MAAC Daddy Eckel makes his picks of the night: Iona vs St. Peter’s, and Siena vs Monmouth
Siena forward Elijah Hughes, a transfer from Notre Dame, speaks Wednesday night after scoring 24 points and snaring 10 rebounds in a 77-55 victory over Niagara at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The victory completed a 14-0 record at home and clinched at least a share of Siena's eighth Metro Atlantic Athletic Association title and first in a decade. John Kekis | Associated Press

MAAC Daddy Eckel makes his picks of the night: Iona vs St. Peter’s, and Siena vs Monmouth

Iona at St. Peter’s (-4), 7 p.m.

Siena at Monmouth (-1.5), 7 p.m.

The regular season title and top seeding for the tournament is on the line Friday night in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Siena (18-10, 14-5), which travels to Monmouth (18-12, 12-7) holds a one-game lead over St. Peter’s (16-12, 13-6), which hosts Iona (11-15, 9-10).

If Siena loses and St. Peter’s wins the two schools would finish tied for first, but the Peacocks would earn the top seed via tie-breaker.

Let’s look at the Iona/St. Peter’s game first.

Long-time MAAC followers would find it hard to believe that St. Peter’s would be a four-point favorite over Iona even in Jersey City. The Gaels have long been the dominant team in the conference, while the Peacocks have had their moments, but for the most part have resided in the second tier of the league.

That hasn't been the case this season.

Iona is not the Gaels of the past. Losers of two straight and three of the last five, Iona is a sub .500 team for a reason its 8-16-2 record against the spread belabors the point of his disappointing this season has been.

St. Peter’s, the league surprise under had coach Shaheen Holloway, who should be a lock for Coach of the Year, has won six of its last seven, seven straight at home and has covered in its last six home games.

Siena at Monmouth is another interesting matchup Friday night.

The Saints are the hottest team in the league with eight straight wins and own a 75-72 win over the Hawks in Albany. Winless on the road until Jan. 31 when they won at Iona, Siena is 4-1 in its last five road games.

Monmouth has won four of its last five games and is 11-1 at home this season, 8-1 at home in MAAC play. This is a game, as the line reflects, that could go either way.

The Picks: Both games are tough. We’re going with both Jersey favorites to win and cover, which means St. Peter’s finishes a storybook regular season as MAAC champs.

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