It is the final day of July already (where has the summer gone?!) and according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein’s daily countdown, we are currently 64 days until the official start of the new college basketball season on October 3rd.
Summer leagues are either over or nearing an end. Some players are either going to be heading back home for what is left of their summers or staying at school and putting more work in as the season draws near. Before you know it, the new season will be here.
We here at Blackbirds Hoops Journal continue doing our part to get you excited and ready for the upcoming college basketball season with this latest edition of the NEC News Wire.
– On Wednesday, Craig Meyer, who covers RMU basketball for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote a post in his blog evaluating the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am summer league performances of current and incoming RMU players.
RMU returns just six of the eight remaining players from the team that finished in first place in the NEC and appeared in the NEC final before losing to Mount St. Mary’s and returning back to the NIT. It is a good read if you want to get an early idea on the makeup of the 2014-15 RMU Colonials roster.
– Saint Francis University is gearing up for the 2014-15 season by doing some upgrades to their home gym, DeGol Arena. SFU recently completed a new paint job to the inside of their home gym.
Also, SFU added a new scoreboard…
and are about to add a brand new video board.
SFU reached the NEC semifinals in March and could likely be a top three team in the NEC when early season NEC predictions and polls start getting released this fall.
– The NCAA posted last season’s men’s basketball attendance figures for the 2013-14 season. The NEC saw a decline in average home attendance to games last season after producing a record-high average home attendance for the league the season prior.
For the second straight season, LIU Brooklyn led the NEC in average attendance with 2237 fans per game in twelve home games last season even though their average attendance fell by 282 with five fewer home games. LIU definitely has benefitted from playing a few of their home games at the Barclays Center over the past two seasons which is the main reason for their huge attendance numbers of over 2000 even though the Steinberg Wellness Center capacity is 1700.
Half the NEC teams saw an increase in home attendance over the prior season with Robert Morris seeing the biggest increase. Central Connecticut saw the biggest drop with 312 fewer fans even with one more home game.
League-wide the NEC saw their average attendance fall by 166 to 1250 fans per game after seeing an all-time high in average attendance in 2011-12 with 1416 fans per game. Last season was the NEC’s first season without Monmouth and Quinnipiac who left the NEC for the MAAC.
The NEC Tournament (1,571) last season outdrew average-wise both the Patriot League Tournament (1,275) and the WAC Tournament (1,284) and was just 244 fans short average-wise of the MAAC Tournament (1,815) even though the NEC tournament had more fans come to their tournament games (10,999) than MAAC fans turn out for their conference tournament up in Springfield, Massachusetts (9,077).
– The Great Britain senior men’s national team continues on their preparations toward the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers in September with a pair of friendly games against Belgium over this past weekend. Team GB once again dropped the pair of games and are now 0-4 in their friendly games this summer.
Although we couldn’t find a box score from game one on Friday in which Great Britain lost 79-64, we were to track one down from game two on Saturday in which Great Britain lost 104-78. LIU Brooklyn alum Kyle Johnson lead Team GB in scoring off the bench with 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 7 of 8 shooting from the free throw line. St. Francis Brooklyn alum Ben Mockford also appeared in game two playing just over three minutes but didn’t take a shot in the game after not appearing in the game one on Friday.
Great Britain will next play three games in three days as they take on Belarus on Saturday, August 2nd, Georgia on Sunday, August 3rd and then Moldova on Monday, August 4th.