News and Notes Around the NEC: August 14

-Last week, Fairleigh Dickinson released an announcement of their ’12-’13 non-conference opponents. Don’t get this confused with an actual schedule release like mostly every other school is doing, FDU just named who they are playing non-conference and gave only three specific dates of games. Very odd of them to not announce all the dates along with the opponents.

– Today, Monmouth released their complete ’12-’13 men’s basketball schedule and King Rice has scheduled tough in his second year. The Hawks have playing FOUR BCS teams including one at home (at Notre Dame, at Syracuse, at Maryland, vs Villanova). Monmouth have 4 non-conference homes games but two of them are versus Hofstra and ‘Nova plus they have a home game versus always tough-playing Lafayette. The Hawks’ December schedule is absolutely insane with three straight BCS opponents plus Fordham from A-10 before they start NEC play at Wagner. Monmouth didn’t get many breaks in the conference schedule either having to play home and home with this season’s NEC powers Robert Morris, Wagner and LIU Brooklyn. Overall, they have the toughest schedule of any of the NEC teams thus far.

– In more Monmouth news, Monmouth’s senior point guard Jesse Steele was listed on the Bleacher Report’s list of College Basketball’s Best Player at every height. He was picked as the best player at 5’8″. Steele who also just recently received a scholarship for his senior year after playing the first two seasons at Monmouth as a walk-on, is the Hawks’ best player after averaging 12.6 ppg and 4.1 apg in 32 starts. I have Steele ranked #5 among NEC point guards after Jason Brickman, Velton Jones, Kyle Vinales, Kenneth Ortiz.

– This Thursday, NEC Front Row makes it much-anticipated (at least by yours truly) debut. Early word is, the plan is to stream BOTH non-conference and conference home games for football and basketball. Whether it goes beyond that to other sports I guess is still up in the air. As mentioned before, not every NEC school will be able to stream their games live on the new NEC Front Row because a couple schools have contractual obligations with other providers. We’ll check it all out in a couple of days.

– Yesterday, ESPN’s resident bracketologist Joe Lunardi unveiled his first NCAA Tournament bracket for the 2012-13 season. As far as the NEC goes, he has once again made his preseason pick from the NEC to be the Robert Morris Colonials. This is the second straight season Lunardi has picked RMU as early season favorite to come out of the NEC. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock RMU here. RMU is no doubt a contender to be the NCAA representative from the NEC. My knock is totally on Lunardi. As soon as last season was over last April, Lundari put out bracket on April 16 with his extremely early projections of this upcoming season’s field and who did he pick as his NEC representative even after watching LIU Brooklyn win two straight NEC titles? Robert Morris. Am I missing something here? I know it is just mid-August and there is 80-some days until the college hoops season tips off but I just found it somewhat frustrating that LIU Brooklyn couldn’t get even a courtesy pick as back-to-back NEC champs with nine guys returning and six seniors on the team. Am I being overly sensitive or am I right about this?

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