RTC Bracketology: February 22 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 22nd, 2013

bracketology

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is RTC’s new resident bracketologist. According to Bracket Matrix, he ranks as one of the top several bracketologists among those who have produced brackets for more than three years, including two seasons with perfect bracket projections. He updates the field daily on his site, Bracketology Expert, and will be producing a weekly bracket update here at RTC on Fridays. RTC Bubble Watch will publish on Sunday nights and Thursday afternoons for the rest of the season.

New in This Update:

  • Illinois continues to be the toughest team in the country to figure out. The media’s mock bracket came out last week and the Illini were a #5 seed. This team was once ranked in the nation’s top 15 teams and then it was 2-7 in conference with a game against No. 1 Indiana up next. The Illini won that one at the buzzer and four more games in a row to get to 7-7 in conference. Compare Illinois to the other teams around them in the bracket — they have five wins against the RPI top 26 and no longer have an under .500 conference record to bring them down. I agree with the media mock — Illinois is now a #5 seed.
  • After Florida’s loss earlier this week against Missouri, the #1 seed line is again hard to figure out. Indiana and Miami (FL) are easy to pick given their overall resumes and Duke fits in nicely despite struggling somewhat without Ryan Kelly. The fourth #1 seed could be any number of teams. It looks like Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have pegged Gonzaga as the final top seed, but I disagree. The Zags are going to have to rely on the eye test to get that high and in general most are decided by overall profile and not eye test. Gonzaga simply does not have the profile of a #1 seed.  Michigan State is the fourth top seed in my field based on the Spartans’ overall profile.
  • The Mountain West is a mess. It looks like four teams are going to get a bid, with UNLV and Colorado State playing fantastic basketball over the last few weeks. New Mexico has a top five RPI and San Diego State held the Lobos to 33 points in a game earlier this year.  Putting those teams into the bracket is pretty tough, because there is not a lot of separation between them.
  • Maryland was in my field after upsetting Duke, but the Terps are out again after falling to Boston College.  Temple is in after defeating La Salle. Indiana State has fallen out of serious at-large contention after a loss to Wichita State and six inexcusable losses on its resume.
  • Kentucky and Mississippi are making things interesting in the SEC. Both teams are among my last four teams in. Missouri’s win over Florida practically assures the conference of at least getting two teams in.
  • Minnesota and Cincinnati are sliding in my bracket, but I still think both teams are safe. The Gophers may not want to tempt fate, though. Tubby Smith’s team has been blown out in games against Iowa and Ohio State and is now two games under .500 in the Big Ten. Teams under .500 in conference play typically do not get in. Overall, 34 teams have gotten at-large bids over the last 43 years while being under .500 in conference play.

LAST FOUR IN: Colorado, Baylor, Saint Mary’s, Kentucky
FIRST FOUR OUT: Boise State, Alabama, Arizona State, Charlotte

NOTE: Projected conference champions (or auto bid winners) are in capital letters.

(full bracket after the jump)

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Morning Five: 08.19.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 19th, 2011

