Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 2nd, 2011

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

A Look Back

The last of the non-conference games are being contested. Just after the ball drops at Times Square, well a few days after, the Northeast Conference gets into high gear. Given some of the road games and arduous early season schedules it is often difficult to get a totally accurate read on a club. One certainty is Quinnipiac seems to be a step ahead of the competition at this point. In the course of the weeks ahead things can, and often do, change.

Power Rankings

1. Quinnipiac: (1-0, 9-2 overall) Defeated Rhode Island at home and Niagara on the road. Bobcats enjoy a healthy +9 efficiency margin. OE is 105 while the defensive efficiency is a tidy 96.  OREB percentage is a major asset for Quinnipiac. Their OREB percentage is an outstanding 44% while the opposition checks in at 29%. Bobcats have been under 100 OE only three times this season, two of those games resulted in close losses to Vermont and UMass.

Notable: Bobcats receive a boost when 6’6 freshman Trevor Baskin gains eligibility this week. Senior forward Justin Rutty is the NEC’s active scoring leader with 1,305 points.

2. St. Francis (NY): (2-0, 7-5 overall) Dropped games to Northwestern and Davidson at the MSG Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. Terriers have a good defensive efficiency of 98 and are forcing opponents into a 25% TO rate. Moreover, they recorded only an 81 OE in the 92-61 loss to Northwestern, their second lowest of the season.

Notable: Senior guard Ricky Cadell earned all-tournament honors at the MSG Holiday Festival. Cadell had a game-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Davidson.

3. Fairleigh Dickinson: (2-0, 3-7) Lost in state contests at Rutgers and St. Peter’s. The Knights enjoy a 2-0 conference record. However, there is a need for improvement on both ends of the floor. OE is 92, a 43% eFG and 22% TO rate are main reasons. On the defensive end, the DE mark is 105. The tough non-conference slate is part of the reason for these numbers. In the two NEC games, FDU’s efficiency numbers are 102 on offense and 93 on defense.

Notable: Senior guard Mike Scott tied a career high with 23 points against Rutgers. Scott went 11-11 from the line against Mike Rice’s team.

4. Wagner: (1-0, 5-7 overall) Dropped games with Princeton and at Texas A&M. OE is 92, but the main problem is the offensive boards. Seahawks’ OREB percentage is 20% while opponents dominate with a 36% showing in the same category. Against the Aggies, an 86-51 setback, Wagner posted a season-low 73 OE.

Notable: Naofall Folahan – The 6’11 freshman center, scored a career high 19 points and rejected seven shots in the loss to Princeton. Folahan captured NEC Rookie of the Week honors.

5. LIU: (1-1, 7-4 overall) Split two games, losing at Northwestern before heading home to defeat Army. Blackbirds’ ‘NASCAR’ pace of 75 possessions suits their personnel fine. OE is a gaudy 107. DE a fair mark of 99. LIU is shooting a 51eFG mark. The only area begging for improvement offensively is the 22% TO rate.

Notable: LIU had seven players in double figures against Army. Jason Brickman, a freshman guard, scored a career high 11 points while equaling his collegiate best of seven assists.

6. Robert Morris: (1-1, 4-8 overall) Mired in a three-game skid after dropping games on the road to Appalachian State and Arizona. Colonials continue to defend with a creditable 98 DE. Offense has sputtered. OE is 94 and in 11 games, the mark has been over 100 only twice. A 45% eFG mark on offense is a major setback.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore forward Russell Johnson hit for 26 points at Appalachian State. Johnson was 11-18 from the floor and 4-8 beyond the arc.

7. Central Connecticut: (1-1, 7-5 overall) Dropped a heartbreaker at Albany before defeating Niagara at home. Defense forced the Great Danes into a 33% TO rate and Niagara into 25% in the same category. On their own end, Central is committing turnovers at a 22% rate but showed only 16% in that win over Niagara. Offensive efficiency of 104 against Niagara, was the Blue Devils third best all season.

Notable: Ken Horton posted a 25 points and ten boards in the win against Niagara. It was Horton’s third 20-point game of the season.

