Posted on: March 5, 2010 12:31 am
Edited on: March 5, 2010 12:36 am
Welcome to the Northeast Conference, where the basketball may not be quite as elite as its populace, but damned if it isn't every bit as cutthroat.
The NEC Tourney has already been trimmed to four with a single goal in mind: 16 seed.
Most "experts" agree the eventual NEC champ is destined for sacrificial slaughtering from the only slot on the NCAA Tournament bracket to have never advanced, but even when your date to the dance has more neck fat than Beano Cook and visible backne, you're still hitching a ride in that limo. And that's what college sports are all about. Limos. (college life on the other hand, is certainly more about neck fat)
So without further ado, or really much ado at all, the NEC final 4. Like many of the low-major post-season extravaganzas, the higher seed gets rewarded with a home game.
#4 Long Island (14-16, 11-7) @ #1 Quinnipiac (22-8, 15-3)
#3 Mount St. Mary's (16-14, 12-6) @ #2 Robert Morris 21-11, 15-3)
From the beginning this tournament had the look of a two-horse race between the Bobcats of Quinnipiac and Robert Morris Nissan, and when you add in the fact both schools combined for a mere one loss at home in conference, it's hard to imagine any other outcome. But this is March, people. You don't need the zeal of Gus Johnson or the tranquility of Jim Nantz to commence the crazy. Amazing things happen when it's win or go home, and it's all about who's hot at the right time. Which is why you'd be foolish to write off Mount Saint Mary's, winners of 11 straight, gliding on the wings of The Great Virgin (Mary, not Tebow). And if you think a school located in Brooklyn (Long Island) is simply going lie down and take what's coming to them, then you my friend have never been to Brooklyn. Quinnipiac can expect to be tested, and at the least, gentrified. Official Conference Site
Stay tuned. More to come later, including: -Robert Morris: A Gentleman and a Baller? -LIU vs LIT: bracketology meets mixology -Quinnipiac: from struggling summer camp to the cusp of the Big Dance Plus, Andy Rooney.