  1. It’s official.  USC point guard and best returning player Jio Fontan will miss the entire 2011-12 season with a torn ACL in his left knee suffered during an exhibition game in Brazil earlier this week.  Fontan was flown back to the US for an MRI, but word leaking out of the USC camp all week indicated that this was a rather concerning injury rather than a simple sprain.  Fontan was to be the Trojans’ only returning starter from a team that snuck into the NCAA Tournament as a member of the inaugural First Four, and as the captain and floor leader, he was going to be relied upon to shoulder much of the responsibility in leading a young team.  Head coach Kevin O’Neill will now have to hope that incoming freshman guard Alexis Moore, a three-star player from nearby Long Beach, will be up to the task.  The only possible silver lining Trojan fans can draw from this is that next year’s team will develop considerable experience on the fly so that when Fontan hopefully returns in 2012-13, USC will be in a much better position to make another run at the postseason.
  2. Duke’s next great freshman made his debut in China this week during the Blue Devils’ exhibition tour, and although he did not manage to get into a chair-throwing brawl, he had his ups and downs.  In two exhibitions against the Chinese junior national team, Austin Rivers had 18 points (8-15 FG) and five assists in a 77-64 victory Wednesday, followed by a 12-point (5-16 FG), seven-turnover performance in a 76-66 victory on Thursday.  Duke won both games despite a herculean effort on the part of the Chinese referees (yes, we may have discovered the one place in the world…) — in their two games, China shot 72 free throws to a Duke total of 25, nearly a 3:1 ratio (you may recall that Georgetown got a little perturbed by a similar officiating pattern in its game on Wednesday).  Notwithstanding the choppy play of Rivers, it has been Duke’s junior forward, Ryan Kelly, who has looked fantastic thus far.  Kelly has averaged 17/11 while shooting a scorching 75% from the floor in the two games.  Considering that China has significant size in its lineup and that the frontcourt represents Mike Krzyzewski’s greatest area of concern heading into next season, Kelly’s play is tremendous news for Duke fans worldwide.
  3. Villanova rising junior and team captain Isaiah Armwood announced on Thursday that he will be transferring out of the program.  Although he started in every game on VU’s recent exhibition trip to Europe and is considered a key “heart and soul” type of player, it didn’t appear that the minutes were going to be there for him in a crowded frontcourt next season.  The Wildcats return an improved Mouphtau Yarou and adds freshmen Markus Kennedy and JayVaughn Pinkston (back from suspension), so Armwood perhaps saw the writing on the wall in deciding to leave.  He will have two years of eligibility remaining and is reportedly looking at schools such as Maryland, George Washington, Iowa and Texas Tech.  Armwood hails from the Baltimore/DC corridor and has ties to former VU assistant coaches now at Iowa and TTU.
  4. Thursday the MAC announced that it would be changing its 2012 MAC Tournament format to give its two best teams byes to the conference tourney semifinals in the hopes that one of its best teams will ultimately win the league and represent itself well in the NCAA Tournament.  This mirrors what the Horizon League has done for the better part of a decade, and although there’s no Butler in the MAC, five of the last seven MAC Tournament champions were seeded #4 or worse coming into the postseason.  The new format will give the top two seeds a significantly greater chance of winning the coveted automatic bid, and presumably, a better chance to do some damage in the NCAAs (although #9 seed Ohio still says hello, Georgetown).  We’re on board with this idea in principle — whatever these smaller conferences can do to make the regular season more meaningful is a good thing from our view.
  5. The Lapchick Character Award is given annually to coaches who “have shown the characterand coaching ability of [St. John's and New York Knicks head coach] Hall of Famer Joe Lapchick.”  This year’s trio is no exception, and well known to students of the game: former Princeton legend Pete Carril, former Mt. St. Mary’s head coach Jim Phelan, and former Virginia women’s head coach Debbie Ryan.  The three will be honored at a ceremony on November 17 at Madison Square Garden during the 2kSports Classic (of which St. John’s is a participant).  They collectively won over 2,000 games — Phelan, 814; Ryan, 739; Carril, 514 — and never ran afoul of any ethical behavior over their many years of coaching.  A deserving honor to three tremendous coaches.
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Circle of March IV

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2011

It was a busy night Thursday, and that meant thirteen more eliminations from the national title race.  You can start to see a few holes in the below Circle of March, as Jacksonville, High Point, St. Francis (NY), St. Francis (PA), Mt. St. Mary’s, Wagner, UT-Martin, Illinois State, VMI, UMBC, Southeast Missouri State, Lipscomb and Drake are now all looking forward to next season.  With last night’s losses, there are now 289 teams still alive for the 2011 national championship.

Coming next: Huge Friday night of eliminations, with 21 games knocking out one team or another.

 

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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 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 December 25th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast Conference.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Action was a bit on the light side with exam week. The following week will see the end of non-conference action as conference play heats up in earnest following New Year‘s Day.

Standings

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

Turnover rate is the amount of turnovers divided by total possessions. A mark of 20% or higher is excessive. Stands to reason as a 20% TO rate team is watching one fifth, or more, of their possessions wasted. Expect these numbers to get better for two reasons. One, some of the out of conference opposition was tougher and in most cases away from home. Secondly, as the season progresses offenses improve and (should) run more efficiently.

