NYC Metro Hoops
Welcome: College basketball in the New York metropolitan area. Big East, MAAC, NEC, Ivy and much more!
Edited By: Raphielle Johnson
Friday's schedule may be light but there's some good action to take in as direction of the Ivy and Metro Atlantic races will be determined. Iona (19-5, 11-2) and Loyola (MD) (18-5, 11-2) are tied for first place with two games separating them from the pack (Manhattan and Fairfield leading that group), and the winner would take a big step towards grabbing the regular season crown. What should viewers look forward to?
Somerset, NJ -- Following a thrilling run to the 2011 Northeast Conference (NEC) men's basketball title, head coaches have picked Long Island to repeat as NEC champion. The announcement was made on Wednesday morning during a media teleconference to promote the tipoff of the 2011-12 season, the 31st in the league's history. The Blackbirds, who won the 2011 NEC Tournament crown with an 85-82 overtime victory over Robert Morris, claimed 10 of the possible 12 first-place votes.
Horton is joined by a pair of Long Island junior forwards in Julian Boyd (San Antonio, TX/William H.
Glover is joined on the first team by Fairfield University junior guard Derek Needham and senior center Ryan Olander, Iona senior guard Scott Machado and Rider University senior guard/forward Novar Gadson.
Iona received eight of the first-place votes and 97 points, followed by last season's preseason pick Fairfield University,which received two first-place votes and 92 points. Loyola University (Maryland) finished in third with 76 points.
With the start of the season right around the corner (and the preseason NEC Coaches Teleconference coming up on Wednesday morning), this is a good time to rank the backcourts and frontcourts of the Northeast Conference. First up are the top six backcourts in my opinion. Teams 7-12 will follow shortly, with the frontcourt rankings on deck. Feel free to comment below; I welcome solid hoops discussion.
The last time Fairfield reached the top of the MAAC was back in 1997, when they gave North Carolina all they wanted and then some in a first round NCAA Tournament loss. And with the release of the Preseason Coaches Poll, Ed Cooley's team is the favorite to win the conference in it's 30th year of existence. Fairfield picked up six first-place votes and totaled 96 points, beating out three-time defending champion Siena by five points. The Saints, who boast preseason Player of the Year Ryan Rossiter and fellow first-team member Clarence Jackson, received three first place votes.
Fri 12 vs. Cleveland St. (World Vision Basketball Classic) 7:00 PM
Sat 13 vs. Kent St. (World Vision Basketball Classic) 3:30 PM
Sun 14 vs. Iona (World Vision Basketball Classic) 3:00 PM
Wed 17 Salve Regina (exhibition) 7:00 PM
Sat 20 Army 3:30 PM
Wed 24 Harvard 4:00 PM
Sun 28 at Lehigh 7:00 PM
Thu 2 at Fairleigh Dickinson * TBA
Wed 8 Yale 7:00 PM
Sat 11 at Columbia TBA
Sun 19 at Boston College TBA
An eventful offseason for New York metropolitan area college basketball is steadily transitioning into the 2010-11 season, with individual workouts and team lifting sessions leading into the start of practice in four weeks. That also means the official release of schedules for most of the team, and you can find them here.
The first half of the July open evaluation period ended yesterday, allowing the many recruiting analysts, coaches and players the opportunity to recharge their batteries for events in Orlando, Las Vegas and everywhere in between next week (I'll be in Vegas). But despite the emphasis on evaluating kids in the 2011 class and beyond there was still room for additions to help out area programs for the upcoming season.
The news was rather quiet for the area schools last week with the notable exception of the Big East releasing the home/road opponents for each of its' member schools this coming season. Hope springs eternal and the three coaching changes have injected some serious life (and buzz) into Rutgers, St. John's and Seton Hall. Mike Rice has the job that may require the most "rebuilding", but with veteran rosters (and some very good incoming recruits) the table is set for both Kevin Willard (Seton Hall) and Steve Lavin (St. John's) to make some noise.
