06.08.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on June 9th, 2009

Another week has started, and we’re within one week of the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline, so let’s see who’s returning…

  • LSU’s Tasmin Mitchell will return to Baton Rouge for his senior season (smart move).
  • Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds is leaning toward a return to the Main Line for his senior year (also a smart move).
  • Arizona’s Nic Wise will also return for his senior season (a wise move, indeed).
  • Miami (FL)’s Dwayne Collins has wisened up and will also be back for his senior season (yep, these guys are getting it).
  • Memphis players continue to jump ship, with Shawn Taggart now deciding to forgo his senior season (not a great move, but he’s already 24 and who knows what penalties Memphis may face next season).
  • Tennessee’s Tyler Smith is still thinking about returning, but he’s also considering going to Europe to start his professional career.  While on the subject of collegians moving to Europe, Luke Winn explores the issue a little further in the context of Nick Calathes’ decision to play in Greece.
  • Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague injured his knee in a workout last week, but is expected to remain in the first round and therefore will most likely stay in the draft.

Some other news bouncing around the early summer months…

  • Memphis made its defense to the NCAA on Saturday, and we pretty much agree with most of what Gary Parrish writes here.  Details are scarce as to what was actually said at the hearing, but Kentucky’s John Calipari did phone in from China, and Memphis official stated on the record that they feel that they’d made their case to the NCAA.  Not sure what else they could say in that spot though.  Memphis should hear something from the NCAA in 6-8 weeks.
  • The Shane Battier Memorial Rule will be in effect beginning next season.  Wonderful.
  • We really don’t have a good feeling about the long-term prospects of Josh Pastner at Memphis.  Nothing against the kid, but Calipari is just too tough of a situation there to follow.  He’s showing his recruiting chops already, but can he coach?
  • In a cost-cutting measure, three Big Ten schools (Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin) are eliminating their annual media guides for their sports teams.  We’d expect this to be a major trend in the next few months nationwide.   The NCAA is also lending a hand by suspending members’ dues this upcoming year.
  • A Tennessee congressman named Steve Cohen is petitioning the NBA to change its “one-and-done” rule.  Interesingly, his district includes Memphis, who is of course dealing with the Derrick Rose fiasco.  Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt took offense at some of Cohen’s comments about his former player, Thaddeus Young, and is now demanding an apology.
  • Former Razorback Patrick Beverley threw Arkansas under the bus in an interview with DraftExpress when he said, “Someone from Arkansas was doing papers, was doing me and some of my teammates’ papers…”
  • UK countersues Billy Gillispie.  This could be really fun.
  • Gary Parrish explores Billy Donovan’s thoughts on the Orlando Magic making the NBA Finals two years after he backed out of his commitment to coach that team.
  • In a bit of a shock, Fairleigh Dickinson fired head coach Tom Green after 26 years of loyal service, including four NCAA Tournament appearances and 407 wins at the school.
  • UT-Martin’s head coach, Bret Campbell, resigned after an internal audit found that he had deposited $20k in basketball camp checks directly into his personal account.
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Checking in on the… NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2008

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

NEWARK, NJ – The Northeast Conference Co-Players of the Week were James Feldeine and Jeremy Chappell. Feldiene, a junior guard for Quinnipiac,  averaged 27.5 ppg, 8 boards and 5 assists in a spectacularly well rounded week. Quinnipiac went 1-1 during that stretch.  Chappell, a senior guard for Robert Morris and one of the NEC’s elite, averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds over a three game stretch that saw the Colonials take road games against Lafayette and Central Michigan. The latter was played at the Detroit Pistons home at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

Rookie of the Week was Central Connecticut freshman Bobby Ptacek. The  6-3 guard had career highs of 20 points 6 rebounds in the Blue Devils’ win over Princeton.