NEC Notes

  • Mount St. Mary’s lead guard Jeremy Goode moved into 11th place on the NEC’s all-time assist ranking. Goode has 509 career assists and counting. Drafton Davis who played for Marist in the late 80s is the all time leader with 804. Goode incidentally is one of the candidates for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation’s top point guard.
  • Quinnipiac senior guard James Feldeine is approaching 1,000 points. Feldeine has 951 points and could hit the select circle by mid-January.
  • Sacred Heart senior guard Ryan Litke is also approaching 1,000 points. Litke has 904 but is a dangerous three-point shooter who can rack up points in a hurry.
  • Speaking of Sacred Heart, senior forward Corey Hassan’s middle name should be versatile. Hassan is second in conference rebounding with 8.7 boards per game, and he is also the NEC leader with 4.2 three pointers a game, a figure that places him second nationally. Since 2000, only four NEC players have finished in the conference top ten in rebounding and three point field goals.
  • The December 30th meeting with Vermont will be Mount St. Mary‘s first home game in 35 days.
  • Devin Sweetney has scored in double figures the last 30 games he has appeared in. The St.Francis( PA) senior forward has the longest streak among NEC active players. Immediately trailing Sweetney is Monmouth’s Travis Taylor with 14 and Sacred Heart’s Corey Hassan with a dozen.
  • The December 23rd loss to Iona left FDU 1-12. Despite the start, FDU interim coach Greg Vetrone is still hopeful. “We had a tough early schedule with a number of road games and injuries. Now the schedule favors us as our next three conference games are home. I really think we are getting better. One of the things we have to do however is cut down on turnovers.” A definite point (see the tempo free chart above).

Player of the Week.   Jaytornah Wisseh (G), LIU -Enjoyed a complete performance finishing with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Down the stretch he was the Blackbirds’ ‘go to’ guy and it was Wisseh’s fifth 20+ point performance on the season.

Rookie of the WeekUmar Shannon (G), St. Francis (PA) – Averaged a team best 15.0 PPG on the week. Shannon connected on 50% of his field goal attempts and hit 4-5 from three point range. Tallied a team high 16 points against Akron.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped a 72-46 decision at Boston College last week. Bryant is currently 0-11. Senior captain Cecil Gresham led the way against BC with 18 points. Gresham’s performance was especially pleasing since he marked the return to the lineup after missing three of the last four games.
  • Central Connecticut State. – Lone game of the week, a loss at Northwestern. Blue Devils lead in scoring defense (60.6 PPG). In addition, CCSU and St. Francis (PA) are the only conference teams shooting better than 70% from the charity stripe.
  • FDU - Dropped games to in state rival St. Peter’s 83-68 and Iona 82-60. It was only the third game for FDU this season. Mike Scott paced the Knights with 21 points. The junior guard wasn’t limited to point production as he handed out five assists. FDU missed 19 free throws against St. Peter’s and 12 in the Iona contest.
  • LIU - Came up short in their only game to Manhattan, 71-61. The loss was the first at home for the Blackbirds in five outings. Senior Jaytorah Wisseh posted a double-double, earning Player of the Week accolades.
  • Monmouth- In-state losses to Princeton and Rider for the Hawks. In his first start of the season sophomore guard Will Campbell tied his career high with 27 points in the loss to Rider. Sophomore forward Travis Taylor has posted double figure scoring in each of Monmouth’s dozen games this season. Taylor his 15 of 19 (79%) in the two games last week. Taylor is not just a scorer as he averages 8 rebounds per game, good for fourth in the NEC.
  • Mount St. Mary’s - The only game was a 66-48 setback at Pitt. The Mount has lost five straight after a 3-2 start. They did get good news with the return of two players and the addition of a third. Senior forward Will Holland is back after missing seven games with a knee injury. Redshirt freshman forward Jacolby Wells sat out the first semester due to academics and freshman forward Raven Barber was approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center and joined the team.
  • Quinnipiac – Bobcats have three players averaging double figures. Senior guard James Feldeine (19.7 PPG), junior forward Justin Rutty (16.8) and sophomore guard James Johnson (10.7). An inside force, Rutty also paces the NEC with 9.8 rebounds a game.
  • Robert Morris – Defeated Cleveland State then had a 13-game home win streak snapped with a loss to Appalachian State. The Colonials seem to get contributions from different individuals every night out. Against Cleveland State, junior guard Gary Wallace came off the bench to score 14 points. The bench, in fact, had more points (45) than the starters (33) against Cleveland State. Icy 26% shooting from the floor doomed Mike Rice’s club against Appalachian State.
  • Sacred Heart - Pioneers are one of two NEC teams averaging better than 70 points (74.8) per game. Credit field goal percentage of 45% as largely responsible. Senior forward Corey Hassan leads the NEC in scoring (23 PPG) and has been lethal beyond the arc hitting four treys a game.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Guarded optimism. Brian Nash has a few backcourt performers earning conference distinction. Junior Ricky Cadell is seventh (15.1 PPG) in NEC scoring while classmate Akeem Bennett is eighth (14.2 PPG). Sophomore Justin Newton ranks eighth in the conference handing out three assists per game.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Dropped games to Youngstown State and Akron. Red Flash were without standout Devin Sweetney who sat out for ‘personal reasons.’  Junior forward Cedric Latimer picked up the slack averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Freshman guard Umar Shannon earned Rookie of the Week honors. Contributions also came from the backcourt as freshman guard Anthony Ervia had 9 points and 6 boards against Youngstown and junior guard Serena Orandi has a season high 12 points in that same meeting with Youngstown,
  • Wagner – Dropped competitive outings to BYU and Nevada in the Las Vegas Classic. Junior guard Chris Martin and senior center Michael Orock played well. Mike Deane is getting contributions from freshman guard Ryan Conrad and classmate Josh Thompson. Conrad had a team high 14 points against BYU while the 6’4 Thompson is averaging 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds.