8. Mount St. Mary’s: (1-1, 3-11 overall) Dropped a home game to American and road meetings with Northwestern and Vermont. Efficiency margin is a -11. OE is 92 but the defense is an above average 103. Mount is committing turnovers, 21 % TO rate and not forcing enough on defense as the opposition rate is 19%. Boards are a concern as well. The OREB percentage is 29% compared to opponents’ 39%.

Notable: Sophomore forward Raven Barber shot 9-10 in a loss to Albany. Barber scored 20 points and leads in the NEC with a 66% field goal percentage.

9. Monmouth: (0-1, 4-9) Dropped games to Rutgers and Rider. The Hawks’ offensive efficiency is 91 for the season, but against Rider (77) and Rutgers (85) came a pair of sub par offensive performances. Pace is still one of the most deliberate rates around, at 65 per game. A 46% eFG percentage and 23% TO rate are the main problems with the offense.

Notable: Senior swingman R.J. Rutlegde scored a team-best 17 points with a career high five treys in the loss to Rutgers.

10. Bryant: (0-1, 2-11) Dropped a tough one at Columbia before losing another road game at Boston College. Offensive efficiency is a season high 115 at BC. On the flip side, they gave up a season high efficiency of 139 to the Eagles. Turnovers were a big story in the 93-77 loss at BC. Bryant’s TO rate was 25% while the Eagles were at only 8%. Bulldogs enjoyed a 46% offensive rebounding percentage against BC, their best showing in that category to date.

Notable: Freshman guard Matt Lee scored a career high 15 points against Boston College in his first career start.

11. Sacred Heart: (0-2, 4-8 overall) Split road games winning at Yale and losing at Providence. Last three games the OE has been over 100. On the season the efficiency is 91,. A 45% eFG percentage and 24% TO rate are largely responsible. DE is a respectable 99. Pioneers are forcing opposing offenses into a 23% TO rate.

Notable: Shane Gibson – The 6’2 sophomore guard scored a career high 23 points while adding eight rebounds in the win over Yale. Gibson earned NEC Player of the Week honors. Gibson sank five treys in the win at Yale.

12. St. Francis (PA): (0-1, 2-10 overall) Dropped a close (61-57) one to Drexel but were routed at Cincinnati. The Red Flash have had four games over 100 OE, but on the season, they check in at a rather subpar 89.  A 25% TO rate is a glaring problem. Defensively, the 108 (only three opponents were held under 100 OE) surrendered needs improving as conference play unfolds.

Notable: Senior forward Mislaw Jukic tied a season high with 21 points in the loss to Lehigh.

A Look Ahead

January 2

  • Robert Morris at Ohio University
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Virginia Tech

January 3

  • UMass at Central Connecticut
  • Bryant at Monmouth
  • Wagner at Quinnipiac

January 6

  • Quinnipiac at Monmouth
  • St. Francis (PA) at Mount St. Mary’s
  • LIU at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at Wagner
  • St. Francis (NY) at Central Connecticut
  • Sacred Heart at FDU
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 10th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Close games and dramatic finishes are normally the order in the NEC. The first weekend of conference play provided just that and hinted that the conference race will be an interesting affair.  Quinnipiac rallied from four down in the final minute at home to defeat Mount St.Mary’s. Bobcat junior James Johnson scored eight points in the final minute, including the game winner just before the buzzer.  A few hours later, St. Francis (NY) came from four down to edge defending NEC champion Robert Morris in Brooklyn. Senior guard Akeem Bennett hit two free throws with four seconds left to put the Terriers on top. Bennett then raced down court and blocked a potential game winning three-point attempt to seal the verdict.

It is going to be that type of year….

1. St.Francis (NY): (4-3) (2-0) – The Terriers are off to a fast start in conference play, beating St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris before capping off the week with a non-conference conquest of Colgate. St. Francis plays at a moderate 65-possession pace, but their defense has managed to force opponents into a 27% TO rate. Overall defensive efficiency is at an impressive 95.

Notable: Akeem Bennett, the Co-Player of the Week in the NEC, averaged 24.6 points and 6.5 rebounds to earn the honors. A senior guard, Bennett was instrumental in conference wins over Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA).

