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Iona vs Manhattan - MAAC Championship - 3/9/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Manhattan Jaspers (18-13) at Iona Gaels (26-7)

College Basketball: Monday, March 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm (Times Union Center)

The Line: Iona Gaels -3.5 -- Over/Under:148.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 2

The Manhattan Jaspers and Iona Gaels will face of with a bid to the NCAA tournament on the line as they face off at the Times Union Center this Monday night in the MACC championship.

The Manhattan Jaspers, the 3rd seed in the MAAC Tournament, improved to 18-13 (13-7 MAAC) on the season after defeating the St. Peter's Peacocks, 65-48, this past Sunday in the semifinals of the MAAC tournament. Manhattan shot 40.8% from the field and 44.4% (8-18) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Jaspers was Shane Richards who had 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Manhattan is ranked 195th in the RPI Standings and has played the 316th ranked SOS. On the season, the Jaspers have been led by Emmy Andujar (16.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.5 apg) and Ashton Pankey (13.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg). Manhattan is averaging 69.7 ppg (ranked 109th) on 43.6% shooting (ranked 174th). The Jaspers average 13.8 apg (ranked 92nd) however, commit 14.7 turnovers per game (ranked 323rd).  Manhattan is holding their opponents to an average of 68.1 ppg (ranked 226th) on 43.8% shooting (ranked 214th).  The Jaspers average 8.1 apg (ranked 21st) and have a turnover margin of 2.0 (ranked 49th).

Iona vs Manhattan - MAAC Championship - 3/9/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Iona Gaels, the number 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament, improved to 26-7 (17-3 MAAC) on the season after defeating the Monmouth Hawks, 95-77, this past Sunday in the semifinals of the MAAC tournament. Iona shot 50.8% from the field and 54.3% (19-35) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Gaels was A.J. English who had 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Iona is ranked 52nd in the RPI Standings and has played the 233th ranked SOS. On the season, the Gaels have been led by A.J. English (19.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.1 apg) and David Laury (19.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.7 apg). Iona is averaging 79.5 ppg (ranked 7th) on 46.9% shooting (ranked 40th). The Gaels average 9.8 three-pointers per game (ranked 5th) on 39.8% three-point shooting (ranked 14th).  Iona is holding their opponents to an average of 72.5 ppg (ranked 308th) on 42.3% shooting (ranked 137th). The Gaels are allowing teams to shoot 34.8% from beyond the arc (ranked 207th) and commit an average of 16.9 personal fouls per game (ranked 77th).

Manhattan and Iona met in last year’s MAAC title game with Manhattan winning 71-68 however, Iona was able to defeat Manhattan in both match-ups this season in which both games were competitive (70-67 victory @ Manhattan; 79-75 victory @ Iona). Manhattan has been playing great defense as of late as they’ve held both opponents in the MACC tournament to just 53.0 ppg. Iona has one of the best offensives in the country and it was on full display in their semifinal victory over Monmouth. Manhattan has been able to contain David Laury in both match-ups this season, and it will be important to ensure that both A.J. English and David Laury have big games, as this would probably be too much for the Jaspers to overcome. I do think that this is going to be a close game, however, I think Iona will be motivated to ensure that Manhattan doesn’t take away their NCAA bid for the second straight year and that Iona’s stars will carry them to the MACC title and NCAA tournament bid. Take Iona to cover this small spread.

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Iona Gaels -3.5

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