The Northeast Conference may be one of the lowest mid-major conferences in all of college basketball, but you have to give them credit, they sure make things interesting.
The conference has gotten little publicity, other than a dominant Robert Morris club poised to make it's second straight regular season title. However, as is usually the case, nothing will be decided until the last day.
The Northeast conference is rather unique in the sense that the conference tournament is played on the facilities of the higher seeded opponent. There are 12 schools in the conference (11 are eligible for the NCAA tournament), and out of those 12, just eight are admitted into the conference tournament. The top four seeds will have a home game. The tournament format as eight team, single elimination.
The regular season will wrap up on Saturday with some crucial games. None more important than the St. Francis NY vs. Central Connecticut State game. St. Francis was red hot to start conference play at 6-2, but have cooled off to an 8-9 record. CCSU has the same mark. The reason why this game is so important is because whoever wins will also get into their conference tournament, while the loser prepares for the offseason.
A win coupled with a Monmouth loss for either team will get them a seven seed, and a Monmouth win will give the winner an eight seed.
In terms of a first place finish, nothing has been fully decided. Robert Morris will clinch with a win or a Quinnipiac loss, however, that will be hard, as Quinnipiac will face a somewhat tough challenge in Fairleigh Dickinson, who has significantly picked up their game after starting the regular season at 1-12. Robert Morris will then have to face Mount St. Mary's, the preseason favorite, and winners of nine straight.
Mount St. Mary's who started the conference season at 2-6, can get three seed (home game in first round) with win or an Long Island loss, while Long Island needs both a win at Bryant (1-28) and a Mount St. Mary's loss to get the three seed.
Fairleigh Dickinson needs to win and for LIU to lose to get a home game as a four seed, while St. Francis PA can get as high as a five seed if LIU, FDU, and SFPA tie for fourth, or if FDU, SFPA tie for fifth.
Monmouth can finish no higher than a six seed, but have already clinched.
The irony of all the excitement is that the conference will be represented by a 16 seed in all likelihood. They could get as high as a 15 seed, and if anyone not in the top three seeds wins the conference tournament, they are likely to have to participate in the play-in game at Dayton, OH.
1. Robert Morris (15-2)
2. Quinnipiac (14-3)
3. Mount St. Mary's (11-6)
4. Long Island (10-7)
5. Fairleigh Dickinson (10-7)
6. St. Francis PA (9-8)
7. Monmouth (8-9)
8. Central Connecticut St. (8-9)
9. St. Francis NY (8-9)
THE REMAINING TEAMS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED (Sacred Heart, Wagner, Bryant (not eligible).