Sunday, February 07, 2010

Breaking down the NEC Race

Written for your enjoyment by: Raff

In most conferences all you have to do is pay your dues to get in the conference tournament and have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. The NEC isn't most conferences. Instead, the NEC limits the conference tourney field to the top eight finishers from the regular season.

So with three weeks left in the regular season, six games for all, it is becoming more and more apparent how the whole Race To Dayton might shape up.

AT THE TOP: Based on current record and performance, I'm willing to concede the top slot to either Robert Morris or Quinnipiac. The Colonials are trying to win their third straight regular season crown and have to be the favorite from here on out. With a one game lead it only makes sense. But Quinnipiac will have the opportunity to tie it on their own - they visit Pittsburgh in two weeks. In addition, Robert Morris finishes its regular season at preseason pick Mt. St. Mary's which has won four in a row.

PROBABLY SAFE, FIGHTING FOR A HOME GAME: The conference standings show three teams at 7-5, so those are the most logical three as far as this group goes. But I'm going to agree with Ken Pomeroy's projections and say that the middle three is really Long Island, St. Francis (NY) and Mt. St. Mary's. The Mount has won four in a row, and has four of six down the stretch at home. A record of 11-7 likely might be good enough to get the third seed. The Mount may end up there as they are likely to be considered favorites in everything the rest of the way. But an upcoming NJ road trip will be extremely telling. LIU and St. Francis have both struggled a little bit of late and must play four of six on the road. As travel partners in the conference they'll play 3 in Connecticut and 1 at Bryant - as well as two home games against the Jersey schools. LIU has lost five of seven. NY 3 of 4.

LEAVES 3 SPOTS FOR 4 TEAMS:  If you believe Pomeroy's projections - and I think they are relatively accurate 9-9 will not be enough for one conference team to get in the tourney. FDU put itself in a position nobody expected earlier with a 7-5 start, two wins over Monmouth over the weekend has really helped the cause. After starting the season 1-12, the Knights have won 7 of 11. The two Jersey schools along with Sacred Heart - play three at home and three on the road. Sacred Heart finishes with a road game at Monmouth - that could be a deciding factor. Central has played its way back into contention with a four game win streak - and also has four at home the rest of the way. They can't let the game with PA this week get away.

LOOKING TO NEXT YEAR - Truth is, St. Francis PA and its youth will have to earn its spot in the field and still has the opportunity to do that. But with four games on the road and a trip into Loretto from the Connecticut teams it seems too much to overcome. Of course, if the Flash steals one on the road from CCSU, everything could change. Wagner and Bryant are all but eliminated. Bryant is still looking for win number one. Wagner has a possible chance with four of six at home - but if we've drawn the line at 9-9 - Wagner can't go 6-0 and get there.

1 comment:

  1. Richard9:47 PM

    Hi Raff! I really enjoyed reading your analyses and theories while watching Pitt dismantle RMU- thank you. In my stupid druggie opinion as anonymous states that I must be on, the only team that scares me against the Mount is CCSU. They seemed to have discovered a new formula recently. On another front, RMU truly did impress me in the first half at times against Pitt with their shooting. I was at the Mount game at Pitt too and thought Mount did well at times too. Even some of the wealthy Pitt booster season ticket holders said the score was much worse than the game was players. I received many compliments about the Mount while at the Pitt game. RMU simply cannot shoot anywhere near sterling for much more than maybe 12 minutes a game. If the Mount can get over their stupid mental block against RMU, they can whip them just like they did LIU or Wagner. RMU as far as I am concerned was only ever talented when they had AJ Jackson and company. I am sorry to rant so much on here but I am so damn sick of hearing about Mike RatFace Rice being such a great coach. RMU is mostly a team of dirty playing thugs. Sorry for being so negative Raff, I'm just in a lot of pain. Been a little ticked at Mr. Little lately too. He used go crazy just to come and have some words with me at many away games and home games but here all of a sudden he will glance up and see where I sit, then walk on by with his nose in the air. I know a lot about him, much more than he knows about me. I would love to see another Mount fan endure the surgeries and maladies that I have had the past few years- but yet still go to all the games I have, especially the many away games I went to. I am just sick of people running their mouths to me while only going to an away game if it is important- just to make themselves 'look' good to others in the Mount circle. I am not a person who goes up to people that are supposed to be 'important' socially just to smooch their arse and make myself look good. I go for the game and game only not to suck up to people like some people that I mentioned have. Sponsor or whatever. I am sick of seeing that across the country. Once again sorry Raff, I am more a die hard Mount fan than those smoochers. Sorry also for the typos and tirades. I love MSM basketball but I will not hide what I know just because people do not like hearing it. Luv ya Raff!