. UCF/ 137. Albany
225. Cal State Fullerton* 178. Penn

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Bucknell, @Lehigh, Albany, @Yale) and 4 losses (Penn, Hofstra, Kentucky (N), @Princeton)

Last season, King Rice’s Hawks saw a three-season streak of winning basketball end, thanks to a difficult 11-20 campaign that saw Monmouth win just four of its eight non-conference games. Things may not get better in November and December of 2018 either, thanks to a lack of home games and the Hawks’ participation in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. While that event might not have the most difficult field from top-to-bottom, Monmouth drew the toughest opponent, West Virginia, right out of the gate. Making matters worse for Rice’s squad, six of the seven true road games (all except for the trip to Colgate) are likely losses, with the matchup at Kentucky looking especially rough.

133. Iona Gaels

*Exempt Event: MGM Resorts Main Event (Middleweight Bracket)

True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (5)
137. Albany 174. Utah Valley* 105. Princeton # 106. New Mexico
277. Holy Cross 173. Long Beach State or # - Atlantic City, N.J. 50. Providence
302. Hartford* 159. Ohio
200. Columbia $ 67. VCU
$ - Madison Square Garden 136. Yale

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@Ohio, Yale, @Holy Cross) and 1 loss (@Albany)

The Gaels turned it on very late to qualify for their third straight NCAA Tournament, as Tim Cluess’ squad only managed to break even against last season’s non-conference schedule. Amazingly, Iona could do better against 2018-19’s 11-game lineup, which features just one Power 7 road game—at Providence—even though the Gaels will play just two home games before conference play tips off. While Iona is participating in an exempt event this season, they’re only playing 11 non-conference games, not 12 or 13. The Gaels were a very late addition to the Main Event, so they won’t play any on-campus games as part of it. Iona’s rumored participation in the Vancouver Showcase, run by the same company, fell apart with that event’s struggles to build a secondary bracket.

181. Fairfield Stags

*Exempt Event: Elgin Baylor Classic

True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
275. LIU Brooklyn 196. Denver* 8. Purdue
206. Wagner 343. Longwood* 108. Bucknell
131. Oakland 256. Seattle*
265. Army West Point
83. Old Dominion
121. Boston College
239. New Hampshire

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (LIU Brooklyn (N), New Hampshire) and 3 losses (@Purdue, @Wagner, Old Dominion)

For the second season in a row, the Stags finished just a game over .500, with their final loss to Iona in the MAAC final preventing Fairfield from clinching its first NCAA bid since 1997. The Stags broke even in non-league play in 2017, though they played five home games, two more than what this schedule offers. However, with just two Power 7 road games on the schedule and three winnable games at Seattle‘s exempt round-robin over Thanksgiving, Fairfield could get itself to another .500 start—at a minimum—despite the increased number of games away from Connecticut.

231. Rider Broncs

*Exempt Event: Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic (Visitors’ Bracket)

True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
347. Coppin State 214. Northern Colorado* 115. UCF
294. Norfolk State 303. Cal State Northridge or 206. Wagner
272. Robert Morris 317. SIU Edwardsville* 9. West Virginia
141. Hofstra
194. Washington State*
219. Drake*
67. VCU

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Wagner) and 2 losses (@Robert Morris, Hofstra)

Kevin Baggett’s Broncs shared the MAAC regular season title with Canisius and ended up in the NIT after they lost early in the conference tournament in Albany. Rider went 7-5 in its non-conference games last November and December with a similar schedule to this one. Sure, the Broncs will play one fewer home game this time around, but they’ll head to Vegas once again for their exempt event—the winnable Las Vegas Classic. Plus, even though Rider will play three power road games, only trips to West Virginia and UCF look like sure defeats. Traditional Atlantic 10 power VCU will provide the Broncs with another late test before MAAC play begins.

246. Siena Saints

*Exempt Event: Air Force Reserve Tip-Off (Springfield Bracket)

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (5)
188. Lehigh 294. Norfolk State* 50. Providence*
240. Colgate 180. Stony Brook or 128. George Washington*
130. Harvard 277. Holy Cross* 141. Hofstra
117. College of Charleston 74. St. Bonaventure
277. Holy Cross 272. Robert Morris
295. Cal Poly

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Hofstra, Robert Morris, Holy Cross) and 3 losses (@College of Charleston, @Lehigh, St. Bonaventure)

Former Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian replaced Jimmy Patson after an 8-24 season full of controversy. Half of the Saints’ 2017-18 wins came during non-conference play, and with six true home games and a manageable bracket at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off event at the Mohegan Sun, Christian’s squad could get off to a better start this time around. However, visits from Ivy favorite Harvard and CAA champ College of Charleston and the top four road games all threaten to limit Siena’s ceiling.

