News and Notes Around the NEC: October 5

In exactly one week, the 2012-13 college basketball season officially gets underway with the start of practices around the country. With the arrival of October, the start of preview and prediction season has gotten underway. The debates start revving up on which teams will finish where, who will win what awards, who will have good seasons and who won’t. I think this is one of the most fun times of the year. Everyone’s team is 0-0 and everyone gets to state their cases on why a certain team will either be up or down for the year. You might be right, you might be wrong but you are usually always going to find someone who wants to debate you about it, and for me that is the fun of it all. Here is this week’s NEC news and notes:

– Jeff Eisenberg, who writes for The Dagger blog on Yahoo.com has released his 2012-13 NEC Preview. Right now, writers and bloggers alike have to make a an interesting call when they release their NEC previews and projections. Whether or not to factor in or not, the 4 suspended LIU Brooklyn players in their thought process when making their predictions. Eisenberg went with the assumption that the players will make their eventual return to the team which resulted in him going with: 1. LIU Brooklyn 2. Robert Morris 3. Wagner for this Top 3. I think he projected Sacred Heart a bit too high for my liking to finish 5th and St. Francis (NY) way too low at 8th. In a bit of a mild upset, he went with Shane Gibson of Sacred Heart as NEC Player of the Year over Julian Boyd of LIU Brooklyn.

– Jesse Kramer of the Bleacher Report also came out with his 2012-13 NEC Preview. Unlike Jeff Eisenberg, Kramer went in the other direction and went with the assumption that the suspended four of LIU Brooklyn won’t make a return at all this season. With that assumption, he picked LIU Brooklyn to finish in 6th place in the NEC. His Top 3 were: 1. Robert Morris 2. Wagner 3. Quinnipiac. Aside for the LIU Brooklyn projection, there was nothing out of the norm that stood out with Kramer’s NEC standing predictions. Also with no Boyd or Jamal Olasewere of LIU to include in his All-NEC First Team, he went with Jason Brickman of LIU and Alex Francis of Bryant as their replacements. He also went with Shane Gibson as NEC Player of the Year with no Boyd makes a ton of sense. Naofall Folahan, as his NEC Defensive Player of the Year isn’t exactly a stretch but don’t think he will be as deserving of this award of some other players might be by the end of the year.

– Ryan Peters of Big Apple Buckets wrote a great post this week explaining why he feels Monmouth will struggle this season. He goes into great detail giving four big reasons why he feels the Hawks will take a step back this season. Although he makes for a very strong argument with his reasons, I’m not buying what he is selling on this one. I’m actually am a believer of the Hawks doing pretty well this season. I actually feel they can finished anywhere between 4th and 6th. Even though Peters argue they have significant roster turnover, they do return five of their top six scorers from last season. The only significant loss I see is in Mike Myers Keitt. I can’t include Phil Waite into the conversation. Plus four of these five scorers are seniors which gives them even an added incentive to try and go out on good years before calling it a college career. Peters adds that they overachieved for a half of the NEC season. Grant it, the last couple of games they lucked out with the schedule but you can’t fault them for that. In the final game versus LIU Brooklyn where they won by 28 at home, they were getting revenge for a 20 point loss they took at LIU earlier in the season, they had motivation plus LIU had none already clinching the top seed for the NEC tourney. I also think they have enough players on their roster where someone on any given night has the capability of stepping up of being a go-to guy in a close game. I’ll put my money on that player being senior point guard Jesse Steele. I think he is in for a big year. This is one of few things that Peters and I have disagreed on so far.

– Some of the NEC teams have announced their October 12 plans. Wagner is hosting a “Madness before Midnight” event at Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island at 5:30 pm on Friday, October 12. Quinnipiac is hosting a “Bobcats Madness” at the TD Bank Sports Center at 7 pm that same night. Monmouth is having an open practice at 5 pm on October 12 according to Tony Graham of the Asbury Park Press. It is open to the public but you must e-mail Monmouth if you would like to attend. Robert Morris is hosting an open practice on Thursday, October 18 according to a tweet by Andrew Chiappazzi of ColonialCorner.com at RMU’s Sewall Center.

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