The Met Basketball Writers Association announced their annual honors on Wednesday, naming Hofstra junior guard Charles Jenkins the winner of the Haggerty Award (Player of the Year). Winning the award for the second consecutive year, Jenkins joins the following list of players to have won the Haggerty two or more times in their collegiate careers:
Coach [kohch] - noun. A person who trains an athlete or a group of athletes (dictionary.com).
Seven teams get to continue their seasons in postseason play; while the New York metropolitan area goes another year without a participant in the NCAA Tournament there's value in being able to play somewhere. Three schools will take part in the NIT with Seton Hall and Stony Brook hosting games while St. John's hits the road. Three other schools will play in the CBI and CIT tournaments (Quinnipiac added in for a full article), meaning that just under a third of the twenty-four schools will play in a postseason tournament.
Speaking of the reeling Huskies, what will they bring to the table against St. John's?
The time to determine who will earn the MAAC's automatic bid is finally here and the matchup between Fairfield and Siena (7 PM, ESPN2) should not disappoint. Of course the Saints won both regular season meetings but they had to hold in in the second, winning by just two points at the Times Union Center on February 8th. Derek Needham scored 26 points in that game for the Stags but he also had five turnovers, as did Sean Crawford. That was essentially the difference (along with two more free throws for Siena): fifteen turnovers to ten for the Saints.
After a long and eventful day on Saturday (the Manhattan/Siena chippiness followed by the ejection of Frank Turner), the four teams pegged by the coaches in the preseason to be the best will play in today's MAAC Tournament semifinals. The first game matches a Rider squad that's playing better basketball, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and regular season champion Siena.
With the top four seeds all moving into the NEC Tournament semifinals we should have two very good matchups on Sunday. The headliner: Mount St. Mary's visiting Robert Morris (7 PM, NortheastConference.TV) in the third meeting between the two this season. This also marks the fifth consecutive NEC Tournament in which the Mountaineers and Colonials play each other, with RMU winning last year's NEC final in Moon Township. The two teams split their regular season meetings with the home team winning both.
Friday was a good day for the America East champion Stony Brook Seawolves, who cleaned up in regards to the end of season awards. Senior Muhammad El-Amin was named Kevin Roberson Player of the Year and Steve Pikiell Coach of the Year. Also honored by the conference were Tommy Brenton (2nd Team All-Conference, All-Defensive) and Bryan Dougher (2nd Team All-Conference). Stony Brook begins their quest towards the America East Tournament title at noon when they take on eighth-seeded Albany.
The MAAC quarterfinals take center stage on Saturday with the top six teams joining the fray along with Friday night winners Manhattan (94-79 over Loyola) and Canisius (72-54 over Marist). The biggest storyline: can Siena pick up their third consecutive MAAC crown? Anything less will likely mean a trip to the NIT despite a solid RPI due to their lack of any RPI Top 50 wins.
"First Round Friday" is here with a pair of games to kick off the men's basketball tournament at the Times Union Center. If there was ever an opportunity to see which teams/players want to keep playing and which ones have simply "checked out" this is it. Marist is back in the tenth seed with hopes of duplicating last year's feat of winning their first game in Albany. But they'll be taking on a Canisius squad that not only has whipped them in both meetings but also should be ready to play hard for departing senior Frank Turner.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced its end of season individual honors on Thursday afternoon, and they are as follows:
Rookie of the Year: G Derek Needham (Fairfield)
6th Man of the Year: F Mike Evanovich (Fairfield)
Defensive Player of the Year: F Anthony Johnson (Fairfield)
Coach of the Year: Kevin Willard (Iona)
Player of the Year: F Alex Franklin (Siena)
One of the eight teams in the Northeast Conference is just three wins away from earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with quarterfinal play kicking things off tonight. Quinnipiac and Robert Morris shared the regular season crown with matching 15-3 league records but Tom Moore's Bobcats get the top seed as a result of their head-to-head win in the lone meeting between the two.
