Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On the Eve of the NEC

Ok - where to begin?

Let's face it, 29 games ago, all you wanted to do was get to these three games. Because all of the excitement that preceded the previous 29 games was built out of what happened in these three games last season.

Robert Morris is once again the regular season champion - and with that the favorite. I would think most folks would expect the Colonials to win the NEC crown and the automatic berth in the NCAA. But since they weren't the preseason pick and aren't the defending champ, I'm not sure they are as big of favorite as they were a year ago. Last year, they entered with a 13-game winning streak and seemed invincible. This year they seem to have struggled a bit down the stretch. Certainly, they weren't as sharp in February as they appeared to be in January.

The same can probably be said of the Mount as well. They seemed to play very well in mid to late January and then got a little sluggish towards the end. However, the performance against St. Francis PA a little over a week ago was probably the top performance of the season. The Mount enters off the three-point loss at Robert Morris, let us not forget that the Mount lost by three at RMU on the regular season's final weekend a year ago.

The Mount will be pushed in the opener. Wagner was seemingly headed to an 11th place finish the last time they were Emmitsburg. But in over a month, they've rejuvenated. They won their last four including wins over the Mount and Robert Morris. The Mount scored identical 65's in the two games versus the Seahawks. I think they'll need more tomorrow night. They need to get the game into transition and get points that way. And then convert in the half court sets when that is what is left. Justin Drummond had 23 in the win at Staten Island and the Mount must do its best to contain him. Joey Mundweiler is a pure shooter and scorched the nets for 39 over the weekend. The Mount can't give him open looks.

Again, in my estimation it comes down to the pace of the game. If the Mount scores 35+ in each half, it will be a very good night for them. If it is played at a slower pace it could be dicey late. This won't be an easy opener, and I think everyone realizes that. With that said, I expect the Mount to win going away a little bit late, 73-64.

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