2. Fairleigh Dickinson: (3-4) (2-0): The Knights proved their readiness for conference by toppling Bryant and Central Connecticut at home. They then went on the road, losing at Connecticut, an outcome to be expected. The offense has been the issue with an efficiency of 93 and eFG mark of 43%.

Notable : Junior forward Kamil Svdrlik earned Co-Player of the Week honors averaging 18.9 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Svdrlik has given coach Greg Vetrone the inside presence he needed.

3. Quinnipiac: (6-2) (1-0)– The Bobcats came up just short to UMass, and went on to take it out on Mount St. Mary’s and Lehigh in a pair of wins. A wild team, Quinnipiac went from giving up an efficiency of 97 to the Minutemen to 117 against the Mount. In that latter game, the Bobcats enjoyed a 120 OE of their own to pull off the win. A decisive offensive rebounding core has a major strength.

Notable: junior guard James Johnson had a well rounded week of 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

4. Wagner (4-4) (1-0): The Seahawks sandwiched a win over Sacred Heart in NEC play between losses to St. John’s and Columbia. Defense has been an above average trait for the Seahawks as they hold opposition to 99 OE and force a turnover rate of 21%.  Offensive efficiency of 96 begs for improvement.

Notable: Freshman guard Latif Rivers earned NEC Rookie of the Week honors with a 17.3 points, 4.7 rebound per game week for the Seahawks. Junior guard Tyler Murray continues to do it all for Wagner. He enjoyed another excellent week, with 20 points per game in three games.

5. Long Island (5-3) (1-1): The Blackbirds bean conference play, dropping a tough one to Robert Morris at home before rebounding to defeat St.Francis (PA). LIU then went on the road, losing to Iona, to close out the week. Efficiency was outstanding offensively at 113 in the Robert Morris game. Unfortunately, they gave up a 115 rate to the visiting Colonials. Jim Ferry’s club is playing at a quick 75 possession pace, which is to their advantage.

Notable: Sophomore guard C.J.Garner averaged 17 points 3.5 assists and shot 50% from the floor for the week.

6. Central Connecticut (4-4) (1-1): CCSU had a rough go of it, losing three straight games. The last two, against Fairleigh Dickinson and Dayton, were heartbreakers, with a combined losing margin of four. The Blue Devils sported an outstanding 86 defensive efficiency at FDU, but the offense, struggling of late, produced a paltry 82 rating. Shooting, with an eFG percentage of 47%, is a major culprit.

Notable: Junior forward Ken Horton paced the offense, scoring 12.5 points and adding 6.5 rebounds per game.

7. Robert Morris (3-5) (1-1): RMU salvaged a split in Brooklyn, defeating LIU before dropping a close one to the Terriers. The Colonials were soundly defeated at West Virginia to close out the week 1-2. A defensively stout group, RMU forces a 24% turnover rate, which nets them extra possessions. Robert Morris was without the services of junior forward Lawrence Bridges (concussion) and sophomore guard Karon Abraham (suspension) on the Brooklyn trip.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore forward Russell Johnson averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds on the week.

8. Mount St. Mary’s (3-6) (1-1): Road games saw the Mount win at Sacred Heart before dropping tough ones to Quinnipiac and Penn State. Defense has been acceptable, with a DE mark of 99. Quinnipiac, though, was an aberration as the Mount ‘generously’ gave up a 120 OE to the Bobcats. Cutting down on the TO rate of 22% will raise the Mount’s below par OE of 96.

Notable: Junior guard Lamar Trice averaged an impressive all-around 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

9. Monmouth (3-5) (0-1): Three close calls – The Hawks defeated Eastern Michigan at home and North Dakota on the road. The lone loss was to the Vandals of Idaho, also on the road. The offense enjoyed a breakout 114 offensive efficiency rat at Idaho..

Notable: A pair of juniors, guard Will Campbell and forward Mike Myers-Keitt were named to the Basketball Travelers Classic all-Tournament team. The Hawks went 2-1 in the Idaho-based event.

