Originally posted on Just Cover Blog  |  Last updated 3/5/12

 I took a look at the Colonial Championship Game earlier today. Also, Chris Vannini outlined what to expect in the WCC Finals later tonight between Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. Here’s a quick take on the MAAC finals tipping off in a matter of minutes. If you dont have two TVs going watching the four championship games tonight, then I dont know what to tell you, other than you are clearly not prepared for March.

MAAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, FAIRFIELD -3 VS LOYOLA MARYLAND

It’ss been an interesting MAAC sectional to say the least. Much like the Colonial Athletic Conference this season, the MAAC was a strong, 4-team race all winter. Unlike the CAA, chalkChalk is another name for the favorite team to win. has not held up once postseason play began. There’s been a significant upset in each of the last rounds. Third seed and 20-win Manhatten was upset by 14-17 Siena in the quarterfinals. Then, yesterday in the semifinals top-seeded Iona, which eventually won the regular season crown by two games, fell apart in the second half and were eliminated by Fairfield. That was too bad because I felt the Gaels were going to be a load in the first round next week in the NCAAs. Instead, their lack of defense and attention to detail, a longtime bugaboo, brought them down before even reaching the conference title game. We still have a pretty nice matchup tonight for the league’s one bid into the Dance between Loyola Maryland and Fairfield. Loyola went 13-5 this season in league with the Stags a game behind them at 12-6. Both teams came into this event, however, a bit on the down tick. The Greyhounds had lost three of five, while the Stags had dropped three of four. Both have rebounded to play good ball this weekend to get to this point. Spurred by their upset of Iona yesterday, its the Stags that are 3-point favorites this evening.

Expect a lot of turnovers in this game. Both defenses excell in causing miscues with turnover percentages on D both in the top-20 percent of all teams nationally. Both offenses love coughing up the pill. Fairfield turns it over on a whopping 23-percent of their possessions “good” for 311th in the nation. The Greyhounds are a little bit better, but not much, losing the ball on 20.9 percent possessions, 201st nationally. So if you can find a prop for total turnovers, go right ahead and book the Over.

Otherwise, I am taking Loyola Maryland and the points. I realize Fairfield plays great D, evidenced by their listing as the 34th team in the nation per KenPom’s defensive rankings. They sure can be a bear to get good looks against and make them from the inside. And, yes, that might not bode well for a Greyhound team that often doesnt shoot very straight. But Loyola plays pretty solid defense as well. Points wont come easy for the Stags. I like LM in this one because of two edges I feel they have. They’re dominant on the offensive glass and they know how to ring up points from the charity stripe. I expect the Greyhounds, who grab almost 40 percent of their misses to have a field day against a below average club on the glass in Fairfield thats just 194th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. The Hounds can throw 4-5 guys in the 6/7-6/8 height range at the Stags, who only have one guy of size on their team, the somewhat soft 7-footer Ryan Oleander. It might be hard for the Greyhounds to put up a great shooting night, but I expect them to dominate at 2nd chance points. The Hounds are also 34th nationally in free throw rate, while the Stags are the 227th ranked defense in free throw rate. Toss in the fact that on offense, they’re equally as dismal, ranked 276th, and you can see the Greyhounds having a major edge in scoring at the free throw line. With second chance points and work on the free throw, I expect the Hounds to be able to generate enough offense to get the win. The Stags have been the more careless team with the ball all season of the two, I see that continuing as well. Plus, they’re a little hamstrung with the Derek Needham injury. He’s one of their best scorers, but he’s out of this event with an injury. They’ve been able to overcome it so far, but look for that to bite them in their third game in as many days against the best defensive team they’ll have seen during this tournament. The Pick: Loyola Maryland +3

So, to sum, there are two Championship Games tipping off at the top of the hour, and we’re taking both 3-point underdogs: VCU and Loyola Maryland. In the nightcaps, we’re towards the Zags and probably passing on the Southern CG. I cant trust that WCU D up against the Davidson O. But, I also dont want to lay 12.5-points of chalkChalk is another name for the favorite team to win.. At least not yet. Let’s see how these early games go, alright.

Also: Enough of this half unit crap. We didnt win any of those anyway over the weekend. Oy. Both plays tonight are the full unit value. We’re kooky for March

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