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MAAC Conference Tournment Semifinals - Monmouth Hawks vs. Iona Gaels - 3/8/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Monmouth Hawks (18-14) at Iona Gaels (25-7)

College Basketball: Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm (Times Union Center)

The Line: Monmouth Hawks +5.5 -- Over/Under: 138.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 3

The Monmouth Hawks and Iona Gaels will face off in the semifinals of the MAAC tournament this Sunday afternoon at the Times Union Center.

The Monmouth Hawks, who earned the 4th seed in the MAAC Conference Tournament pulled away in the second half to defeat the Canisius Griffins 60-54, this past Saturday. Monmouth shot 37.0% from the field and 36.4% (8-22) from beyond the arc in the victory. The Hawks held Canisius to just 30.0% (6-20) shooting from beyond the arc and forced the Griffins to commit 17 turnovers. Leading the way for Monmouth was Justin Robinson who had 16 points and 4 rebounds. Monmouth is ranked 194th in the RPI Standings and has played the 255th ranked SOS. On the season, the Hawks have been led by Justin Robinson (13.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.7 spg) and Deon Jones (12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 apg). Monmouth averages 64.4 ppg (ranked 246th) on 42.8% shooting (ranked 212th). The Hawks shoot 72.6% from the free-throw line (ranked 58th) however, commit 12.9 turnovers per game (ranked 205th). Defensively, Monmouth is holding their opponents to 63.3 ppg (ranked 94th) on 39.6% shooting (ranked 42nd). The Hawks average 7.0 spg (ranked 86th) and have a rebound margin of -1.6 (ranked 252nd).

MAAC Conference Tournment Semifinals - Monmouth Hawks vs. Iona Gaels - 3/8/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Iona Gaels, the number 1 seed in the MAAC tournament, survived a poor shooting second half to defeat the Siena Saints 74-71 yesterday afternoon. Iona was able to shoot 49.0% from the field and 35.7% (10-28) from beyond the arc in the victory. The Gales lost the turnover battle by a 15-8 margin but held the Saints to just 23.1% (3-13) shooting from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Gaels was A.J. English who had 32 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Iona is ranked 51st in the RPI Standings and has played the 217th ranked SOS. On the season, Iona has been led by David Laury (20.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.3 bpg) and A.J. English (19.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.4 spg). Iona averages 79.6 ppg (ranked 6th) on 46.8% shooting (ranked 42nd). The Gaels average 9.8 three-pointers per game (ranked 6th) on 39.9% three-point shooting (ranked 14th). Defensively, Iona is allowing 72.5 ppg (ranked 308th) on 42.2% shooting (ranked 133rd). The Gaels average 6.6 spg (ranked 134th) and pull down 25.97 defensive rpg (ranked 32nd).

The Hawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games. The Gaels are 16-7 ATS in their last 23 Sunday games however, just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.

Monmouth and Iona split their season series in two very close game. Monmouth was able to defeat Iona at home, 92-89 however dropped a 69-68 game at Iona. Monmouth relies more on their defensive to keep them in games as Iona will try to push the tempo of the game and have their starts, David Laury and A.J. English outscore the opponents. Iona has the potential to cause some damage in the NCAA tournament, however, they know they need to take care of business in the MAAC tournament as they most likely won’t receive an at large bid. Although both games have been close in the regular season, I see Iona finding their rhythm in this game and pulls away from Monmouth in the 2nd half. Take Iona to cover. 

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Iona Gaels -5.5

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