10. Bryant (0-1) (1-7): Life in D-I is still a challenge. The 102 OE rating at FDU was the second highest of the season. The eight opponents this season have not cracked a 50% eFG percentage, which largely explains Bryant’s outrageously high 113 defensive efficiency.

Notable: Cecil Gresham had an outstanding 28-point, 6-rebound performance in a competitive conference loss at FDU. He shot 9-17 (53%) from the floor, including 6-14 from three-point range.

11. St.Francis (PA) (2-6) (0-2): A tough stretch for the Red Flash included losses at Youngstown State, LIU and St. Francis (NY). Opposing shooters are having a field day with a 51% eFG percentage. Depth is a major concern.

Notable: Sophomore guard Umar Shannon paced the team with 17 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on the week. Shannon led the Red Flash with 15 points at St. Francis (NY) and 19 at LIU.

12. Sacred Heart (2-7) (0-2): Snapped a three-game losing streak with a 56-55 win over Hartford in which they came back from a 51-31 deficit. Offensive efficiency is lacking, and a TO rate of 24% is not helping the cause. Their defensive efficiency of 99 could improve but not bad overall. It’s the offense, over 100 in OE only twice in nine games thus far.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore guard Shane Gibson scored a career high 21 points in the loss to the Mount. Gibson was 8-15 from the field (3 of 6 from three point range).

A Look Ahead:

The NEC takes a load off to attend to final exams, but the conference will hope to make a splash with games against Rhode Island (Quinnipiac), Rutgers (Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth) and Northwestern (St. Francis – NY).

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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 27th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent or the MAAC and NEC.

A Look Back

The NEC conference schedule actually tips off before Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Due to a scheduling quirk, Central Connecticut hosts Monmouth on November in the NEC opener. It all finishes an interesting November which saw a few surprises and strong showings by NEC clubs. Not to mention a 6 and 8 AM contest.

Player of the Week

Ken Horton, Central Connecticut – Averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and shot 66% from the floor for the two contests. Horton scored a career high 34 points while adding 9 boards in the win at Army.

Co-Rookies of the Week

Alex Francis, Bryant – Scored 19 points with 8 rebounds in a loss to Army.

Julian Norfleet, Mount St. Mary’s – The 6’1 guard averaged 11.5 PPG, 3.5 APG and committed just one turnover in 75 minutes of action. His three treys sparked the Mount’s first win of the season.

