The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which will be down to nine members at the end of this academic year with Loyola (MD) making the move to the Patriot League, could join the expansion party themselves on Friday.
The remaining presidents are expected to vote on expansion candidates on Friday, with Mark Blaudschun reporting that Quinnipiac, Monmouth and Wagner are the schools likely to be approved for membership.
In the report there’s also the thought that the MAAC would look to move towards a “travel partner” system similar to what the Ivy League has in the event that they expand to 12 members.
The MAAC, which is expected to officially approve the move at a meeting of the conference Presidents on Friday wants to set up a system similar to the Ivy League in which each team will have a ‘travel partner” during the conference season.
With Loyola out of the league, the MAAC partner system would look like this: Monmouth and Rider, Fairfield and Quinnipiac, Manhattan and Iona, St. Peter’s and Wagner, Canisus and Niagara and Marist and Siena.
However nothing’s been decided by the MAAC and its presidents, hence the need for Friday’s vote as opposed to simply announcing the addition of new schools.
If the above scenario were to happen the Northeast Conference, of which Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Wagner are all members, would be down to nine schools and likely in the market for at least one more.
Could this round of movement eventually result in NJIT, which is currently a member of the Great West Conference (which lost another member as Chicago State joined the WAC), finally landing in a stable conference that makes geographical sense? That would have to be the hope in Newark at this point.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: