The Other 26: Week 14

Posted by KDoyle on February 18th, 2011


Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor

Introduction

If you are a true fan of Mid-Major basketball, then this is the weekend for you. Many fans who find a whole lot of joy in watching teams from the smaller conferences compete, share the common gripe that there is not nearly enough coverage of these teams. Well, at no other point during the season will you see ESPN dedicate an entire Saturday of basketball almost exclusively to the best Mid-Major teams around the nation.

Playing against the same faces within a team’s conference can become monotonous, but the BracketBuster weekend enables 114 teams around the country a brief recess before the final stretch of the regular season and tournament time to play an opponent they would otherwise never play. Although many of these games will have little meaning in the grand scheme of things, there are a select few that have serious implications as several Mid-Major teams partaking in the BracketBuster weekend sit squarely on the bubble.

Brace yourself for a great day of college hoops on Saturday. With so many of the top Mid-Major teams in the country playing—George Mason, Utah State, St. Mary’s, Cleveland State, Old Dominion, Missouri State, and Wichita State—you can bet that at least one of these teams, if not more, will be wearing Cinderella’s slipper come March.

The Other 26 Rankings

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The Other 26: Week 13

Posted by KDoyle on February 11th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.

Introduction

In last week’s article I touched on the notion of parity and how great it is within the world of sports. After analyzing many of the Other 26 conferences this week, I could not help but notice how in several of the conference there is not one team that has distinguished themselves from the pack yet, and we are already nearing mid-February. In some cases, there are not even two or three teams that are running away with the league. Competitiveness or mediocrity? Well, does it really matter? All this means is that conference tournament week becomes that much more unpredictable and exciting. Here are a few of the conferences that are still completely wide open:

  • Atlantic 10: Four teams—Xavier, Duquesne, Temple, and Richmond—have records between 8-2 and 8-1.
  • CAA: Four teams—George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion, and Hofstra—have records between 12-2 and 10-4.
  • The A10 and CAA are both very similar as each have four teams in legitimate contention, and both appear to be two-bid leagues at the moment.
  • Conference USA: Six teams—UTEP, Southern Mississippi, UAB, Memphis, SMU, and Tulsa—have records between 6-2 and 7-3.
  • Horizon League: Five teams—Valparaiso, Cleveland State, Wright State, Butler, and Wisconsin Milwaukee—have records between 10-3 and 9-5.
  • MAC: Eight teams—Kent State, Buffalo, Miami (OH), Bowling Green, Akron, Ohio, Ball State, and Western Michigan—have records between 7-2 and 5-4.
  • Southern Conference: Four teams—Charleston, Furman, Wofford, and Chattanooga—have records between 11-2 and 10-3.
  • Southland Conference: Nine teams—Northwestern State, McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, UTSA, and Texas Arlington—have records between 7-3 and 5-4.

Very elaborate, I know. But, it is pretty remarkable the balance in the leagues. Of these seven conferences, there are a total of 40 teams who can still say they are capable and have a legit shot at winning their conference. What does this all mean? A great week of basketball during the conference tournaments, followed by more weeks of deliciousness during the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy.

The Other 26 Rankings

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The Other 26: Week 8

Posted by KDoyle on January 7th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.

Introduction

With the non-conference portion of many schedules coming to an end, it is time for schools that comprise some of the smaller Other 26 conferences to retreat to their small gyms and compete against teams on their own level. In a sense, for many of these smaller conference teams, the non-conference schedule is a mere preamble for league play. The leagues I am referring to—NEC, America East, MEAC, Patriot, etc.—are all destined for just one bid to the NCAA Tournament. In most years, there are usually about a dozen conferences that receive multiple bids, thus leaving 20 conferences with just the auto.

Being a keen fan, follower, and observer of Patriot League basketball, I have come to the unfortunate realization that this league—like many others—is destined for one bid to the Dance every year. What irks me more than anything, however, is when I hear the phrase: “Three games in March.” This expression may vary depending upon the league, but it is the one that is used when describing the Patriot League tournament. Because the PL is comprised of eight teams, in order to win the championship and attain the automatic bid a team must win those “three games in March.”

I do not necessarily disagree with this expression—it is the reality of the Patriot League and many other leagues alike—but it is very bothersome when this becomes a mentality for the fanbases of the teams. It becomes acceptable to lose a non-conference game or a regular season game within the league because these games “don’t matter.” Of course, this is not a universal belief, but it is something I have observed within Patriot League fan circles. I will always recall Herman Edwards’ press conference as the head coach of the New York Jets when he repeatedly said in a stern voice: “You play, to win, the GAME!” It is Herm’s mentality, not the “three games in March” business, that I am a fan of.

The Other 26 Rankings

Tidbits from the Rankings

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RTC Conference Primers: #27 – Northeast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 8th, 2010

Ray Floriani of NBE Basketball Report and College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Quinnipiac (15-3)
  2. Long Island University (13-5)
  3. Robert Morris (13-5)
  4. Central Connecticut State (11-7)
  5. St. Francis (NY) (11-7)
  6. St. Francis (PA) (9-9)
  7. Wagner (9-9)
  8. Mount St. Mary’s (7-11)
  9. Fairleigh Dickinson (7-11)
  10. Monmouth (6-12)
  11. Sacred Heart (4-14)
  12. Bryant (3-15)

All Conference Team

  • Ricky Cadell (G) – St. Francis (NY)
  • James Johnson (G) – Quinnipiac
  • Justin Rutty (C) – Quinnipiac
  • Mike Scott (G) – Fairleigh Dickinson
  • Karon Abraham (G) – Robert Morris

Sixth Man

  • Will Felder (F)St. Francis (PA)

Impact Newcomer

  • Tevin Baskin (F) – Quinnipiac

Karon Abraham and the Colonials nearly upset Villanova in March, but how does Robert Morris stack up this year? (northjersey.com)

What You Need To Know

  • The NEC is a 12-team conference. Bryant plays a full conference slate but is two years away from eligibility for the conference crown. The top eight teams in the conference qualify for the postseason tournament. In the tournament, each individual game is contested at the home court of the higher seed.
  • In the past, the conference tried to move the tournament to a neutral site.  Another format saw opening rounds at the higher seed’s home with the ‘final four’ at one school. Following those experiments. the conference decided several years back to revert to the original format.
  • For one, it gives an almost certainty of solid attendance and better media coverage (even if it is only local) through the playoffs. More importantly, special meaning is given to the regular season right up until the final day. No going through the motions on the final night on a long road trip. Teams are playing not just to qualify, but also to put themselves in a position to host as many games as possible. Given the nature of home court edge in the college game, that is a major factor.
  • As is the case in any mid-major conference, a school will build for a contending run of a year or two, then slowly slip back as they reload. In the NEC, it seems as though Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s were battling it out for honors for the past decade. Robert Morris will slip a bit but still is a team to watch. “The Mount” will most likely fall back, regroup and be the one in that ‘rebuilding’ cycle.
  • Players come and go, and there is quite a turnover on the sidelines. Four new mentors are on board. Glenn Briaca, a former assistant, takes over at St. Francis (NY). Danny Hurley is on board at Wagner. Mike Rice exited Moon Township and headed to Rutgers. Former assistant Andrew Toole takes over at Robert Morris. Finally, Robert Burke is on board at Mount St. Mary’s. Technicalities aside, there is a fifth ’new’ coach, Greg Vetrone, who spent last season as an interim at Fairleigh Dickinson and is now the full time head coach.

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NEC Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – ‘It is a marathon not a sprint,’ the coaches tell you. That analogy of the college season is very true. In the case of the Northeast Conference race, Robert Morris grabbed the early lead and led a good portion of the way. Quinnipiac was at the head of the second pack, trying to keep the pace setter in sight. The Colonials hit the wall about the 24 mile mark (maybe the 25.5 mile as Robert Morris held the lead from January 30 until the season’s final day) and were caught by Quinnipiac. Both teams tied for first but the Bobcats earned the top seed on a tiebreaker.  With the unbalanced schedule Quinnipiac and Robert Morris met once with the Bobcats taking the February 20 road decision. Both teams finished in a tie and that win gave Tom Moore’s team the top seed.

A look at the Quarterfinals

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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Robert Morris holds only a one-game lead over Quinnipiac after the win by the visiting team over the weekend. If Quinnipiac can win their final two and RMU loses one more game this upcoming week, the Bobcats would get the tiebreaker by virtue of the sole win between the two this year.

*note: standings prior to Saturday 2/20 games.

Co-Players of the week:

  • Kelly Biedler, F, Mount St. Mary’s – Averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in a pair of road victories. Shot 56% from the field and was 4 of 9 from three point range on the week. Had 14 boards and 3 blocks in the win at Monmouth.
  • James Johnson, G, Quinnipiac –  Averaged 20 points and 3 assists as Quinnipiac clinched its fifth straight NEC tournament berth. Scored a career-high 23 points in the win over LIU. Has started the first 56 games of his Quinnipiac career, second longest streak in the school’s Division I history.

Rookie of the Week:

  • Will Felder, F, St. Francis (PA) – Averaged 12.5 points,7.5 rebounds and shot 53% from the floor in two Red Flash victories. Hit a key three pointer and grabbed a crucial rebound in the stretch of the two point victory at CCSU.

MILESTONES and NOTES:

  • Joe Seymore became the 31st player in Central Connecticut history to score 1,000 career points.
  • Justin Rutty of Quinnipiac and LIU’s Kyle Johnson also hit their 1000th point. Membership in the NEC’s all-time 1000 point club is now at 164. The league began operations back in 1981.
  • League history was also impacted recently. On January 17, 1987, Robert Morris held St. Francis (NY) to 34 points. That record stood until very recently. And it was matched twice. Last week St. Francis (PA) defeated Bryant 60-34. Ironically that came a week after CCSU also defeated Bryant by that same score.
  • Dave Calloway is now the winningest Monmouth coach in NEC play. Calloway has 122 victories . Calloway surpassed his former college coach Wayne Szoke to grab the top spot.
  • Junior guard Shemick Thompson recently moved into seventh place in CCSU’s all time list of assist leaders.
  • Sacred Heart senior guard Ryan Litke is now  on the top ten NEC list for career three point field goals made. Litke has 262 trifectas… and counting.
  • Much has been written and chronicled here regarding Jeremy Goode’s move up the assist and scoring ladder. The Mount St. Mary’s senior sensation recently cracked another top ten list. Goode is now number nine on the all time steals chart and has a chance to move up a few more notches.
  • Robert Morris is now second in most overall wins over a five-year span. The Colonials have 100 wins from 2005-10 (and one assumes they aren’t done yet). The leader is FDU with 102 wins from 1984-89.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Went 0-2 for the week. Bulldogs threw a scare into league leader Robert Morris. Bryant led by five with just over 12 minutes remaining but could not hold on. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev led the way for Bryant with a 15-point effort. Shooting 45% from the floor Bryant  went into the half tied with Robert Morris but the shooting percentage fell the second half as the Colonials earned the 52-42 victory.
  • Central Connecticut – Dropped a pair at home losing to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior guard Joe Seymore, the only starter to reach double figures, scored 11 against St. Francis. CCSU had been 6-2 at home and won four straight prior to the two losses. Blue Devils are 2-10 on the road but both wins were in NEC action. CCSU continues to lead the NEC I scoring defense allowing 63.9 PPG. They will need it with the next two games on the road.
  • FDU – Went 1-2 on the week. The Knights lost an out of conference game to Longwood before defeating Wagner and losing to Mount St.Mary’s. Four FDU players averaged double-figures last week. Senior guard Sean Baptiste averaged 22.3 PPG for the week to pace FDU. Mike Scott had 22 assists on the week. The Longwood game was FDU’s first loss when they outshot their opposition. The 83-81 loss was also the Knight’s first when they eclipsed the 80-point mark.
  • LIU – Defeated Sacred Heart and lost to Quinnipiac. Kyle Johnson, a junior guard, had his fifth twenty point outing of the year with a career high 26 points at Sacred Heart. LIU had a season low 6 turnovers against Sacred Heart. LIU also canned 10 straight free throws down the stretch to ice the win. The 80-72 loss to Quinnipiac was typically tough as 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series have been decided by fewer than 10 points. LIU out rebounded Quinnipiac, a tough team under the glass,  39-38.
  • Monmouth – Split home games losing to Mount St. Mary’s and defeating Wagner. Monmouth already surpassed its overall (8) and NEC (6) win total from last year. Travis Taylor returned to the lineup after a seven-game team suspension with a 30 point, 8 rebound effort against Wagner. Hawks were 26 of 31 from the line in that meeting as well. Freshman forward Ed Waite had a notable week averaging 10 PPG and 6.5 RPG.
  • Mount St. Mary’s - Extended the win streak to six games with wins at Monmouth and FDU. The Mount seniors, Jeremy Goode, Kelly Biedler and Will Holland all had a significant hand in not just the two games last week, but the half dozen wins in recent weeks. During the recent surge, defense has been a key. Opponents are shooting 35% from the field and 23% beyond the arc. Mount has held five opponents during the six game streak to 56 points or less. Mountaineers have won 15 of last 16 NEC contests at home. A significant note as MSM closes with four straight at friendly Knott Arena.
  • Quinnipiac – Swept home games against St. Francis (NY) and LIU. Sophomore guard James Johnson had a big week for the Bobcats. Junior forward James Rutty continued his outstanding play a little closer to the basket. Rutty averaged 12.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG for the week. Rutty leads the NEC and is 15th nationally with 10.4 RPG. Quinnipiac was more than Johnson and Rutty as senior guards James Feldeine and Jeremy Baker and junior forward Jonathan Cruz all contributed.  Bobcats were outrebounded in the win over LIU 39-38 but it was the first time in 24 games an opponent beat them on the boards.
  • Robert Morris – Lost a nonconference meeting at Pitt then defeated Central Connecticut and Bryant. The conference wins clinched an NEC tournament berth and extended the conference win streak to eleven. The win over CCSU also guaranteed Robert Morris its fifth straight winning season. Freshman guard Karon Abraham and senior forward Rob Robinson had consistently note worth weeks for the Colonials. Abraham was 15 of 17 from the line the two games. Robert Morris has held nine straight NEC opponents to under 70 points.
  • Sacred Heart – Split home games losing to LIU and defeating St.Francis (NY). SHU has beaten the Terriers four straight and six of the last seven. Senior center Liam Potter posted his seventh double-double of the season with a 10 point, 10 rebound effort in the win. Potter also set the school’s Division I record with 17 rebounds in the loss to LIU. Sacred Heart leads the NEC and ranks sixth nationally with 9.2 three pointers a game. Seniors forward Corey Hassan and guard Ryan Litke are the Pioneers’ main threats beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Dropped decisions to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Terriers have now lost five of their last six and are descending in the NEC standings. Average margin in those losses has been 11.8 points per outing. St.Francis went a combined 7 of 40 (18%) from three point range last week. In the two losses last week St. Francis held first half leads before the hosts responded with significant runs of their own. In fact the first twenty minutes have been consistently unkind to the Terriers as they failed to score 30 points in the first half in 12 of their last 13 games.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Swept Bryant and CCSU. The road wins ended a 23-game losing streak away from home that included 17 straight NEC contests. Senior forward Devin Sweetney and freshman forward Will Felder had big weeks for the Red Flash. The victories were also the first back to back road wins since the 2003 season. The 60-34 win at Bryant marked the lowest point total allowed by St. Francis since 1974. Bryant shot 28% from the field in that meeting. Red Flash exceeded hits highest win total (8) of the previous four seasons with their two game sweep.
  • Wagner – Dropped road contests in the ’Garden State’ losing to FDU and Monmouth. Freshman guard Danny Mundweiler buried six treys for a career high 18 points at FDU.  Mundweiler then followed up with a 14 point effort at Monmouth. Top scorer Chris Martin missed the FDU game with a twisted ankle. In his absence sophomore guard Tyler Murray had a career high 17 point effort. Martin saw limited action in the loss at Monmouth.

On the Schedule

February 25

  • LIU- CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY)- Bryant
  • FDU – Sacred Heart

February 27

  • Robert Morris – Mount St. Mary’s
  • St. Francis (PA) – Wagner
  • Sacred Heart – Monmouth
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Coaches talk about separation. The ability to get stops, score on your end and open a lead on an opponent. In the NEC race Robert Morris is starting to gain that separation. The race is not over with Quinnipiac just a game behind,  but the Colonials, by virtue of a hot 9-1 January, are now on top of the NEC. Finishing in that spot would be a definite plus. The conference postseason tournament is at the higher seed’s home court throughout. Not having to leave ‘The Chuck’ (Charles Sewall Center) where Robert Morris is awfully tough to beat would be huge for Mike Rice’s club. Still, with three weeks remaining in NEC play, there is not enough time for Robert Morris to rest on its first place laurels.

Player of the Week: Devin Sweetney (SR), F, St. Francis (PA) – In a 2-0 week he averaged 25.5 PPG while collecting 8 rebounds an outing. Sweetney had 23 in the win over St. Francis (NY) and hit his third double-double of the season with a 28-point, 10-board effort in an overtime victory over LIU. Jones was instrumental in sparking a 12-2 Colonial second half run that turned the tide against the Blackbirds.

Rookie of the Week: Velton Jones (FR), G, Robert Morris – Jones became the third different Colonial in three weeks to earn this honor. Averaged 14.5 PPG while handing out 4 assists per game. Paced Robert Morris with a career high 21 points in the win over LIU.

Rivalry Week. The NEC Rivalry week called for a game February 4 and the two teams meeting at the other’s location two days later. Rivalries included FDU-Monmouth (Battle of New Jersey) , LIU-St. Francis (NY) (Battle of Brooklyn) and St. Francis (PA)- Robert Morris to name a few.

Codey Trophy. Two years ago Monmouth and FDU, recognizing their Garden State rivalry , instituted the Richard Codey Trophy. FDU won it the last two years. It goes to the school who has the best record in the head-to-head series for women’s and men’s games. In case of a tie, a total point aggregate settles the score. The trophy is named after the former Senate leader and twice acting New Jersey state governor who is an FDU (Class of ‘81) alum and has graced RTC in an article last year.

Milestones

  • Sacred Heart senior forward Corey Hassan became the sixth NEC player this year to hit the 1,000 point mark. Hassan also had ten three-pointers against Wagner which broke the school single game record of nine.
  • The Wagner-Sacred Heart matchup featured coaches with a combined 929 wins. Dave Bike of Sacred Heart has coached 32 seasons with 493 victories. Mike Deane of Wagner has 436 wins in 25 seasons. Make that 437 as the Seahawks edged Sacred Heart recently.
  • Jeremy Goode, a regular in this featured milestone category,  broke into the top ten in conference career steals. Goode, with 234 thefts, has a shot at the top five. Clear leader of the group is Robert Morris’ Chipper Harris ( 1981-84) with 382.  Goode is also fifth in NEC career assists at 560. Again, he could move up a few notches.  But the leader, Drafton Davis with 804, is quite safe. Davis played at Marist, an NEC school back then, in the early Eighties.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped home games to FDU and Monmouth last week. Senior captain Chris Birrell led the way averaging 13.5 PPG for the week. Shot selection? For the two games Birrell attempted 25 shots and 24 were from beyond the arc. A little closer to the basket, freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev averaged double figures for the week and sophomore center Papa Lo blocked two shots against Monmouth and is third in the NEC in blocked shots this season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Swept Monmouth and FDU last week to get back in the thick of things. Senior guard Joe Seymore sparked the Blue Devils hitting 17.5 PPG for the week. Junior guard Shemik Thompson scored 24 versus FDU. The visiting Knights were down 19 the first half and rallied to take a lead late in the game. Thompson took over scoring eight straight and got a steal as CCSU never looked back. Thompson buried four threes and was 8 of 11 from the line.
  • FDU – Defeated Bryant and lost at Central Connecticut. The Knights shot 56% the final half at Bryant and on the defensive end held the Bulldogs to 27% shooting. Senior guard Sean Baptiste led FDU with 21 points in the CCSU game. Baptiste is the leading scorer (14.7 PPG) for the Knights who have four players averaging double figures. Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continues his strong inside play and is closing in on 100 career blocked shots.
  • LIU- Dropped road games to Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA). Blackbirds put up some impressive numbers in those two close losses. They had a +13 rebounding edge over RMU and shot 26 of 33 (79%) from the charity stripe in the overtime loss at St. Francis (PA). The problem at Robert Morris was LIU’s season low 27% shooting from the floor. Senior guard Jaytornah Wisseh had his seventh 20-point outing during the week.
  • Monmouth – Split on the road losing to Central Connecticut while defeating Bryant. Sophomore guard Will Campbell and freshman forward Ed Waite excelled offensively for the Hawks. Campbell hit four treys in the second half in the Bryant contest. Campbell’s shooting helped the Hawks rally from an 11 point first half deficit. Junior forward Nick DelTufo had a big hand in the Bryant game as well with a career high 15 points.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – It’s been a rough go but the Mount swept the week with much needed wins over Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. The games were at home where the Mount has now won 13 of its last 14 against NEC opposition. Junior guard Jean Cajous averaged 12 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the week. Cajous was instrumental on the defensive end as both times out he drew the opposition’s best scorer and did an admirable job. Senior guard Jeremy Goode has been lauded for his scoring and playmaking, and he is alsothe conference pace setter in steals.
  • Quinnipiac – Defeated Wagner and lost to Mount St. Mary’s. The loss at the Mount snapped the Bobcats’ eight game win streak and leaves them a game out of first. Junior forward Justin Rutty had a pair of double-doubles, giving him 21 for his career. Rutty had a 15 rebound effort, to go along with 18 points in a losing effort at the Mount. Senior guard James Feldeine paced Quinnipiac with 21 points in the win at Wagner. The Bobcats have outrebounded the opposition in every one of their 21games to date.
  • Robert Morris – Swept LIU and St. Francis (NY) to gain sole possession of first place in the conference race. The Colonials have captured seven straight and finished 9-1 for the month of January. A rookie and veteran mix, freshman guard Karon Abraham had a big week while another guard, senior Mezie Nwigwe averaged 15 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the two games. During the seven-game win streak the Colonials have surrendered only 60 points per game. A closer look shows the opposition hitting just 35% from the floor during that time. Overall, Robert Morris has an outstanding 89.0 defensive efficiency in NEC action.
  • Sacred Heart –  Dropped road games at Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Senior forward Corey Hassan exploded for a 28.5 PPG scoring week. Hassan added 5.5 RPG and shot 59% from the field. He scored a career high 36 points in the Wagner game. The three-point shot has been a major part of the Pioneer arsenal. They rank fourth in the country with 9.3 three pointers per game and are fifth nationally with a 40% mark from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart’s 52.6 eFG% is second in the NEC.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Dropped road games to St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris. The Terriers had a four-game NEC win streak stopped with the 0-2 ‘Western’ swing. Sophomore guard Justin Newton is second in the conference assist/turnover ratio (1.88). Newton exited the Robert Morris game with a knee injury. In his absence junior guard Akeem Bennett will handle the point guard duties. Terriers have yet to hit 70 points this season and have an offensive efficiency of 90 (tied for second lowest) in NEC play.
  • St. Francis (PA) - Swept games over St. Francis (NY) and LIU (in overtime). That gives the Red Flash seven wins on the season and exceeds the six-win total of each of the past two years. Defense did the job against the Terriers as SFPA had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a huge 28 point, 10 rebound performance in the win over LIU. The win over LIU was only the third this season that the Red Flash pulled out when trailing at halftime. Junior guard Sorena Orandi hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to capture the 74-73 win over LIU.
  • Wagner – Split two games, losing to Quinnipiac and edging Sacred Heart. Sophomore guard Chris Martin hit a runner in the lane with six seconds left to give the Seahawks the victory over SHU. Martin leads Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play and leads the NEC with a 58% field goal percentage. The Seahawks have been hampered by a 26% TO RATE, the highest in the conference.  You don’t want to lead in this category.

Upcoming Games of Note

February 11

  • St. Francis (PA) at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at CCSU
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Monmouth
  • Wagner at FDU

February 13

  • Mount St. Mary’s at FDU
  • LIU at Quinnipiac
  • St. Francis (NY) at Sacred Heart
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 24th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – There is some separation between the haves and have nots,  but the group at the front is crowded. Robert Morris and Quinnipiac share the lead. Not far behind are LIU, Monmouth and a surprising St. Francis (NY). Sacred Heart is also right there only a stride behind the leaders.  There have been struggles in Emmitsburg but Mount St. Mary’s has to be watched and can’t be written off yet. Surprise on the other side is Central Connecticut. Howie Dickenman’s group is usually right in the mix. This season, to date, it’s been a rough go.

Tempo-Free. Included with the standings is a tempo-free breakdown: the average possessions per game and the efficiency margin. Thanks to Basketball State for the data and NEC games only are factored in the results.

Co-Players of the Week

  • James Feldeine (G), Quinnipiac – Averaged 18.3 PPG scoring on 60% shooting from the floor, including 8 of 13  (62%) from three point range. Highlight was a 24-point effort in a win over Bryant where Feldeine was 8 of 14 from the field.
  • Travis Taylor (F), Monmouth – Posted back to back twenty point efforts as the Hawks earned a split for two road games. Averaged 56% from the floor over the two contests. In a loss at Robert Morris, Taylor scored a team best 22 points while grabbing 12 boards in a 40-minute effort.

Rookie of the Week

  • Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris – Averaged 20.5 PPG and 2.5 APG as the Colonials scored a pair of home victories. Scored all of his team high 20 points in the second half of an 80-73 decision over FDU.

Notable

  • Robert Morris continues its success under the guidance of Mike Rice. In his third season at Robert Morris, the Colonials are an outstanding 36-6 in conference play. The Colonials won back to back regular season titles in ‘08 and ‘09. Currently the Colonials are 6-1 in conference play with 15 straight home wins over NEC competition at their Sewall Center.
  • The NEC TV package resumes this weekend with the women’s and men’s doubleheader, Robert Morris at Monmouth. The conference has a 21-game package that concludes in march with the conference men’s and women’s championship games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively.

Milestones

  • Jeremy Goode broke the all-time record for assists at Mount St. Mary’s. Goode now has 544 assists and passed Gregory Harris who had 529 during his Mount career (1996-00).
  • With 1,532 points, Goode is also one of seven NEC players to reach 1,500 points and 500 assists.
  • Dave Calloway has 165 career wins at Monmouth. He is four wins shy of passing the coach who recruited Calloway and whom he replaced, Wayne Szoke.
  • Ryan Litke of Sacred Heart hit his 100th career point at Bryant. He is the 30th Pioneer to reach that mark, the seventh since Sacred Heart went Division I.
  • James Feldeine increased his career point total to 1,086. Good for 26th on Quinnipiac’s all time list.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped games to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart and are still searching for their first victory. Bryant outshot Sacred Heart 51% to 45% and it was the first time the Bulldogs shot over 50% from the floor for the game. Senior guard Adam Parzych scored a season high 16 points (including 5 treys) and seven assists against Sacred Heart. Rebounding leader for both outings was another guard, Michael Chroney.  In fact, Chroney leads the Bulldogs in rebounding on the season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Lost to Savannah State then split NEC contests against Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Loss to Savannah was CCSU’s first at home this season. Shooting woes plagued the Blue Devils (under 30%) against Quinnipiac. CCSU found the range shooting 49% from the field at Sacred Heart. Junior Shemik Thompson broke out of a slump with a career high 27 points and a season high eight assists. CCSU’s win over Sacred Heart was a complete effort as the Blue Devils outrebounded the Pioneers 41-34 and had 19 assists and 10 steals.
  • FDU – Knights went 0-2 on their ’Western swing’ with losses to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continued his fine play averaging 17 PPG game for the week and shooting 44% from the field. FDU has four players averaging double figures in conference play. There may very well be another threat as junior forward Kamil Svrdlik, not one of the four alluded to,  posted thirteen points and nine rebounds in the St. Francis( PA) game.  Big week as FDU hosts Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA) for return rematches.
  • LIU – Split winning a fifth straight NEC game at Wagner before losing to Mount St. Mary’s also on the road. Blackbirds were on fire shooting 66% (10 of 15) from three point range at Wagner. Junior guard David Hicks led the way with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks at Wagner. Despite the loss, LIU committed a season-low seven turnovers. Sophomore guard Michael Culpo hit all three of his three point attempts at the Mount and is 14-21 in NEC play.
  • Monmouth –  Split road games defeating St. Francis (PA) before losing to Robert Morris. Hit just 10 of 19 free throws at SFPA but bounced back for an 18 of 20 mark from the charity stripe against Robert Morris. Travis Taylor had a noteworthy week and has hit double figures twenty straight games dating back to last season. Senior guard Whitney Coleman is now eighth on Monmouth’s all time three point (made) shooting list and seventh in steals.
  • Mount St. Mary’s –  Split a pair of home games losing to St. Francis (NY) and defeating LIU. Senior lead guard Jeremy Goode had a big week handing out 17 assists over the two games. Against LIU, Goode had 17 points and 10 assists and senior forward Kelly Biedler had 15 points and 11 rebounds. That was the first time since January 26, 2002, the Mount had two players earn double-doubles in the same game. The Mount also had a season high 86 points and 20 assists in the win over LIU.
  • Quinnipiac - Bobcats went 3-0 with wins over Brown and Central Connecticut and Bryant in conference. Balance was the key as five Bobcats averaged in double figures for the week. Senior James Feldeine set the pace averaging 18 PPG. Care of the ball was another factor as Quinnipiac committed a total 22 turnovers the three games with nine a single game high. For the three contests Quinnipiac had 47 assists against the 22 turnovers , a 2.14 assist/turnover rate. Justin Rutty, the NEC leader with 10.4 RPG, continued his fine inside play for the Bobcats.
  • Robert Morris – Swept FDU and Monmouth last weekend to extend their conference win streak to 15 games at their Sewall Center. Have a crucial road trip this weekend as they visit those same two schools. Accurate shooting a big factor as the Colonials connected on 56% from the field last week. Freshman guard Karon Abraham continued to excel while senior forward Rob Robinson had a strong week. Colonials have now hit double figures in the win column nine consecutive seasons.
  • Sacred Heart – Defeated Bryant and lost to Central Connecticut. Sacred Heart saw an 18-point lead cut to five against Bryant. Junior guard Jerrell Thompson then canned a trey with just under two minutes to play to give the Pioneers breathing room en route to the win. Thompson had a career high 13 points that game and was 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.  Loss to CCSU snapped a four game win streak against the Blue Devils.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Went a perfect 3-0 with victories over Columbia, Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Junior guard Ricky Cadell averaged 19.7 PPG during the week. Cadell had help as another junior guard, Akeem Bennett averaged 15.0 PPG while adding 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the week. Terriers have won four of five and interestingly enough, have yet to score 70 points this season. Defense is the key as they limited opponents to 57.6 PPG during that five-game stretch and lead the NEC with a scoring defense mark of 65.0 PPG.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Lost at home to Monmouth and edged FDU. The win over FDU, also at home, snapped a three game losing streak for the Red Flash. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a career high 15 rebounds against Monmouth. In the FDU game freshman guard Umar Shannon drove the length of the floor and was fouled with a second remaining. Shannon sank both shots to give the Red Flash the victory. Upcoming this week are return games at both Monmouth and FDU.
  • Wagner – Dropped games to LIU and St. Francis (NY). Seahawks are now in the midst of an eight game tail spin. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Martin had 16 points in the St.Francis game. Completing the inside/outside combo is center Michael Orock. The Wagner senior leads the NEC with a 59% field goal percentage. Wagner trailed St. Francis by one with just under four minutes left. The Terriers then went on a 10-1 run to seal the verdict.

Upcoming games

January 28

  • LIU at Robert Morris
  • FDU at Bryant
  • Sacred Heart at Mount St. Mary’s

January 30

  • Quinnipiac at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Wagner at Sacred Heart

February 4

  • Robert Morris at St. Francis (PA)
  • LIU at St. Francis (NY)
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Conference play has began to heat up and a few points stand out. Mount St. Mary’s had a murderous non-league schedule. Maybe too murderous as an 0-3 start in NEC play was not expected in Emmitsburg. The Mount did get in the conference win column with a 69-65 victory at Sacred Heart on Saturday. Suddenly there is optimism at FDU as the Knights are 3-1 and the memory of a succession of pre-NEC defeats is now in the past.  Here are the standings through Sunday:

The regularly scheduled tempo free breakdown, with gratitude to Basketball State.  Conference games only.

News & Notes

Experience may not be necessary. Newcomers are making their presence known in the NEC. Currently four statistical categories are paced by new faces.

  • Karon Abraham of Robert Morris leads in free throw percentage at .886.
  • Akeem Bennett of St. Francis (NY) is first with 2.3 steals per game.
  • Umar Shannon of St. Francis (PA) sets the pace with .488 three point shooting.
  • St.Francis( PA)’s Chris Johnson has a 2.41:1 assist/turnover ratio to set the standard in that category.
  • Bennett is a junior, the remaining three players are freshmen.
  • Quinnipiac’s Justin Rutty and his board prowess has been documented a number of times. Rutty is not the only Bobcat to hit the glass with a vengeance. Quinnipiac has yet to be outrebounded this season and enjoys a +10.7 overall edge over opponents in rebounding this campaign.

Player of the Week. Liam Potter (C), Sacred Heart - Potter averaged 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during a 3-1 stretch for the Pioneers. Potter also had three double-doubles during that run.

Rookie of the Week. Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris - Averaged 18.7 points and 4.0 rebounds during a 2-1 holiday week for the Colonials. Abraham shot 61% (11 of 18) from three-point range.

Milestones

  • Senior guard Ryan Litke reached the top of Sacred Heart’s all time three-point shooting chart on December 30th. Litke broke Darrin Robinson’s record of 219 treys.
  • St.Francisv(NY) junior guard Ricky Cadell hit the 100th three-pointer in his career against Lafayette.
  • Cecil Gresham of Bryant made his 100oth career point against St. John’s.
  • Alvin Mofunanya has 80 blocks for FDU and is in the school’s top ten all-time list. The 6’8 senior is only in his second year playing for the Knights.
  • Monmouth senior Whitney Coleman has over 1,000 points and is ready to move into #15 on the school’s all-time scoring list.
  • Jeremy Goode is third all-time at Mount St. Mary’s with 210 steals.
  • Kelly Biedler became the second player in Mount St. Mary’s history to post 800 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals and 80 blocks. Alex Watson was the first in the early 90s.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant - A 66-50 loss to FDU dropped the Bulldogs to 0-15 on the season. Bryant had taken a 10-1 lead early at FDU but the Knights regrouped. Leading scorer Cecil Gresham (14.5 PPG ) is out for the season with an injury. Freshman guard Rapheal Jordan is the current scoring leader with 7.1 ppg and he was scoreless at FDU. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev has played well of late and he had 16 at FDU. The Bulldogs had a murderous non-league slate with the likes of Providence, St. John’s, Boston College, Indiana, Harvard and Cornell to name a few.
  • Central Connecticut – The Blue Devils earned a 2 OT win over UMBC just before the new year. The first meeting of 2010 saw CCSU fall 70-53 to Holy Cross in a game played at Mohegan Sun. CCSU is in a stretch that will see them play six games in 13 days. Sophomore guard Bobby Ptacek had a game high 23 in the win over UMBC and has emerged as a consistent scoring threat. The Blue Devils had five players in double figures in that UMBC contest (with 2 OTs they had the time to do it). The last time they had that many hit double figures was February of 2008.
  • FDU – Trailed Sacred Heart by 22 with 12 minutes left and rallied to post an 88-85 victory on January 2. The Knights followed up with a solid 66-50 victory over Bryant on Thursday and an 83-74 decision over CCSU on Saturday. Junior guard Mike Scott has been outstanding with 18 assists and zero turnovers for the Sacred Heart and Bryant games. The return to the lineup of 6-8 senior Alvin Mofunanya helped the inside game. John Galvin, a 6’8 junior, came off the bench to post 11 points against Bryant. Senior guard Sean Baptiste had a season-high 24 points against Sacred Heart and followed up with 18 in the win over Bryant.
  • LIU – Lost two (Chattanooga and Morgan State) at the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga just before the new year. Senior guard Kyle Johnson (15.5 PPG) was named to the all-tournament team. Johnson hit for a season-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Morgan State. Freshman guard Corey Wright earned his first starts at the tournament. Wright showed poise handing out seven assists and committing just three turnovers. ‘Pleasant under glass.’ LIU has yet to be outrebounded in a game since their first two meetings of the year.
  • Monmouth – Won both games over the break including a NEC clash just after the new year.  The Hawks defeated Quinnipiac 72-60 . Since getting the starting nod a few games ago, sophomore guard Will Campbell has given Dave Calloway’s club some instant offense. Campbell’s offensive exploits have complemented those of classmate Travis Taylor, a double-figure scorer in 16 straight games dating back to last season. The Hawks are in the midst of a five-game home stand in their new facility.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – They put four players in double figures and got in the NEC win column with a narrow victory at Sacred Heart The Mount had dropped non-league games to Boston University, Vermont and Siena before the Sacred Heart contest. The Siena game was a heartbreaker on the road where the Mount led by seven with just over 90 seconds to play. Siena scored the last seven points then pulled it out in overtime. The Vermont game saw the Mount go down with 2.5 seconds to play. The offense is beginning to come on as of late. Jeremy Goode is still having a great year at the point. The senior guard is getting steady help from senior forward Kelly Biedler, something that will be needed, and expected, in conference play.
  • Quinnipiac – Quinnipiac took a tour of the Ivy defeating Columbia and Dartmouth before dropping a conference game to Monmouth. Senior guard James Feldeine averaged 14 PPG during that stretch. Freshman guard Dave Johnson averaged a dozen points the last week and is a newcomer to watch. The Bobcats held Columbia to 26% second half shooting to come from behind in the 63-51 victory. Junior forward Justin Rutty, an inside force, recorded his fourth double-double of the season (10 pts and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes) against Dartmouth. Rutty is also getting help from Jamme Jackson, a freshman forward out of storied St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City (NJ).
  • Robert Morris - Took two out of three defeating Youngstown State and Ohio but losing to Kent State. The Ohio win improved Robert Morris to 18-1 under the direction of Mike Rice (third season). Freshman Karon Abraham was outstanding again. On the downside was the loss of senior guard Jimmy Langhurst who suffered a knee injury in practice the day after Christmas. Senior forward Rob Robinson and redshirt freshman Russell Johnson picked up the scoring slack as both players averaged double figures during that three game stretch.
  • Sacred Heart – Comebacks have been the trademark of the Pioneers this season. Thus far they have won four games where they trailed at intermission. They came from 16 down in the second half to defeat Stony Brook and trailed Holy Cross by eleven at the break before rallying to win. Ironically, Sacred Heart was victimized by a comeback in their January road loss at FDU. The 8-5 start for Sacred Heart is their best ever at the Division I level. Senior center Liam Potter recorded three straight double-doubles in late December.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Not an overly optimistic scenario with junior forward Alexander Harrington and senior forward Nigel Byam out for the season with injuries. The Terriers continue to hang in. They rallied from seventeen down the second half before falling short in a loss to Lafayette. St. Francis led Fairfield at the half before the Stags eventually pulled it out 65-58. A season-high 25 turnovers by St. Francis was the deciding factor against the Stags. Sophomore forward Stefan Perunicic hit a season high 23 points against Lafayette, including 6 of 12 beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Snapped a four-game losing streak with a 64-52 victory over Hartford. The Red Flash held Hartford to 16 first half points and shot 6 of 12 from three. St. Francis sealed the verdict by hitting 12 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes after the Hawks had closed the gap. Whom do you foul? St. Francis is now hitting 93% from the line (28-30) in the final three minutes of games with a ten or less point differential. Senior forward Devin Sweetney averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds in the two most recent games (loss to Duquesne and win over Hartford).
  • Wagner – Split the last two games at the Las Vegas Classic defeating Jackson State and losing to Chicago State. The Seahawks came back east and dropped tough games to Princeton and NJIT. The latter was their second loss to the Highlanders in their home and home series this season. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring (13.7 PPG) while senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play (10.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Mike Deane is also getting contributions from a pair of freshmen, guard Ryan Conrad and forward Josh Thompson.

