Northeast Conference Tournament Preview
Since 2010 five of the eight teams in the conference have won the automatic bid. LIU Brooklyn has been the best winning the tournament four times. They are the reigning champs but they are the 6th seed this year. The NEC tournament is a little different than most as they run their post-season like the NFL, play a round and then reseed. Should St. Francis (PA) win round one they will play the worst seed remaining.
2018 Champion: LIU Brooklyn
1-seed St. Francis (PA) Red Flash 16-13 (12-6)
The top three teams in terms of offense in the league are far and away better than the rest. The Red Flash lead that group of teams and that starts with the duo of Jamaal King and Keith Braxton. Braxton is a do it all guard that makes it happen on both ends, the problem is St. Francis is not a strong defensive team. They need to utilize their up-tempo style and be efficient offensively to make up for their lack of defensive prowess.
2-seed Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 17-13 (12-6)
FDU is another one of those top offensive teams, they have five players averaging double figures and shoot the 3 well at 39.9%. They don’t play the best defense but they do force turnovers with 7.2 steals per game. The Knights need to turn opposing teams over and get out on the run.
3-seed Sacred Heart Pioneers 15-16 (11-7)
Sacred Heart plays a top-25 tempo in the entire country, because of this, their defense suffers. Sean Hoehn and Cameron Parker need to limit their turnovers while EJ Anosike can be a difference maker inside.
4-seed Robert Morris Colonials 16-15 (11-7)
This is the top defensive team in the league and I really like them because of that. They need Williams and Bain to find their offense more consistently and cut down their turnover numbers to win this league.
5-seed St. Francis (NY) Terriers 17-14 (9-9)
Like Bobby Morris above, the Terriers thrive off their defense. They have three players averaging double figures and Jalen Jordan is actually an efficient scorer from all over the floor. They play efficient defense, but they don’t force enough turnovers. St. Francis needs to get some easy points off turnovers to win games.
6-seed LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds 15-15 (9-9)
For the Blackbirds it seems pretty simple. Raiquan Clark makes this team go, 19.4 points and 6.8 rebounds a night, the defense forces turnovers (7.0 steals a night) and blocks shots (4.8 blocks). However, they turn it over a ton (14.8 per game) and they shoot it poorly from 3 (33.5%). Clark himself shoots 50% from the field but just 25% from downtown. A hot shooting night is all it takes for this team.
7-seed Wagner Seahawks 13-16 (8-10)
Now I know I’ve said a few different guys do it all for their team, but that is most accurate for Romone Saunders. The senior leads Wagner in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game. The problem is the offense, the Seahawks just don’t shoot the ball well (39% from the field and 31% from 3).
8-seed Bryant Bulldogs 10-19 (7-11)
Bryant is the 8th worst team defensively according to KenPom and really that’s all I need to say. If they want to win they will need to completely flip the script and play at least top-150 defense. Adam Grant and SaBastian Townes are a nice duo, but there’s not enough help from the supporting cast.
St. Francis (PA) over Bryant
Fairleigh Dickinson over Wagner
LIU-Brooklyn over Sacred Heart
Robert Morris over St. Francis (NY)
St. Francis (PA) over LIU-Brooklyn
Robert Morris over Fairleigh Dickinson
Robert Morris over St. Francis (PA)