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Checking in on the… Northeast Conference

Posted by rtmsf on December 13th, 2008

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


Decided to take a tempo free look at the Northeast Conference. The win-loss record includes all games, though everyone has a couple conference games in the total. The plus-minus is the difference between offensive and defensive points per possession. Naturally a figure on the plus side is good, while a minus figure suggests defense (most likely)  should be addressed. The far right column is the average possessions per game. In the sixties is slow to moderate. Low seventies is still moderate while high seventies on up is ‘metal to the pedal’ range. A thank you to Basketball State for expedient availability of the data.   The average possessions for NEC teams is 68, more on the moderate to slow variety.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #26 – Northeast

Posted by rtmsf on October 15th, 2008

Ray Floriani from College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast (NEC) and Metro Atlantic Athletic (MAAC) conferences.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Mount St. Mary’s  (20-9) (15-3)   
  2. Central Conn. St. (19-9) (14-4)
  3. Sacred Heart   (17-10) (13-5)
  4. Robert Morris    (17-12) (12-6)
  5. FDU    (14-14) (10-8)
  6. Quinnipiac   (13-14) (8-10)
  7. LIU    (11-16) (7-11)
  8. Monmouth   (11-17) (6-12)
  9. Wagner   (11-18) (5-13)
  10. St. Francis (NY)  (9-20) (4-14)
  11. St. Francis (PA)  (5-23) (3-15)

What you need to Know (WYN2K). The Northeast Conference, in its 28th season of operation,  formed in the Eighties from the old ECAC Metro. The eleven school league has granted admission to Bryant University who begins NEC play in 2012. The league postseason tournament admits the top eight finishers. Each game is played on the home floor of the high seed in the pairings. What this all means is February games are played hard each night out. Teams are fighting for a tournament berth, a higher seeding or to just become a spoiler. After Valentine’s Day everyone is scoreboard watching. The nation’s fourth most improved conference (behind the Southland, MAAC and Sun Belt) a year ago will see 60% of its starters return. Featured among them are All-NEC performers Jeremy Chappell, a senior swingman for Robert Morris, and  LIU junior guard Jaytomah Wisseh. Central Connecticut also welcomes back 2008 NEC Rookie of the Year, sophomore point guard Shemik Thompson.
Predicted Champion. Mount St.Mary’s (#16 NCAA). The NEC defending tournament champs return four starters from a team that captured nine of their last ten games and took the tournament title on Sacred Heart’s floor. Junior lead guard Jeremy Goode, the team leader in scoring, assists and steals is back. Sophomore guard Jean Cajou caught fire late last season and wound up as NEC tournament MVP. Talent plus the momentum of a year ago, which included a play-in win over Coppin State, certify Mount as the favorite. Look for another 16 seed – could a Tar Heel rematch be in the works?

Others Considered. Central Connecticut St. will be in the mix. Four starters return and veteran coach Howie Dickenman is certain to have the Blue Devils playing their best as the season winds down. Sacred Heart finished as tournament runner-up the last two seasons and cannot be counted out. The same goes for Robert Morris, last year’s regular season champion who was upset in the NEC semis and represented the conference in the NIT.

Important Games.

  • Mount St.Mary’s @ Sacred Heart  (12/4/08)
  • Mount St.Mary’s @ Central Connecicut  (12/06/08)
  • Quinnipiac @ FDU  (01/03/09)
  • Robert Morris @ Mount St.Mary’s  (1/25/09)
  • Sacred Heart @ Central Connecticut State  (2/19/09)
  • Mount St.Mary’s @ Robert Morris  (2/28/09)

RPI Boosters.

  • FDU @ Pitt  (11/14/08)
  • FDU @ Wazzu  (11/18/08)
  • Rhode Island @ Monmouth (Hoop Group) (11/20/08)
  • FDU @ Mississippi St.  (11/22/08)
  • Monmouth @ Villanova (Hoop Group) (11/25/08)
  • Mount St.Mary’s @ George Mason  (11/25/08)
  • Akron @ FDU  (11/30/08)
  • Mount St.Mary’s @ Georgetown  (12/20/08)
  • Robert Morris @ Xavier  (12/31/08)
  • FDU @ TBA in Bracketbuster  (02/20/09)

Neat-o-Stat. The NEC boasts three coaches who have hit the 400 win total. Dave Bike (464-414) of Sacred Heart leads the way. Mike Deane of Wagner and FDU’s Tom Green hit the magic number this past season. Deane, in his sixth year at the NEC school, has a 416-292 mark. Green, entering his 26th season at FDU, has a 400-328 ledger.  Of the trio, Bike owns a national championship. He led the Sacred Heart Pioneers to the D2 crown in 1986.

