Jon Teitel: Why did you decide to go to Loyola?
The MAAC race should be quite exciting with Niagara, Rider, and Siena all legitimately pushing for the conference title. Expect all three to consistently appear in mid-major rankings.
A full slate in the MAAC on tap tonight, with a showdown for first place being the marquee event. A week after Fairfield went to Albany and failed to take down the defending chanmps, 3-0 Rider gets their shot at the Times Union Center in a rematch of last year's MAAC Tournament final. Of course two of the main characters in that chapter are gone (Rider's Jason Thompson and Siena's Tay Fisher) but both teams stand to be a factor in the title chase until the end of the regular season.
America East: Despite their loss at Binghamton on Monday night it was a good week for Stony Brook, who won games at Air Force and defending America East champ UMBC. Junior Muhammad El-Amin shared the conference Player of the Week award with New Hampshire's Alvin Abreu, and freshman Bryan Dougher was named America East Rookie of the Week. While El-Amin accounted for 19.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in the two wins, Dougher averaged 20.5 points per game.
The final days of 2008, for most of the teams in the area (save the Ivies and NJIT), mean a transition into full-time conference play. Some schools still have a game or two outside of conference play later in the season, but for the most part it's all about focusing on the direct way of getting to the NCAA Tournament. Big East play begins early this week, and despite a big win over FDU Seton Hall fans have to wonder what the opener at Syracuse will bring for a team that lacks bodies inside. St.
Before getting into the team and player of the week honors in the metropolitan area, it's time to acknowledge area players who picked up some praise in their respective leagues.
Atlantic 10: Fordham freshman guard Jio Fontan was named Rookie of the Week after two exemplary games for the Rams. Fontan averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists in the two games, which included a career-high twenty-two in a 69-66 loss to Fairfield.