273. Manhattan Jaspers

*Exempt Event: KEMI Northern Kentucky Basketball Classic

True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
198. Elon 190. Coastal Carolina* 257. UMBC
232. Fordham 155. UNC Asheville* 153. Northern Kentucky*
180. Stony Brook 128. George Washington
141. Hofstra 92. UConn
137. Albany
325. St. Francis-Brooklyn

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (St. Francis Brooklyn, Hofstra (N)) and 1 loss (@Fordham)

Since going to consecutive NCAAs in 2014 and 2015, the Jaspers have failed to pass the .500 mark, though Steve Masiello’s squad recorded a four-win improvement a season ago. However, Manhattan didn’t get off to the strongest start, going just 5-7 against a relatively easy non-conference slate. The Jaspers will leave the Tri-State area just three times during this year’s version, as they’ll visit history-making UMBC, Northern Kentucky (for the Norse’s exempt tournament), and George Washington on their limited travels. Three local rivals, meanwhile, head to Riverdale, including Bronx rival Fordham.

298. Saint Peter’s Peacocks

*Exempt Event: Wolfpack Classic

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (6)
312. Lafayette 59. N.C. State*
280. Delaware 271. North Texas*
334. Bryant 64. Auburn
340. Maine* 29. Clemson
275. LIU Brooklyn 325. St. Francis-Brooklyn
279. Hampton 293. Fairleigh Dickinson

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (@Lafayette, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn (N), St. Francis Brooklyn) and 0 losses

In 2017-19 John Dunne’s Peacocks won just 14 games for the second time in three years, with those struggles sandwiching 2016-17’s 23-13 campaign. Last season, the Peacocks managed to win more than they lost in non-conference play, and with nine games against teams ranked outside of the four-year ranking’s top 250, Saint Peter’s could do even better this season. And that’s even considering the three road games on the schedule against 2018 NCAA teams.

309. Quinnipiac Bobcats

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Road Games (5)
302. Hartford 263. Drexel # 1. Villanova
340. Maine # - Uncasville, Conn. 239. New Hampshire
312. Lafayette 175. UMass
328. Bethune-Cookman 180. Stony Brook
180. Stony Brook 290. Dartmouth

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Dartmouth, UMass) and 3 losses (@Lafayette, @Hartford, @Drexel)

In his first season in charge in Hamden, Conn., Baker Dunleavy’s Bobcats went 12-21, with just three of those victories coming before MAAC play arrived in late December. But with four sub-300 opponents and another three squads from outside the top 200, Quinnipiac will have chances to get off to a better start this season. Unfortunately, the Bobcats couldn’t have picked a worse opponent for their lone Power 7 game of the season, as they’ll open their season against the defending national champs.

316. Niagara Purple Eagles

*Exempt Event: Fort Myers Tip-Off (Visitors’ Bracket)

True Home Games (7) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (7) True Road Games (6)
74. St. Bonaventure 82. Loyola Chicago*
336. Grambling State* 129. Wyoming*
259. IUPUI or 253. St. Francis (Pa.)
325. St. Francis-Brooklyn* 109. Pittsburgh
239. New Hampshire 276. Cleveland State
273. Cornell 265. Army West Point
294. Norfolk State
137. Albany

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 6 wins (@St. Bonaventure, Army West Point, @New Hampshire, @Norfolk State, Cleveland State, @Cornell) and 1 loss (St. Francis (Pa.))

Last season, Purple Eagles recorded their first winning record in five years under Chris Casey’s tutelage, with their 19-14 mark earning them a place in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Niagara broke the .500 mark in non-conference play as well, though their best win came on Opening Night, as they stunned eventual NCAA participant St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center. While the Bonnies are the highest-ranked team (in the four-year table) on this season’s slate, 2018 Final Four squad Loyola Chicago might be the best team. The Purple Eagles will visit the Ramblers as part of the Fort Myers Tip-Off, an event for which Niagara will serve as the subregional host. With nine sub-200 teams on this slate, including every potential opponent in the visitors’ bracket, it could be possible for Niagara to better last season’s non-league mark.

319. Marist Red Foxes

*Exempt Event: Belfast Basketball Classic (Samson Bracket)

True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
200. Columbia 290. Dartmouth* 265. Army West Point
282. Brown 137. Albany or 188. Lehigh
275. LIU Brooklyn* 107. Stephen F. Austin*
89. Buffalo*
319. Stetson
240. Colgate
239. New Hampshire
302. Hartford

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Colgate) and 5 losses (Lehigh, Army West Point, Army West Point (N), Stetson, @Brown)

Former Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne moved a bit north to take over for Mike Maker, who was fired after guiding the Red Foxes to just 28 wins in four seasons. Marist won just two games in non-league play a season ago, and with eight road games and a pair of contests at the Belfast Basketball Classic, they might need to win their home games (both of which feature Ivy League opposition) to equal last season’s pre-MAAC victory total.

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