At the start of the season, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coaches predicted the basketball season would come down to the wire, and with about three weeks left in the regular season, it looks like they knew what they were talking about.

Technically, seven teams still have a shot at winning the regular-season title, though Fairfield (15-10, 7-6 MAAC) and Manhattan (8-15, 6-7) would probably have to win out and get some help to claim the crown.

Niagara sits in first place at 10-4 in the league, but hardly has breathing room with Canisius, Loyola and Iona all one game back.

"It's crazy," Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said after his team lost to Canisius last Saturday.

The Stags and Jaspers are scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Alumni Hall, and once that game is played, everyone in the MAAC will have four games to go.

Marist (7-18, 4-10), Siena (6-19, 4-10) and St. Peter's (8-16, 3-11) can't win the league, but can still move up in the standings.

The Red Foxes have won two straight, knocking off Iona in double overtime followed by beating defending tournament champion Loyola, and have Jay Bowie (head) back in the lineup.

Here's a look at the top seven in the MAAC going into the stretch run:

Niagara Purple Eagles

RECORD: 14-11, 10-4 MAAC

FINISHING SCHEDULE: at Marist, at Manhattan, Rider, Saint Peter's

WHAT'S GOING ON: Have dropped three straight in MAAC, with two coming at home. ... Need to get Antoine Mason (ankle) back in the lineup, or they won't win the conference. Mason not only is the second-leading scorer (18.9 ppg) in the MAAC, but he's clearly the Eagles' go-to guy this season. However, sophomore guard Juan'ya Green (16.5 ppg, 5.2 apg) sets the table and is the other half of the dangerous duo. Ameen Tanksley (11.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has become option No. 3.

OUTLOOK: Favorite to win (with Mason), but will finish at least in top three.

Loyola Greyhounds

RECORD: 17-9, 9-5

FINISHING SCHEDULE: Canisius, at Siena, at Iona, Manhattan

WHAT'S GOING ON: Defending champs have 1-2 punch in G Dylon Cormier (17.0 ppg) and F Erik Etherly (15.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) plus senior guard Robert Olson (12.5 ppg) can be dangerous. ... Strong defensive club with valuable veteran leaders who have won big games. Head coach Jimmy Patsos has matured into a solid leader in the past few years and has a title to show for it.

OUTLOOK: If they can close strong, would be worthy of top seed.

Canisius Golden Griffs

RECORD: 16-9, 9-5

FINISHING SCHEDULE: at Loyola, at Saint Peter's, Saint Peter's, Rider

WHAT'S GOING ON: Nobody has made a bigger impact on a program than transfer G Billy Baron (16.9 ppg, 5.4 apg) and his father, coach Jim Baron. The Griffs have a veteran supporting cast around Baron with guards Harold Washington (12.9 ppg) and Isaac Sosa (12.4 ppg) along with Chris Manhertz (8.8 rpg) inside. Griffs' weakness appears to be aggressive defenses with both Fairfield and Manhattan able to shut down their backcourt.

OUTLOOK: Favorable schedule, especially if Griffs can win at Loyola, could put them in top three.

Iona Gaels

RECORD: 15-10, 9-5

FINISHING SCHEDULE: at Manhattan, at Fairfield, Loyola, Siena

WHAT'S GOING ON: Nobody packs more offensive punch than the Gaels' backcourt of Momo Jones (22.0 ppg) and Sean Armand (18.0 ppg), who rank first and third in MAAC scoring. However, the Gaels have dropped three of four and seem to struggle when teams push them.

OUTLOOK: Fourth or fifth seed.

Rider Broncs

RECORD: 13-13, 8-6

FINISHING SCHEDULE: Saint Peter's, Marist, at Niagara, at Canisius

WHAT'S GOING ON: No knock on former coach Tommy Dempsey, but new leader Kevin Baggett seems more committed to play defense -- that might not be the case with his players just yet, though. Broncs have some talent with Anthony Myles (12.5 ppg), Jonathon Thompson (12.3 rpg) and Daniel Stewart (11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg), but not sure anyone fears them in the MAAC.

OUTLOOK: Won't win it, but should avoid play-in round.

Fairfield Stags

RECORD: 15-10, 7-6

FINISHING SCHEDULE: Manhattan, Siena, Iona, at Manhattan, at Marist

WHAT'S GOING ON: Hottest team in MAAC with five straight wins, but have only beaten Rider in upper half of the conference standings. ... Derek Needham (14.5 ppg) has been a proven commodity, but Stags need a reliable No. 2 option. F Maurice Barrow playing like he wants that job (15 points and 6.7 rebounds in last four games), but coach Sydney Johnson said Stags need senior guards Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade, who hurt his knee in last game against Saint Peter's, too. Defense might be best in the MAAC.

OUTLOOK: Could crack top 4 if they can beat Manhattan and Iona, but should avoid play-in round.

Manhattan Jaspers

RECORD: 8-15, 6-7

FINISHING SCHEDULE: at Fairfield, Iona, Niagara, Fairfield, at Loyola

WHAT'S GOING ON: Expected to challenge for league title, but lost star George Beamon and took a long time to recover. The Jaspers have won three out of four and are playing the kind of in-your-face defense that coach Steve Masiello loves to see. Their Achilles' heel might be scoring enough each night, but just like Fairfield, could shake up the standings the final few weeks.

OUTLOOK: A very dangerous No. 7 come tournament time.