The Quinnipiac Bobcats are in second place in the MAAC, thanks to senior guard Savion Lewis becoming one of the best passers in all of NCAA Basketball.
With Rick Pitino out of the league and Iona rebuilding with its new roster, the MAAC has never been more wide-open at the top. It's created opportunities for a number of teams looking to contend. That includes Quinnipiac, a program that made its changes this offseason, with Tom Pecora taking over as head coach.
The Bobcats have had a great start to the 2023-24 season, currently 11-4 (3-1) to this point. 5th-year senior Matt Balanc is having his best year yet, leading the team with 18.7 ppg on 38% shooting from deep. Forwards Paul Otieno and Amarri Tice have been key contributors in the frontcourt, averaging at least 11.0 and 6.0 rpg each.
But a case can be made that the team MVP for Quinnipiac is Savion Lewis, the team's starting point guard. He's only averaging 8.9 ppg on 41% shooting but his impact has been with his passing, dishing out 7.9 apg. That's currently good for No. 1 in the entire country, just ahead of Minnesota's Elijah Hawkins (7.8 apg).
It's been a long journey to get to this point for the 6th-year playmaker. Before this year, Lewis played a total of 58 games in five years, dealing with a number of injuries, including a torn Achilles as a junior. But in his first full year, the veteran guard has been the perfect driver of the explosive offense.
Lewis has had 7+ assists in 11 games, including a program-record 17 in a win over Rider, a game in which the Bobcats trailed by double-digits throughout before coming back. A large portion of Balanc's 29 points and Otieno's 24 from that game came courtesy of a Lewis pass.
In an era where many guards are just scorers who brings the ball up the floor, Lewis is the rare pass-first floor general who makes his teammates better. That's why Quinnipiac is arguably the best offense in the MAAC and no lead is safe from them. Balanc might get most of the credit because of his scoring but if the Bobcats find a way to win the MAAC in March, it'll be due to Lewis setting everyone up.
The team has a chance to establish itself as a clear favorite in the conference, taking on Marist on the road Friday evening.