- Iona (11-3, 3-0 MAAC) takes on Fairfield (8-7, 2-2 MAAC) Tuesday, January 11th, at 2:00 pm ET in Connecticut
- The Gaels are coming off a 68-67 road loss against Saint Louis on Saturday, while the Stags fell to Siena 69-62 on the road Sunday
- See the current moneyline, point spread, and game total, plus predictions
The Iona Gaels (11-3, 3-0 MAAC) — who beat then-No. 10 Alabama 72-68 on Thanksgiving Day — aim to remain undefeated in conference play against the Fairfield Stags (8-7, 2-2 MAAC) Tuesday at Webster Bank Arena. Tip off is at 2:00 pm ET.
Iona enters the contest as favorites according to oddsmakers and KenPom predicts Gaels will win 72-68.
Iona vs Fairfield Odds
|Iona||TBD||-6 (-110)||O 138.5 (-110)|
|Fairfield||TBD||+6 (-110)||U 138.5 (-110)|
Odds as of January 10th, 2022 at DraftKings.
Rick Pitino’s team had its five-game win streak snapped by the Billikens over the weekend in the Gaels’ last non-league test of the regular season. The team’s leading scorer, senior guard Tyson Jolly, had 16 points in the one-point loss. Sophomore forward Quinn Slazinski added 15, while fellow sophomore Ryan Myers chipped in 10.
Meantime, Jay Young’s club lost its fourth straight in the seven-point defeat to the Saints. Senior guard Jesus Cruz had 14 points for the Stags. Sophomore forward Supreme Cook finished with a double-double, going for 14 and 11 while the team’s leading scorer, Taj Benning, added 13 and six.
Gael Force Schedule
Despite this weekend’s loss to Saint Louis, it’s fair to say Iona weathered its non-Metro Atlantic schedule exceedingly well. Not only did the Gaels knock off a top-10 team to become the first MAAC team to do so, two of their three losses were by single-digits. That includes Saturday’s nail-biter in the Gateway City.
— Saint Louis Men’s Basketball (@SaintLouisMBB) January 9, 2022
The game saw 11 tie scores and 11 lead changes, with Iona only slightly bettering Saint Louis from the field (35.5% – 34.5%). The Gaels only had nine turnovers (compared to the Billikens’ 19), but lost this game on boards. SLU outrebounded Iona 48-34. If they can outshoot the Stags and control the ball better than Fairfield, Coach Pitino will be satisfied.
This is a really good team at defending the perimeter (rating 13th in defensive 3-point field goal percentage) and scoring the ball (the Gaels have scored at least 80 points in half of their games). Three players — Jolly, Slazinski and Nelly Junior Joseph — average double-digits in points, while Junior Joseph pulls down a team-leading 8.4 rebounds a game.
Following a late fall run that saw the Stags win eight of nine games and five in a row in early December, Fairfield has come back to the MAAC pack a bit — dropping four in a row. That includes its latest defeat at Siena over the weekend.
— Siena Saints (@SienaSaints) January 10, 2022
Despite the loss, Young’s group is still proving the critics wrong. Fairfield was picked to finish sixth in the league, but is currently the third-best team in the MAAC per KenPom. The Stags don’t have any true stars, featuring only two players (Benning and Cook) scoring in double-figures. But this is a team that is fundamentally sound. The Stags are 51st in offensive turnover percentage and 42nd in offensive steal percentage.
The Stags feature a balanced roster that is going through a bit of an offensive funk of late, putting up 62 points or less in three straight games.
Iona is clearly the better team coming in, but can it win a true road game? The Gaels beat Marist 78-71 in its only true road victory of the season and just loss to an A-10 program at its place by one in Iona’s only other such outing. On the other side, Fairfield has not played well in its home arena recently — dropping three of its last four.
While six point seems relatively large (KenPom has Iona only winning by four), I’ll go with the big dogs of the MAAC.
Pick: Iona -6 (-110)