Power Rankings

  1. LIU (4-0) – Has hopes of an NEC title this season and the Blackbirds got off on a positive note. They defeated Texas State (91-67) and Manhattan (91-80) to finish with a perfect first week. Senior guard Kyle Johnson, a key figure in the LIU attack, averaged 18 PPG for the two games. Sophomore forward Kenny Onyechi had an impressive 18 point 11 rebound (both career highs) effort at Manhattan.
  2. CCSU (3-1) – Earned a pair of road wins over Army (101-87) and UMBC (82-74) to advance to 3-0. It marks Central’s best start since 1998-99 and it was the first time in three years the Blue Devils scored over 80 points in back to back contests. Shemik Thompson scored his 1,000th career point against UMBC. Ken Horton is back in the groove as a key contributor after missing last season with an injury.
  3. Quinnipiac (3-1) – Defeated Harvard (66-64) before dropping a 79-75 squeaker to Vermont. James Johnson, a junior guard, led the way with 20 PPG for the week. Senior forward Justin Rutty was a major contributor as well with a double-double average for the two contests.  Rutty averaged 14.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG and has 32 career double-doubles.
  4. Wagner (2-1) – Embarked on an NBA-style seven game road trip with a split. Seahawks lost (73-57) at Lehigh, the defending Patriot League champions before earning a 58-54 decision at Stony Brook. Junior guard Tyler Murray has been an early season revelation. He leads the Seahawks in scoring (19 PPG) and he shot seven of nine from beyond the arc in the win at Stony Brook.
  5. Monmouth (1-1) – Earned a split dropping a 51-49 decision to Stony Brook in the 6 AM game, part of ESPN’s Marathon. The Hawks came back to edge Lehigh 69-68. Sophomore forward Ed Waite had a pair of strong performances with 13 rebounds in the opener and 20 points against Lehigh. Freshman guard Jordan Davis had a noteworthy six assist/no turnover outing against Lehigh.
  6. Robert Morris (2-2) – The Colonials a tough one (62-59) to Kent State as part of the ESPN Marathon before coming back to defeat Duquesne 69-63. Sophomore guard Karon Abraham continues his fine scoring.  He averaged 14 PPG for the week highlighted by 15 over Duquesne. Robert Morris is giving up a stingy 51.7 PPG.
  7. St. Francis (PA) (2-2) – Faced three Patriot League squads. The Red Flash defeated Colgate and Bucknell while losing to Lafayette. Sophomore guard Umar Shannon with a career high 23 points, ignited a late run to defeat Colgate. St. Francis trailed by seven with three minutes to play before rallying for a 69-66 victory. Sophomore forward Will Felder had a solid and consistent week highlighted by a career high 21 points and nine boards against the Bison.
  8. St. Francis (NY) (1-2) – Dropped a three point game to South Florida before defeating Howard 70-52. Senior guard Akeem Bennett scored the first 11 points of the Howard game, finishing with 19. Fellow senior guard Ricky Cadell was on fire in Tampa. Against USF, he scored 28 points (six of nine from three) as the Terriers battled South Florida to the wire.
  9. Bryant (1-3) – Lost the lone game of the week, 76-66 to Army. Bryant led with five minutes to play before the Cadets made a late run to pull away. Young players made the mark as Freshman forward Alex Francis and sophomore guard Frankie Dobbs had 19 points apiece against Army. Already one win is already in the books, a last-second triumph over Iona at the World Vision Classic in Cleveland.
  10. Mount St. Mary’s (1-3) – Defeated Savannah State (68-62 in OT) for the first win under new coach Robert Burke. Senior forward Shawn Atupen has hit double figures in scoring all three games. Mount received clutch outside shooting from NEC Co-Rookie of the Week Julian Norfleet in the win over Savannah State.
  11. Sacred Heart (1-4) – Defeated New Hampshire 50-42 to snap a four game losing streak and post win number one of the season. Guard play has been the Pioneers’ main source of offense to date. Redshirt sophomore guard Shane Gibson and senior Jerrell Thompson are both averaging double figures. Freshman guard Evan Kelley shooting 55% (6-11) from three has provided significant minutes in relief.
  12. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-2) – Dropped the first two games of the season to Stony Brook (66-59) and Albany (72-46) both at home. The Knights’ problems centered on a basic fundamental – Shooting. Over the two games their combined field goal percentage was 31%. Senior guard Mike Scott, an all-NEC pick pre-season, was the lone marksman of note for FDU. Scott averaged 21.5 PPG on 49% shooting from the floor.

 

 

 

Tempo Free

  • The note that Robert Morris is playing great defense because they surrender  just 51.7 PPG almost had this correspondent salivating. Stats like this require a quick visit to statsheet.com or bbstate.com for a closer look. On Stat Sheet, it was revealed the Colonials’ defensive efficiency was 85, an excellent mark. The Robert Morris pace is 67 possessions per game, not exactly walking it up the floor. The offense needs to be addressed a bit, as the efficiency on that side is a bit subpar at 88. An eFG% mark of 38.7 seems to be the major culprit.
  • Last year, Bryant was 1-29. This year, the Bulldogs are 1-3. They still give up too much defensively (113.6 Defensive Efficiency to date). On the other hand, points are coming a little easier. A year ago, Bryant had an 81 offensive efficiency rating in NEC play. To date, no conference games have been contested, but the Bulldogs show an OE of 90, A significant improvement.

A Look Ahead

The NEC gets an early start on conference play, while some teams continue the pursuit of strong turns in the non-con.

 

November 27 – LIU at St.Peter’s

November 28- Bryant at Lehigh

November 29 – Wagner at Bucknell; Robert Morris at Cleveland State; Central Connecticut at Providence; Monmouth at Davidson; Navy at Mount St. Mary’s

December 1 – UMass at Quinnipiac; Bryant at Fairleigh Dickinson; Robert Morris at LIU

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