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Don’t look now, but the Mount is playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. Can they defend Emmitsburg as first place Iona comes to town and pull off the upset? College Basketball betting expert Krabs breaks it down.
ANALYSIS

Mount St. Mary's vs. Iona Prediction: Can the Mountaineers Pull Off a Monumental Upset?

Rick Pitino coaches the best team in the MAAC… for now. There have been plenty of rumors going around in recent weeks about the coaching legend’s future at Iona. Will Pitino continue his coaching comeback at the school that gave him a second chance, or will he advance to a better program? There will be plenty of coaching vacancies this offseason, and many believe this is his last run in the MAAC. The guys in that locker room can’t be happy with the news of their legendary coach potentially leaving. If there’s one thing I know about college sports, it’s that distractions matter. If these kids aren’t laser-focused on the task at hand or aren’t 110% motivated, it doesn’t matter how good your team is; you will lose.

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If I was Nelly Junior Joseph, the star forward on Iona, I don’t know how focused I would be for a game against MAAC basement dweller Mount St. Mary’s tonight. I’d probably be more worried about where my coach will end up, and whether I am going with him. Iowa has already struggled this season playing down to competition. The Mount has a great opportunity tonight to slay the distracted first-place Gaels and pull off the upset.

Mount St. Mary's vs. Iona Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Friday, February 24, 2023
  • Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+

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Mount St. Mary's vs. Iona Prediction

The Mount hasn’t been dominant in their inaugural MAAC season, but Jalen Benjamin has. MSM is known for bringing in small point guards and developing them into stars. We’ve seen Damian Chong Qui take advantage of his years at the Mount, then he transferred to PFW to run point in a better conference. Jalen Benjamin has been better than Chong Qui for the Mount. This kid can score the basketball in many different ways. He shoots almost 40% from three, but his best attribute is getting to the rim and finishing. Benjamin will be the best player on the court tonight. Dakota Leffew can shoot the lights out as well.

The Mount is the best three-point shooting team in the conference. They will have to find another way to win this game though, as Iona is elite at defending the three-ball. Senior transfer George Tinsley has stepped up his game in February and is probably the main component in the Mount’s newfound success. I couldn’t be more impressed with the work Malik Jefferson has done in the paint for the Mountaineers recently. The fifth-year senior has made his presence known, and will be a key defensive player for the Mount against a bigger Iona team.

Although Mount St. Mary’s recent success is a small sample size, I believe we are buying low at the right time with this team. Considering Iona dominated the first matchup in this series, the spread moving from 10.5 to 9.5 overnight was all I needed to see to lock in the Mount. This spread is short and the public is hammering Iona, but the line is moving in reverse. This line movement is a great sign for the Mountaineers as they welcome their toughest challenge of the season yet. This Mount program is built on effort, grit, and heart. You’ll see that tonight as they go punch for punch with MAAC heavyweight Iona and Rick Pitino.

Mount St. Mary's vs. Iona Prediction

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Article Author

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Krabs is a contrarian bettor who isn’t afraid to fade the public or go against the grain. His betting style not only produces winners but has changed the way many think about the sports betting process. You’ll find Krabs betting on anything from the NFL (at a 60% clip in 2022) to the KBO (8-1-1 in 2022). You won’t find many handicappers with more college basketball knowledge or insight than Krabs. A native of the “DMV,” you can find his work @Krabs_Bets on Twitter, or on Behind the Lines, his daily sports betting show on twitch.

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