Today is a little calm before the absolute deluge of great college hoops on the back half of the week. All the major conferences have a two or three day pause before beginning their tournaments. But there are still some games with big meaning as three more automatic bids are on the line in smaller leagues and several conference semifinals are taking place as well.
We will be back all week with tons of picks for all the action, but for today, we are going to focus on one more automatic bid being handed out and a game that should be intense and wildly entertaining.
Let’s take a look at who is going to win the MAAC for today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Iona Gaels vs. Monmouth Hawks (EVEN)
These two teams had an odd regular season, each winning on the others court and with no short of love lost for either team. Monmouth’s first win, at Iona, ended 110-102 and was punctuated with a little skirmish at the end and Monmouth’s coach King Rice blowing some kisses to Iona’s fans. Iona got the last laugh a few weeks later, going into their gym and beating the Eagles 83-67.
Monmouth SHOULD be in the tourney no matter what, but it is by no means a guarantee. Iona knows tonight is do or die, no doubt. If the Gaels want to dance and one of the nation’s most unheralded superstars in AJ English want their One Shining Moment, it better begin tonight.
The Gales enter winners of nine of their last ten and having covered in eight of them. They are just 15-15 ATS on the season, but over the last ten games they have come together as a team and are playing excellent basketball. They are 11-1 over their last twelve games and have won nine of them by double-digits, including their road win at Monmouth. They are simply steamrolling people right now, and I think Monmouth is in some real danger tonight.
It’s no secret that Monmouth’s elaborately celebratory bench garners the most attention and has rankled many opponent’s coaches throughout the season. But it is going to be their main guys on the floor who will have to get it done tonight. They are led by tiny sparkplug, Justin Robinson, one of the best point guards in the country. He is the star of the show, and he will have to execute the offense and keep his emotional team in check today to get the win. I think he will play well, but Iona is just rolling right now.
Monmouth has been winning as well, but things have gotten a little tighter. They are 6-4 ATS in the last ten, but haven’t been putting away teams with the same absolution as the Gaels. I’ll take Iona tonight in a tight, thrilling contest (and hope Monmouth gets the at-large bid they deserve – the tournament is a better place with teams like them getting the nod over a Pitt or Tulsa…)
(This line isn’t posted everywhere yet – the EVEN is taken from BetOnline. Still haven’t seen a line on bovada or 5dimes….)