St. Peter’s at Canisius
2 p.m. Sunday at the Koessler Athletic Center
Radio: 1230 AM
Records: St. Peter’s 17-12, 13-6. Canisius 17-13, 10-9.
The Set-Up: Canisius better win if it wants to stay in fifth place and get a first-round bye in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. Canisius is tied with Fairfield (10-9), but the Griffs hold the tie-breaker edge over the Stags. However, Fairfield is at Niagara.
MAAC RACE (TOP 5 GET A BYE): Monmouth (17-2), St. Peter’s (13-6), Iona (12-7), Siena (11-8), Canisius (10-9), Fairfield (10-9), Rider (9-10), Quinnipiac (7-12), Niagara (6-13), Marist (5-14), Manhattan (5-15).
St. Peter’s Motivation: The second-place Peacocks are locked into No. 2 or No. 3. The only way STP falls to No. 3 is if it loses to Canisius and Iona upsets Monmouth. Is there any difference between 2 and 3? Not really. The 2 gets No. 7 in the quarterfinal. The 3 gets No. 6.
The Case for Canisius losing: Should Griff fans even want the fifth seed, since it would mean a quarterfinal meeting with Siena, in front of 7,000 hostile fans? The next game would be a semifinal against the heavy favorite, No. 1 seed Monmouth. Debatable. The sixth seed, even though it would require an extra game, might be a better road. No. 6 gets the last-place team in the pre-quarterfinal, then the No. 3, then the No. 2 in the semifinal (presuming a win).
The Case for Canisius winning: This entire discussion is overthinking it. Beat St. Peter’s, get a bye, then play Siena, which you’ve already beaten twice. Plus, this Canisius team likes hostile environments!
Style: St. Peter’s plays the third slowest tempo in the nation, according to the Pomeroy analytics. St. Peters is 349th out of 351 with an average of 61.6 possessions per game. The Peacocks make you play defense for much of the shot clock. Canisius is in the top 100 in tempo (92nd).
First meeting: Canisius won, 72-70, on Malik Johnson’s full-court drive and layup in the final seconds. Guard Trevis Wyche (No. 3) had 17 and guard Nick Griffin (No. 0) had 11 in the first meeting. The Griffs held leading scorer Quadir Welton (a 6-8 forward and No. 35) to two points.