Northeast Conference (conference rank: 30th)
March 1, 4, 7
All games at higher seed.
kPOY: Elijah Long, Mount St. Mary’s
Regular season champ: Mount St. Mary’s (preseason #290 / 3rd NEC, current #214)
Overachiever: St. Francis PA (preseason #326, current #263)
Underachiever: St. Francis NY (preseason #324, current #346)
The ten-team NEC invites the top eight to its conference tournament, so it’s time to bid farewell to Central Connecticut and St. Francis Brooklyn. The other eight will battle it out on the NEC’s notoriously hospitable home floors for a likely trip to Dayton in the NCAA tournament.
Mount St. Mary’s won the regular season by two full games despite starting the season 1-11 while playing a SWAC-style buy-game tour. The record didn’t tell the whole story as the Mountaineers rating actually rose over the first 12 games. But the reality is there’s not much separating the eight teams in this event and whoever emerges is going to have to play better than usual to win.
Preseason favorite Wagner is still lurking. The Seahawks were a mild disappointment after opening the season with a fairly easy victory at UConn. They finished in third with an 11-7 conference record, but four of those losses were by two points of less or in overtime. However, they suffered a blow to their chances when their outstanding center, Mike Aaman, tore an ACL in the second-to-last game of the season.
That could open the door for LIU Brooklyn, who once again is led by 6-7 scorer Jerome Frink. The Professor has led the team to six wins in a row although who knows if that means anything. The Blackbirds also have Talib Zanna’s young brother, Nura, and let’s just say that offensive rebounding runs in the family. LIU has the 13th-best offensive rebounding percentage in the land and has two players in the nation’s top 20 in Zanna and Raiquan Clark.
Semis Final Champ 1 Mount St. Mary's 81.0 59.9 42.1 2 LIU Brooklyn 67.7 44.5 20.2 3 Wagner 69.0 36.2 16.3 4 St. Francis PA 65.3 23.8 9.0 5 Bryant 34.7 12.0 4.4 6 Fairleigh Dickinson 31.0 9.9 3.7 7 Robert Morris 32.3 9.0 3.2 8 Sacred Heart 19.0 4.7 1.3