The Canisius Golden Griffins could finish anywhere from second to seventh in the Metro Atlantic Atheltic Conferece as the league enters its final week of regular-season play.
The Griffs' final two games are at home - at 7 p.m. Friday against Fairfield and at 2 p.m. Sunday against St. Peter's. Niagara plays St. Peter's at 7 Friday and Fairfield at 2 Sunday.
Here's a breakdown of the Canisius and Niagara chances, depending on how deep into the tie-breaker weeds you want to get.
Canisius' Short Story
Go 2-0: The Griffs probably will get the No. 3 seed, maybe No. 2 if Niagara can upset St. Peter's.
Go 1-1: The Griffs probably - and probably is the operative word - get the No. 5 seed, a bye in the first round and a quarterfinal meeting with No. 4 Siena.
Go 0-2: There's a fair chance the Griffs would fall to the No. 7 seed and meet the No. 10 seed in the first round (the pre-quarterfinals).
Niagara stands ninth at 6-12. Odds are that's where the Purple Eagles finish, meaning a first-round game vs. No. 8. Quinnipiac (7-11) currently is eight, but Niagara lost twice to the Bobcats, whose next game is vs. last-place Marist. Not likely catching Quinnipiac. Manhattan (5-13) is 10th. Niagara also lost twice to Manhattan. Manhattan's last two are vs. Rider (8-10) and Iona (11-7).
Canisius' Long Story
The top seven in the MAAC and their remaining games:
1. Monmouth (15-2). @FFD, SIE, @ION.
2. St. Peter's (12-6). @NIA, @CAN
3. Iona (11-7). MAN, MON.
4. Siena (11-7). @MON, MAR.
5. Canisius (10-8). FFD, STP.
6. Fairfield (9-8). MON, @CAN, @NIA.
7. Rider (8-10). MAN, @QUI.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Canisius is 1-0 vs. St Peter's and Fairfield, 2-0 vs. Siena, 1-1 vs. Iona. So if Canisius wins its last two AND Niagara upsets St. Peter's AND form holds this week for Iona and Siena, there would be a four-way tie for second and Canisius would win the tie-breaker by virtue of a 5-1 head-to-head record. Bad case: Canisius loses twice, Rider wins twice. The Griffs and Rider split. But Rider's win over Monmouth would give it the edge in a two-way tie with Canisius.
WHAT CANISIUS WANTS: A top-five finish and a first-round bye is a good thing. Monmouth is the strong favorite, so avoiding Monmouth in the semifinals would be ideal. Monmouth's only losses are to St. Peter's and Rider. So a second- or third-place finish would be the dream scenario for the Griffs.
SIENA FACTOR: Siena has the home-court advantage with the tournament in Albany. The Saints have had an enigmatic season. They were picked for second. They are the only team in the nation with four senior starters who all are 1,000-point career scorers. They underachieved through a difficult non-conference season. They hit a low point with losses to Niagara and Canisius in WNY in early January. Presuming they lose at Monmouth and beat lowly Marist, they'll be No. 4 or No. 5. Are those four senior stars really going to end their careers with a quarterfinal loss in front of 7,000 home fans? That would be a bitter end for the Saints. For this reason, some in the MAAC think the Saints would best be avoided in the quarterfinals.