Way back in December I simmed 10,000 NEC conference seasons as a prelude to what may happen using Ken Pomeroy’s data. In those simulations Robert Morris and Wagner dominated the top of the league. It looked after non-conference play that those two were going to run away with things and people who said that LIU Brooklyn and Central Connecticut were serious challengers were crazy. Well that’s why they play the games.
The final day of NEC action ended up being so far from what anyone expected that the conference has basically been flipped upside down going into the postseason tournament. All four of the teams that will be hosting games on Thursday night lost (on the road) on Saturday. Three of those losses came to teams that will be in the NEC tournament and shows the wide-open nature of the conference this season.
In basketball sometimes it’s hard to tell which teams are the good ones. A bad shooting night, a couple missed defensive stops and a win turns into a loss. Teams that are consistent overcome those fluky moments and make the best of their opportunities. Being consistently good means that even on your worst night you’re going to be tough to beat.
St. Francis (NY) is the surprise of the NEC season. After upsetting Robert Morris at the Sewall Center, in pretty convincing fashion, the Terriers sit tied for second place with Wagner. Both of those teams are hanging out right behind LIU Brooklyn in the traditional standings. The tempo-free standings though continue to make us wonder if this is all a mirage.
After Thursday we’ll be halfway through the NEC schedule. Right now LIU Brooklyn is sitting at the top of the standings, but four teams are tied at 6-2 and waiting for the Blackbirds to slip up. LIU and three of those teams are also bunched up at the top of the tempo-free NEC, which suggests there’s not as much separation between the teams as the Blackbirds’ two-game lead might suggest. We’ll find out coming Thursday when LIU faces another test at Robert Morris.
Most people think that the NEC is going to be a four-team race between Wagner, Robert Morris, Long Island and Central Connecticut State. I’m here to say that the numbers say they’re wrong. This is really a two-team race between the Seahawks and the Colonials and everyone else is battling for third place. Alright, maybe that’s a bit an overstatement, but not much.