The Northeast Conference, also known as the greatest basketball conference of mankind, held its fabulous #NECinNYC event on Wednesday at the Barcalys Center. As part of it, the NEC Coaches poll was released:
- St. Francis PA (9)
- Fairleigh Dickinson (1)
- Mount St. Mary’s
- Sacred Heart
- LIU Brooklyn
- Robert Morris
- Central Connecticut State
- St. Francis Brooklyn
A few thoughts:
I don’t think there were many surprises. The Red Flash were the unanimous choice in the poll (coaches can’t vote for their own team, thus the one vote for FDU) and for good reason. Despite the transfer of big man Josh Nebo, St. Francis will return three of the best guards in the conference.
On paper, the Red Flash have the best starting lineup in the league. Keith Braxton is the reigning NEC Rookie of the Year. Jamaal King is a nice point guard who can dish the ball and stretch the floor. Yes, his turnover rate was probably a tad too high last season (3.1 per game compared to 3.9 assist), but some of that can be contributed to the high tempo head coach Rob Krimmel wants to work at.
Isaiah Blackmon, in my opinion, is poised for a huge junior season. This guy tore up the league his freshman season before tearing his ACL and responded as a sophomore by playing 30 games, leading the team in scoring and shot 49.6 percent from 3-point range (sixth in the country).
St. Francis’ biggest question mark will be on the defensive end, especially after the loss of Nebo, who was an intimidating, sultan of swat down low. We’ll touch more on that during our NEC previews, set to drop the week before RMU’s first game on Nov. 10.
A lot of teams are in a similar boat to Robert Morris. No one had the complete roster makeover the Colonials did, but similar. Mount St. Mary’s (Elijah Long and Miles Wilson), FDU (Earl Potts Jr.) and Wagner (Corey Henson) all lost considerable talent.
RMU is going to have to prove it. They seemed to find an identity at the end of last season — it’s easy to forget that they led Mount St. Mary’s late in the second half of the NEC semis — but will have to rebuild again. This should be an extremely, extremely talented defensive team. Until they find two guys – or heck, even one guy – who can get them buckets late in games, they will be doubted.
By the way, KenPom released his college basketball rankings this week. He has Robert Morris as the NEC’s preseason No. 8 and 321st overall