KenPom released his full preseason ranking projections late last week. For your viewing pleasure, here is the NEC:
1. Mount St.Mary’s: 179
2. Robert Morris: 200
3. St. Francis Brooklyn: 217
4. Sacred Heart: 221
5. Bryant: 240
6. Wagner: 256
7. St. Francis PA: 277
8. LIU Brooklyn: 278
9. Fairleigh Dickinson: 320
10. Central Connecticut State: 340
Last year, Robert Morris finished at 176 overall. St. Francis Brooklyn, who won the NEC regular season championship, finished at 150.
I love preseason rankings. They fire me up beyond belief. It’s great to see the chatter leading up to the season, because it means the season is finally so close to being here. With that being said, even I know to take preseason rankings with a grain of salt.
A few things on the KenPom rankings:
I’m sure a lot of people would have presumed RMU was going to be number one in every preseason ranking. With, KenPom I can’t say I’m surprised. KenPom operates under a statistical basis. Robert Morris lost their second-most efficient scorer (Marcquise Reed) and another heavy operator of their offense (Lucky Jones). It’s hard to project a team like that.
Mount St. Mary’s, on the other hand, has plenty of their top performers coming back. Byron Ashe, Greg Graves, Junior Robinson, Khalid Nwandu, Taylor Danaher and Will Miller are all coming back. They should be a really good team this season.
Of course, the game is never played on paper. In my opinion, Robert Morris has the best player, point guard and coach in the conference. Also, I think Elijah Minnie will prove to be as good as any forward in the NEC. I’ll expand on this much more as we get closer to the season.
KenPom has RMU losing their season opener at UPenn and four of their first five of the year. He has them finishing 16-15 overall and 11-7 in conference. RMU hasn’t lost more than six conference games since 2007 when they finished 9-9.
I was surprised to see St. Francis Brooklyn so high with the losses of Brent Jones and Jalen Cannon. However, they deserve that respect with the type of season they put together last year.
Central Connecticut Statebrings up the rear at 340th overall. There are 351 teams in college basketball. Is Howie Dickenman still there? It could be a long winter in New Britain.