Image via Wikipedia
Edison, NJ - Siena College, which won its third school championship title last season and advanced to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, is the league’s top choice to win the 2008-09 conference title, according to the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Saints, led by fourth-year head coach Fran McCaffery, have several veterans from last year’s NCAA squad to help Siena earn back-to-back league titles. Leading the effort will be a trio of All-MAAC picks – senior guard Kenny Hasbrouck, junior guard/forward Edwin Ubiles and junior forward Alex Franklin.
Close on their heels will be Fairfield University. Third-year head coach Ed Cooley has his top seven players returning from last year’s squad, eager to make a trip to the Big Dance. Senior guards Jonathan Han and Herbie Allen, as well as junior forwards Anthony Johnson and Greg Nero, look to making the NCAA Championship an attainable goal for the Stags.
Rider University, who tied for first place in the regular season with Siena and advanced to the title game last year, will look to be at the top of the standings once again in the 2008-09 season. The Broncs have lost Jason Thompson to the NBA, but the cupboard it far from bare. Senior guard Harris Mansell, junior guard Ryan Thompson and sophomore forward Mike Ringgold will work to make another successful season for Rider.
Niagara University has been one of the top five teams in nine of the 10 years Joe Mihalich has been head coach, and the Purple Eagles look to repeat that effort once again this season. Senior center Benson Egemonye, junior guard/forward Bilal Benn and junior guards Rob Garrison and Tyrone Lewis will look to keep Niagara playing well into March.
Loyola College graduated three starters from last year’s squad, but a combination of seasoned veterans with hopeful newcomers will strive to keep the Greyhounds at the top of the MAAC standings. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan, junior guard Brett Harvey and sophomore guard Brian Rudolph look to make their team a factor in the title race.
Manhattan College, Iona College, Canisius College, Saint Peter’s College and Marist make up picks six through 10, all capable of unseating any one of the top five teams as they vie for the MAAC regular season title this season.
2008-09 MAAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll