st. john's julian champagnie
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

ESNY’s preseason rankings for the big schools in the Metro area and the MAAC

Last year, our local college rankings included a bunch of different schools and they were a mixed bag between the bigger schools in the area and the mid-majors. We are simplifying this year with Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Rutgers in their own group entirely. After that, we are rolling with the MAAC, the mid-major of the New York/New Jersey metro area.

College basketball tips off on Tuesday night and local hoops fans will have a full slate of games to watch. Let’s take a look at our 2021-22 preseason rankings.

Big Schools

  1. St. John’s
  2. Rutgers
  3. Seton Hall

There isn’t much separation between the three “Big Schools” in the Metro. Seton Hall will play Rutgers once and St. John’s at least twice.

Julian Champagnie is the best player in the area and that gives the Johnnies a slight edge over the other two. Posh Alexander is another player to watch in Queens after he took home Freshman of the Year and co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big East.

Even though Rutgers lost important contributors, they are bringing back two experienced upperclassmen in Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden needs to prove he can run it back after his breakout junior season.

MAAC Rankings

  1. Iona
  2. Monmouth
  3. Saint Peter’s
  4. Fairfield
  5. Siena
  6. Manhattan
  7. Niagara
  8. Quinnipiac
  9. Rider
  10. Marist
  11. Canisius

These rankings are ripped straight from ESNY’s MAAC Season Preview. Iona is the top dog with Pitino in charge. It sounds like the Gaels are a little banged up entering the season, but they will tip-off against Appalachian State on Tuesday all the same.

Anyone who knows the MAAC knows that trying to rank these teams can be a tall task. We might know more after a few non-conference games for all these teams. One thing we can say for sure is that the MAAC is going to be super competitive this year — even Iona will need to keep its head on a swivel.

Must-See Games This Week

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Saint Peter’s vs. VCU — 6 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Appalachian State — 7
Quinnipiac @ No. 21 Maryland — 7
Siena @ No. 23 St. Bonaventure — 7
St. John’s vs. Mississippi Valley State — 7:45

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Seton Hall vs. Fairleigh Dickinson — 7
Rutgers vs. Lehigh — 7

Friday, Nov. 12

Niagara @ No. 17 Ohio State — 7
Manhattan vs. Fordham — 7

Saturday, Nov. 13

Iona vs. Harvard — 1
St. John’s vs. Saint Peters — 4

Sunday, Nov. 14

Seton Hall vs. Yale — 12