On the Schedule

December 29

  • St. Francis (NY) at Fairfield

December 30

  • Brown at Sacred Heart
  • Wagner at Princeton
  • Vermont at Mount St.Mary’s

January 2

  • Bryant at Cornell
  • Ohio at Robert Morris
  • Central Connecticut State vs. Holy Cross (at Mohegan Sun)
  • Sacred Heart at FDU
  • Hartford at St. Francis (PA)
  • Quinnipiac at Monmouth
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Siena
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 11th, 2009

checkinginon

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – The latest news in the Northeast Conference centers around the start of conference play.  As it is for most conferences, the bulk of the action is after New Year’s. But the NEC members get a few games in the books prior to January 1st.

Standings

nec standings 12.11.09

The tempo free breakdown, with gratitude to Basketball State.

nec off eff 12.11.09

Top Storylines

Player of the Week. Devin Sweetney (G/F), SR, St. Francis (PA) – Sweetney recorded a pair of double-doubles in a 2-0 week for St.Francis. The Red Flash posted victories over Wagner and pre-season favorite Mount St. Mary’s.

Rookie of the WeekJamal Olasewere (F), FR, LIU- The LIU frosh averaged 11.5 points, a team-high 8 rebounds and shot over 70% from the floor as the Blackbirds got off to a 2-0 start in conference play.

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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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2009-10 Conference Primers: #30 – NEC

Posted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2009

seasonpreview Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.   Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials..

Predicted Order of Finish:

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

 All Conference Team:

  • Jeremy Goode (G), 5’9 Sr., Mount St.Mary’s
  • Jaytonah Wisseh (G), 6’1 Sr., LIU
  • Rob Robinson (F), 6’8 Sr., Robert Morris
  • Ken Horton (F), 6’6 Jr., Central Connecticut
  • Justin Rutty (C/F), 6’7 Jr., Quinnipiac

6th Man of the Year. Julian Boyd (F), 6-1 So., LIU Newcomer of the Year. Mike Scott (G), 6-0 Jr., FDU

nec logo

What you need to know.

  • The Northeast Conference is composed of 12 members. Eleven compete for the championship as newest member Bryant will not be eligible for the NEC title or NCAA tournament appearances until 2013.
  • The NEC is primarily a guard/small forward conference. Solid big men ruling the blocks are rare. Interestingly one who went on to a nice career hailed from the NEC. Rik Smits of Marist owned the low post in the mid-80s before heading to David Stern’s league.
  • The NEC post season tournament is contested among the conference’s top eight finishers. Naturally, a good deal of scoreboard watching is in vogue past Valentine’s Day. In addition some non-qualifiers can still play the spoiler in their last regular season games so the conference schedule carries weight throughout the campaign.
  • The ’Battle of Brooklyn’ is waged every year. LIU and St. Francis (NY) square off for bragging rights. The two schools are about a mile apart in distance.
  • The dreaded ’Western swing’ has had an effect and separated contenders from pretenders. The Western swing is the trip to the two Western Pennsylvania schools, St.Francis (PA) and Robert Morris.

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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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