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MAAC Tournament Championship preview for No. 9 Iona vs. No. 7 Fairfield

Iona and Fairfield face off in the 2021 MAAC Championship game. We break down everything for watching the game, including the start time, TV schedule, odds, picks, and more.

Iona Gaels head coach Rick Pitino points during the second half against the Seton Hall Pirates at Prudential Center. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Update: As of 11:15 a.m., here are the updated bet splits for the MAAC Championship Game:

Iona: -8, 70% of action, 60% of bets
Fairfield: -2, 30% of action, 40% of bets

The MAAC regular season didn’t mean a whole lot as we have the No. 9 seed Iona Gaels taking on the seventh-seeded Fairfield Stags for the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Rick Pitino-led Iona beat No. 5 seed Niagara on Friday in the semifinal round 70-64 to advance to the championship. The Gaels got out to a big lead in the first half and held on for the win, led by Asante Gist’s 19 points. The reason the Gaels are so far down the table in terms of seeding is because of the MAAC using only total conference wins to set the bracket, and a team that was just 6-3 in the MAAC would higher up in a normal season.

Fairfield grinded out a 52-47 semifinal victory over No. 3 Saint Peter’s to advance. Caleb Green led Fairfield with 14 points, but the Stags’ defense was the difference; they held the Peacocks to 13-36 from the floor and forced 11 turnovers while committing just five.

Let’s take a look at all the action from the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.

No. 9 Iona vs. No. 7 Fairfield, 4 p.m., ESPNU

Point Spread: Iona -8
Point Total: 131.5

Rick Pitino is likely going to have a coaching advantage in every MAAC game he is a part of, so that’s crucial especially in a one-game scenario. Iona has consistently been better than oddsmakers project at 8-2-1 against the spread in their last 11 games. The Gaels rank significantly higher in KenPom as well as adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency than Fairfield. The spread is a little high, but we’re still going with Iona.

The pick: Iona -8

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