What’s at stake for LIU Brooklyn MBB this week?
For the first time since starting the NEC season at 0-3, LIU Brooklyn has lost two games in a row. It was a very costly two games as it took them from contention of a number one seed for the upcoming NEC tournament to now at risk of not even getting a home game for the first round.
The losses at Mount St. Mary’s and at Wagner eliminated the possibility of the Blackbirds tying Rider (’93-’95) as the only other three straight NEC men’s basketball regular season champions.
Now, the best LIU can hope for now is to be the two seed which is currently occupied by the Bryant Bulldogs. LIU’s last two games are at home this week starting with the game on Thursday against a slumping Sacred Heart team. The Pioneers are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and have lost seven of their last eight games. Then LIU plays their final regular season home game on Saturday afternoon against Quinnipiac which will be Senior Day as LIU recognizes the five departing seniors, four of whom have been part of the back-to-back NEC tournament championships. Quinnipiac lost at Central Connecticut State on Monday but had won six straight and eight out of nine before that.
The Blackbirds need to bounce back with two home wins this week in order to insure themselves of a first round home game as either a two, three or four seed. LIU is currently the five seed. They can rise to as high as a two or fall as low as a six seed. The swing in position is what makes these two upcoming games critical for LIU to win.
Let’s break down some scenarios for LIU.
If LIU goes 2-0: They can do no worst than the four seed and they’ll get at least a first round home game.
1. If both Bryant AND Wagner split their final two games or if they BOTH lose their final two games (Bryant plays a HUGE home game vs Robert Morris on Thursday which is essentially for the NEC regular season championship before finishing with St. Francis University (PA) at home and Wagner’s last two are against 10th place Monmouth and last place FDU on the road, making the likelihood of them losing both very slim), LIU gets the two seed.
2. If Wagner wins their last two games and Bryant splits their last two, Wagner gets the two seed, LIU gets the three seed, Bryant get the four seed and either Quinnipiac or Mount St. Mary’s get the five seed depending on their results.
3. If Bryant and Wagner win both their final two games, LIU will be the four seed.
If LIU splits this week:
1. If they beat Sacred Heart but lose to Quinnipiac, Quinnipiac will jump over LIU in the seeding and LIU could finish anywhere between the four and six seed.
2. If they beat Quinnipiac but lose to Sacred Heart, LIU could finish anywhere between the three and six seed.
If LIU goes 0-2, The Worst-Case scenario: LIU will get either a five seed or a six seed. LIU can’t be any worse than a six seed.
There you have it…I guess.
Bottom line, they need to win out the rest of the season if they still want to make their historic dream of winning three straight NEC tournaments happen and get back to the Big Dance. Since 2004-05, when the NEC went back to home games being played at the higher seeds, no team who didn’t play at least one home game has won it. Only one team who didn’t have any home games has even made it as far as the NEC final (Wagner, six seed, 2005). In the last four NEC tournaments, no team below a three seed has made the NEC final. It behoves LIU to finish in the top four and get as high a seed as possible.