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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

ESNY’s Metro College Hoops Rankings after two weeks of play

We are two weeks into the college basketball season and we are starting to notice a few trends with the local teams. The big schools are telling us who they are and the MAAC struggled but seems to be finding its footing.

Let’s take a look at the power rankings for the “big three” and the MAAC, plus ESNY’s Metro Hoops Player of the Week honors.

Big Schools

  1. Seton Hall (3-1)
  2. St. John’s (3-1)
  3. Rutgers (3-2)

Well, none of the big dogs in the area are going undefeated this year — not that anyone expected them to do so. The Big East schools look solid thus far, but Rutgers is a much different story.

The Scarlet Knights have a loss to DePaul, a team that was picked to finish last in the Big East by the coaches and in ESNY’s season preview. However, the really bad loss came on Monday night against the Lafayette Leopards. The Patriot League team was entering the night winless in four games.

It’s time to push the panic button early in Piscataway.

Head north and you will find a program on the opposite end of the spectrum. Seton Hall entered the AP Top 25 Poll at No. 21 after beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. That eye-opening win came after two impressive wins to open the season.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, they couldn’t find more Big Ten magic, falling to Ohio State in a close game in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off. Still, Seton Hall is proving that they belong at the top.

St. John’s is off to a competitive start despite a road loss to Indiana, but they are going to have a hard time stacking up meaningful non-conference wins. They are beating the teams they should and looking good doing it. For those reasons, they are sitting at No. 2 here.

MAAC Rankings

  1. Iona (5-0)
  2. Monmouth (3-1)
  3. Manhattan (4-1)
  4. Saint Peter’s (0-2)
  5. Fairfield (2-2)
  6. Quinnipiac (3-1)
  7. Niagara (2-3)
  8. Marist (2-2)
  9. Rider (2-3)
  10. Siena (1-4)
  11. Canisius (1-4)

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, Iona without end. The Gaels are tough as nails and keep their top spot in our MAAC Rankings. Outside of Manhattan beating DIII Manhattanville, Iona was the only MAAC team to win on opening night.

Monmouth looks like the real deal with George Papas and Shavar Reynolds dominating opposing backcourts.

Manhattan won the Battle of the Bronx with Fordham and most recently beat Liberty handily. The Jaspers are playing as well as anyone in the conference not named Iona.

Saint Peter’s is the only winless school left in the MAAC, but a COVID postponement and two tough opponents are the reasons for that. We aren’t giving up on the Peacocks.

Niagara hung tough in games against Ohio State and Xavier, which seems like a good sign for Greg Paulus’ team.

Siena is the most disappointing team in the MAAC so far, but maybe a Monday night win over Harvard will be the kickstart they need.

Metro Player of the Week: George Papas, G,  Monmouth

The former walk-on is taking advantage of his COVID senior season, averaging 19.8 points per game on 50/52/85 shooting splits. It’s no secret that Monmouth head coach King Rice trusts Papas as much as anyone. The senior is averaging 38.3 minutes per game.

Papas scored 31 in a win over Lehigh and no one has been as instrumental in Monmouth’s success as him. The Hawks are going to put up a ton of points with him and Reynolds in the backcourt.

Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden and Bryce Aiken deserve honorable mentions for helping Seton Hall take down Michigan.