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Sienafan said:
I agree the MAAC is looking better than it has the past few seasons. However it is clear that peer leagues like the CAA, Horizon, MAC, and WCC are passing the MAAC by. The MAAC members need to take steps to remain competitive. The budgets seem to be similar, yet these leagues are getting it done on the court in ways the MAAC is not. One area of concern has been inferior coaching, but with all the recent turnover, it appears that factor is being taken care of. Kudos to Canisius for having the cojones to actually fire a coach. I would have never expected that level of commitment from them. Another difference I see between the MAAC and the aforementioned leagues is recruiting. We all seem to recruit from the same well, but they appear to be getting more athletic and bigger players. Why is a team like ODU considerably larger than Manhattan up front? Why is Albany getting a 6'11, 250 lb. 3-star center next season and Siena couldn't find one? Enough with all the guards MAAC members, let's get some good big men!

Finally, there is the issue of facilities. Most of the teams in the aforementioned leagues play in excellent facilities, even the smaller private ones. I think the MAAC schools have to re-assess their commitment to athletic infrastructure. Currently only two MAAC schools play in modern facilites with all chairback seating and capaciites of more than 3,000. Kinda of hard to beat out some of these other schools for recruits when you show them they'll be playing in a carbon copy of their high school gym if they come to your school. Also, it is impossible to get a home game with a high-major, thus greatly reducing the chance for some good OOC wins.
I agree w/ most of what you said above...The difference between the majors and the mids is about 2 or 3 inches in height of the forwards...When Manhattan beat Oklahoma, they had some legit big guys in there (Marshall, Hoover)...Even when they beat Florida in '04, Holmes and Benton were good enough despite giving up size...Though they got lucky in terms of matchups there, whereas Iona this year got a brutal draw...This the same ODU team that nearly beat Michigan State last year in the 1st round, they have 3 legit big guys, none of them are from this country, so Blaine Taylor obviously did his homework and has been rewarded handsomely...If you can find a good one, like O'Bryant on Bradley, or Lewis on George Mason, or Miller of Wichita State, you can do some things...Can't answer the ? on the Albany incoming center, except to say in theory a 3 star center should dominate that conference...

As for the facilities, I don't think much of that will ever change...Basketball is huge in the smaller mid-west cities and they have the fan bases to support 10 k seat arenas...Most of the MAAC school show a desire to win (Iona locking up Ruland and Manhattan locking up Gonzo, etc...), it's just that Siena is really the only one (maybe Buffalo schools?) where an 8-12 k seat arena is financially feasible...There are enough people who are interested to fill it...The advantage that most of the MAAC schools have is they're close to big cities w/ big talent bases...
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