The Northeast Conference announced its all-conference teams and major individual honors on Tuesday morning. The honorees are:
Jim Phelan Coach of the Year: Tom Moore (Quinnipiac)
Player of the Year: F Justin Rutty (Quinnipiac)
Rookie of the Year: G Karon Abraham (Robert Morris)
Defensive Player of the Year: G Mezie Newigwe (Robert Morris)
Most Improved Player: C Liam Potter (Sacred Heart)
The MAAC announced its all-league honors on Monday at the beginning of its' pre-conference tournament teleconference. They are as follows:
G Derek Needham (Fairfield)
G Kyle Smyth (Iona)
G Robert Olson (Loyola)
G Candon Rusin (Marist)
F Darius Conley (Saint Peter's)
G Ronald Moore (Siena)
G Ryan Thompson (Rider)
F Alex Franklin (Siena)
F Ryan Rossiter (Iona)
C Anthony Johnson (Fairfield)
The final weekend of the regular season is here in the NEC and there are just two available spots for the NEC Tournament and four teams fighting for them. Monmouth is the one team with the ability to punch their ticket tonight but they'll have quite the task at Quinnipiac. A game behind them in the standings are CCSU and St. Francis (NY), and those two meet on Saturday in Brooklyn with the winner likely qualifying for the NEC Tournament. And Sacred Heart is the team with the most left to do at this point, sitting at 6-10 in the standings.
Atlantic 10: Fordham freshman forward Chris Gaston was named to the league's Honor Roll on Sunday, averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game in the Rams' two contests.
Big East: A pair of Scarlet Knights were honored on Monday with Dane Miller winning his third consecutive Rookie of the Week award and Hamady Ndiaye being named to the Honor Roll. Miller averaged 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds while Ndiaye added 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in Rutgers' 1-1 week.
Weekly Honors (announced on Monday)
Choice Hotels Co-Players of the Week: F Kelly Beidler (Mount St. Mary's) and G James Johnson (Quinnipiac)
Beidler averaged 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds in wins over Monmouth and FDU last week, helping the Mountaineers move their win streak to six games. Johnson averaged 20 ppg last week as the Bobcats locked up at least one NEC Tournament home game with wins over SFNY and LIU.
America East: Stony Brook senior Muhammad El-Amin was named Player of the Week thanks to averages of 27.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in two wins for the Seawolves.
Tonight's game between Saint Peter's and Loyola has been postponed due to the snowstorm that hit the Mid-Atlantic this week. The game has been rescheduled for February 17th at 7 PM.
Game of the Night: Siena at Niagara (8 PM, ESPN2)
With six games left in the regular season this is a big weekend for the NEC with spots three through ten separated by just two games. Robert Morris and Quinnipiac look to be the class of the NEC while Wagner and Bryant have an uphill climb to say the least in regards to simply making the tournament. The most important game on Thursday's schedule: Mount St. Mary's visiting Monmouth with both things in the thick of the NEC race for at the least a spot in the NEC Tournament.
There's been a lot of talk about favorites Cornell and Harvard in the early stages of Ivy League play and with good reason; the Big Red are two-time defending champs and Harvard has one of the best players in the country (Jeremy Lin) and a solid non-conference profile to boot. But who's in second place? None other than the Princeton Tigers, who will take their 2-0 league mark on the road this weekend in games at Harvard and Dartmouth.
Thursday marks the beginning of "Rivalry Week" a concept the NEC has adopted this season with all six games matching familiar foes, and the games will be repeated at the opposite site on Saturday. While LIU/St. Francis (NY) and Monmouth/FDU could be the most competitive matchups (Quinnipiac/Sacred Heart shouldn't disappoint either) on paper, there's also the matter of the league's hottest team (Robert Morris) taking its seven-game win streak on the road.
About Raphielle Johnson
College sports has always been a source of excitement for Raphielle Johnson, be it through watching, writing, or taking a shot in the dark and walking onto a college football team just to live the life (Arizona Football, 2001). Raphielle is the assistant editor, providing his own work in addition to helping out with the site operations. When not writing for CHN, you can usually find him in front of a television set watching one of many pay-per-view sports packages that he owns. He can be followed at twitter.com/raphiellej.
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