Upcoming Games

January 9

  • CCSU at FDU

January 14

  • FDU at Robert Morris
  • LIU at Wagner
  • Monmouth at St. Francis (PA)
  • Quinnipiac at CCSU

January 16

  • Quinnipiac at Bryant
  • LIU at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Sacred Heart at CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY) at Wagner
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2009

checkinginon

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

NEC Standings

  1. Quinnipiac    (3-1)
  2. Mount St. Mary’s    (2-1)
  3. Sacred Heart      (2-2)
  4. LIU       (2-2)
  5. Monmouth      (1-3)
  6. St. Francis (PA)       (1-3)
  7. Robert Morris         (1-4)
  8. FDU     (1-4)
  9. Central Conn St.      (0-2)
  10. Wagner       (0-3)
  11. Bryant          (0-4)
  12. St. Francis (NY)      (0-4)

Choice Hotels NEC Co-Players of the Week

  • Jeremy Goode (G), Mount St. Mary’s – Instrumental in victories over American and Loyola (MD). Goode averaged 20 PPG shooting ,55% from the field and 81.8% from the line.
  • Justin Rutty (F), Quinnipiac – Had a double-double week averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. In a win over Yale, Rutty cleared the offensive boards  with 10 caroms. Rutty is eighth in NEC scoring (15.7 PPG) and 2nd in field goal percentage (66%).

Choice Hotels  NEC Rookie of the Week. Kenny Onyechi (F), LIU – Averaged double figure scoring highlighted by a career high 13 points in a win over Navy. Onyechi has started every game for the Blackbirds and leads the conference in FG Pct (68.8%).

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NEC Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences. 

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The postseason brackets are set and the Northeast Conference tournament tips off tonight. The schedule:

Thursday

  • Quinnipiac at LIU
  • Central Connecticut  at Sacred Heart
  • St.Francis (NY) at Robert Morris
  • Wagner at Mount St. Mary’s

**Semifinals are Sunday at the home court of the higher seed and the finals are next Wednesday, 8:00 on ESPN2. Again at the home court of the highest remaining seed (see below bracket).

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Checking in on the… NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The Northeast Conference season is in the home stretch. The top eight teams qualify for the post season. Each round is held at the home court of the higher seed. The tempo free breakdown as of Friday February 20.

Note : EM is efficiency margin or the difference between offensive and defensive points per possession. 

nec-022009

* The order is by standings which hold true to form in relation to efficiency margin. The lone exception in the EM pecking order is Quinnipiac who is discussed below.

** The average pace of NEC games is 68 possessions. Around mid-pack so to speak. Not NASCAR (mid seventies) and not pedestrian either. 

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