The Northeast Conference (NEC) is one of the smaller conferences in the country. The fight for an NCAA Tournament berth and the chance of a lifetime for many of these teams brings out the excitement even in the smaller conferences like the NEC.
An overall young league a season ago, many teams in the Northeast Conference are looking to improve and battle for that birth in the NCAA Tournament.
Robert Morris: It will be tough for the defending champs in the NEC to repeat, but Robert Morris has a good chunk of talent returning. Minus their leading scorer from a year ago, the Colonials bring enough firepower back to threaten amongst the top teams in the conference. Rob Robinson will lead the way in the title defense for Robert Morris.
Mount St. Mary’s: He stands at only 5’9”, but Jeremy Goode is a potential Player of the Year candidate in the conference and the Mountaineers are glad to have him back. Led by Goode, Mount St. Mary’s enters the season as the favorite in the NEC and after a 19-win season last year, they should be looking to improve.
Sacred Heart: The Pioneers have been in a situation to threaten for a NCAA Tournament berth the last few seasons. From entering the championship game as the favorite two years ago to a third place regular season finish last season, Sacred Heart loses two of its two four scorers heading into 2009-2010. It will be interesting to see if the Pioneers still have enough to remain in the hunt.
Long Island: There is plenty of talent back for Long Island this season and after 12 wins in conference last year, the expectations are growing. The Blackbirds return their six top scorers from last season and potential Player of the Year candidate Jaytornah Wisseh who looks to build on his 15.2 points per game from last season. Long Island should finish in a position to threaten for the NEC championship.
Quinnipiac: James Feldeine and Justin Rutty are the two best players for this Bobcats squad and Quinnipiac somewhere near the top in 2009-2010. After 10 wins in the conference last year, the Bobcats might be the team who improves the most from last season. Feldeine and Rutty can both threaten for all-conference honors.
Wagner: The Seahawks finished sixth in the conference last year, but they should expect a significant drop off in 2009-2010. Most of their talent from last season is gone, so it will be difficult for Wagner to not find themselves towards the bottom of the league.
Central Connecticut State : Like many of the other teams in the league, the Blue Devils also return some of their top talent from a year ago. After an 8-10 mark in the league last year, Central Connecticut should find themselves able to move up in the standings. They might not be able to compete with some of the top teams in the NEC, but a finish somewhere around the middle of the standings is where CCSU can be found.
St. Francis (NY): The Terriers only won ten games overall last season, but do return one of the stronger players in the conference in Ricky Cadell. It probably won’t be enough to keep St. Francis (NY) out of the bottom half of the NEC though.
St. Francis (PA): They finished in last place in the conference last season, and although they probably won’t move up much, it should be somewhat of an improving year for the Red Flash. Devin Sweetney averaged over 16 points per game last year and he will be the go-to-guy again for St. Francis (PA).
Monmouth: After a ninth place conference finish a year ago, the Hawks will also be looking to slide up in the standings. Leading scorer Travis Taylor is back and Monmouth will look to improve after only eight wins all of last season.
Fairleigh Dickinson: The Knights were among the bottom of the NEC last year and they will probably be somewhere around there again in 2009-2010. Sean Baptiste is back and will lead the way for Fairleigh Dickinson, but fans shouldn’t expect too much out of them again this year.
1. Mount St. Mary’s
3. Long Island
4. Robert Morris
5. Central Connecticut State
6. Scared Heart
8. St. Francis (NY)
9. St. Fanicis (PA)
10. Fairleigh Dickinson
First Team All-NEC:
G- Jeremy Goode, Sr., Mount St. Mary’s
G- James Feldeine, Sr., Quinnipiac
G- Jaytornah Wisseh, Sr., Long Island
F- Rob Robinson, Sr., Robert Morris
F- Devin Sweetney, Sr., St. Francis (PA)
Second Team All-NEC:
G- Sean Baptiste, Sr., Fairleigh Dickinson
F- Justin Rutty, Jr., Quinnipiac
G- Ricky Cadell, Jr., St. Francis (NY)
G- Whitney Coleman, Sr., Monmouth
G- Corey Hassan, Sr., Sacred Heart
NEC Player of the Year:
Guard- Mount St. Mary’s- Jeremy Goode