NEC Week One primer.

NEC Action is back in full swing, as Robert Morris and Bryant get the regular season started. Over at NYC Buckets, they did a great job taking a look at the NEC, KenPom data, and where the league stands as we kick things off.

Quickly, here is my predicted order of finish: SFPA, RMU, WAG, MSM, CCSU, FDU, LIU, SHU, SFNY, BRY.

Some thoughts: One, Robert Morris made the largest leap from the start of the season. The KenPom data backs that up, as you’ll see reading the above story. I still have questions about RMU’s ability to win away from home, especially when they aren’t playing their best basketball. St. Francis PA has a team filled with upperclassmen that have been through the grind of an 18 game, tons of two games in three days, schedule. I’m fairly confident that SFPA/RMU/WAG/MSM are the top four teams, though that order isn’t something I would bet my life savings on. I am most confident that Bryant and St. Francis Brooklyn will miss the NEC tournament, as both teams look like they could really struggle this season. Now on to the weekend preview.

Robert Morris tips things off at Bryant, before heading to Central Connecticut on Sunday. The Colonials are six point favorites today, and two points dogs on Sunday. If Bobby Mo truly wants to show they can contend for the NEC regular season title, a two win weekend needs to happen. These are winnable road games, against teams that RMU is more talented than.

Bryant is 1-12 but played a very difficult schedule. While they aren’t nearly as bad as their record, and KenPom rating of 339 would suggest, Robert Morris should come out on top. CCSU might have been the biggest surprise in the non-conference slate, going 7-6 including a five game win streak with a win over an American Athletic Conference member (East Carolina) included in there.

Other games to keep an eye on. How about Mount St Mary’s, the defending regular season and NEC tournament champs, opening up at Wagner? That is certainly the game of the day, and one of the better on-paper matchups of the regular season. St. Francis PA heads to CCSU as the aforementioned Blue Devils look to show their non-conference performance was no fluke.

On Sunday, Mount could be facing an 0-2 start as they head to LIU Brooklyn, and Wagner will head to St. Francis Brooklyn as the Terriers look to steal an early season upset.

–Lee Kunkel


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