Neat-o-Stat con’t. Robert Morris owns the best overall record among conference schools over the past two seasons even though it hasn’t won the tournament title. The Colonials are 43-19 during that time. Interestingly they did it with two different coaches. Mark Schmidt put together a 17-11 record in 2006-07 before heading to St. Bonaventure, and last season, in his first year in Coraopolis, Mike Rice’s club was a gaudy 26-8.

65 Team Era.  NEC life usually means facing a #1 or #2 seed (20 of the past 24 years), and unfortunately, the NEC has yet to defeat one of those teams in the first round. FDU under Tom Green has been competitive each time out. In 2005, they gave top ranked Illinois a battle for twenty minutes, and have also given #1Michigan (1985) and #2 UConn (1998) scares over the years. Last season, conference tournament champion Mt. St. Mary’s defeated Coppin State in the play-in game before running into the UNC juggernaut the next time out.  
Final Thoughts. In a perfect world the NEC would be a multiple bid conference. This is not a perfect world (see the $700 billion bailout) so the conference gets one invitation to the Big Dance. From a fan perspective that makes for added drama as the regular season and postseason tournament takes on huge meaning. The championship is especially intense as teams vie for that one spot on Selection Sunday.  Geographical proximity is another issue. You have three schools (St. Francis (PA), Robert Morris and Mt. St. Mary’s) ‘way out west’. But a good percentage of the membership is in relatively close driving distance of each other. In fact, FDU, LIU, Wagner, Monmouth and St.Francis (NY) are all within a 40-mile radius which affords their fans an easy, nearby road trip.  Another attractive feature of the NEC is that players stay around. If a coach recruits a player, then outside of transfer or academic issues, they are typically on board for the duration. No ‘one and done’ to David Stern’s league here.

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No, Not THAT Tom Green

Posted by rtmsf on September 17th, 2008

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast Conference and an occasional contributor.

In the pressure packed world of college coaching a 25-year career is a rarity these days. Twenty five years at one school ? You can almost forget it, except in the case of Tom Green. The Fairleigh Dickinson mentor, who won his 400th  game late last season, is entering his 26th year at the Northeast Conference school. Green is the winningest coach in NEC history. It’s not even close.


Tom Green – Longtime Coach of FDU (photo credit:  FDUKnights.com)


His conference record stands at 257-177, a distant lead over second place Ron Ganulin, who won 129 conference games at St.Francis (NY) from 1991 through 2005. Green is also the NEC pacesetter with 26 conference tournament wins. All told, FDU has reached the NEC semis in 16 of his 25 years and captured four conference post season titles and ensuing NCAA Tournament bids (1985, 1988, 1998 and 2005).


A legacy of success which includes seven 20-win seasons has brought opportunities at other schools. In the past, Green has flirted with other institutions. Each time he felt the Northern New Jersey school was his best fit.


What is his secret of the program’s excellent track record ? For one thing , flexibility. He is able to adjust to the talents of his players. He will push the ball if he has to and play at a slower pace if need be. Last season an injury decimated squad finished up an uncharacteristic 8-20. The coach and staff went over tape and spent hours coming up with combination and ‘junk’ defenses to try to remain competitive.  Another factor is discipline, but not the yelling and screaming type. Green doesn’t need that, and still his players know who is in charge. Discipline is evident as FDU rarely beats themselves. They are well drilled in their system.


FDU has made the NCAA Tournament in each of those aforementioned NEC title years. Each time the top or #2 seed has never rested easy against the bottom seed Knights. Green’s teams are extremely well prepared and play hard.  Most recently, in 2005, FDU gave top-seeded (and eventual national runner-up) all it wanted in its first round game before losing 67-55 (see highlight below). 


Tom Green will not win a national championship at FDU. Regardless, the former Syracuse guard can take solace in knowing he probably assisted on one. In 1985 his FDU team took top seeded Michigan to the wire, eventually losing 59-55. Villanova coaches were scouting that game and noticed the Knights exposed a few weaknesses in their Big Ten opponents. Two days later Villanova upset Michigan in the second round of their championship run.


Interestingly, Jim Boeheim and Green shared an apartment when they began as Syracuse assistants. Boeheim has been at Syracuse over three decades, Green a quarter of a century at FDU. Neither seems in a hurry to leave, which is good news to their respective schools and fans.




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