In what has fast become a yearly preseason tradition here at Blackbirds Hoops Journal, it is time to dust off the old abacus and tabulate all the NEC preseason polls and figure out who is the consensus pick to win the league in 2014-15.
This is our third annual poll where I will take all public NEC polls made by various college basketball preview magazines and publications, major college basketball websites, the bloggers who follow the NEC day-to-day, year-in and year-out and of course the NEC coaches themselves.
This season I was able to obtain thirteen different sources for use of this season’s consensus poll (down from 15 last season) and they are:
1. Sporting News College Basketball Preview Magazine
2. Lindy’s College Basketball Preview Magazine
3. Athlon’s College Basketball Preview Magazine
4. NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk NEC Preview
5. ESPN.com Insider’s NEC Preview written by Big Apple Bucket’s Ryan Peters
6. www.midmajormadness.com on SB Nation
7. Daly Dose of Hoops NEC Preview
8. robertmorris.rivals.com’s (Colonials Corner) Lee Kunkel
9. robertmorris.rivals.com’s (Colonials Corner) Chris Cappella
10. Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (added for the first time this season)
11. The NEC Men’s Preseason Coaches Poll
13. Yours truly, Blackbirds Hoops Journal’s NEC Preview
As I did last season, I went about calculating the consensus in two ways. First, I went by just taking every source’s NEC prediction and then averaging out the total for each team. So for example, if Bryant was picked third by someone that would be mean get a three, if Mount St. Mary’s was picked sixth they would get a six and so on and so forth.
Second, I also did a consensus poll where I removed one highest and one lowest prediction from each team. This way, it should give a more accurate assessment of how the consensus felt about each team.
This year, both methods yield the same order in their consensus with very little differences in the team’s total calculations.
With that said, here is what the final 2014-15 NEC Consensus Poll looks like using all sources in the tabulations (total first-place votes are in parenthesis):
1. Robert Morris (6) – Average Rank: 2.07
2. St. Francis Brooklyn (4) – Average Rank: 2.30
3. Central Connecticut (2) – Average Rank: 3.69
4. Bryant – Average Rank: 4.07
5. Saint Francis U. (1) – Average Rank: 4.30
6. Mount St. Mary’s – Average Rank: 5.15
7. Wagner – Average Rank: 6.69
T-8. LIU Brooklyn – Average Rank: 8.46
T-8. Sacred Heart – Average Rank: 8.46
10. Fairleigh Dickinson – Average Rank: 9.38
Here are some of the fun facts uncovered in the NEC Consensus Poll:
– Robert Morris beat out St. Francis Brooklyn in first-place votes gathering six. Four different teams received at least one first-place votes with Saint Francis U. being the lowest first-place vote getter in fifth.
– Robert Morris didn’t receive any picks lower than fourth so everyone predicted they will at least host one NEC tournament game at the end of the season.
– The lowest prediction any of the top four consensus teams received was a seventh-place vote in CCSU got from Blue Ribbon.
– No team got a majority of any one particular rank. RMU (1st), Wagner (7th), LIU Brooklyn (8th), FDU (9th & 10th) each got 6 six votes of their most frequent ranking in the parentheses.
– FDU received all 9th and 10th-place votes with the exception of Blue Ribbon who picked them to finish eighth.
– For the second year in a row, Bryant didn’t receive any first-place votes yet once again finished in fourth place in the consensus poll.
– Wagner received mostly 7th and 8th-place votes with the exception of a 3rd-place vote from Blue Ribbon and a 4th-place vote from kenpom.
– For the first-time, there was a tie as LIU Brooklyn and Sacred Heart’s consensus averages tied them for eighth which is the final spot for the NEC tournament.
– Blue Ribbon is this year’s wild card among the consensus sources. They gave Bryant (their only second-place vote) and Wagner (their only third-place vote) their highest ranking while giving CCSU (their only seventh-place vote) their lowest ranking of all the sources included. They were at least two spots off on seven of the ten NEC teams in the consensus poll.
– Last season, the NEC coaches biggest miss in their coaches poll in comparison to the consensus was with Mount St. Mary’s who ended up being the NEC tournament champions. This season, the NEC coaches biggest miss compared to the consensus poll could be with either Bryant or Sacred Heart with spots which are two spots better than the what the NEC Coaches predicted them to finished. Pretty much, the NEC coaches either matched the consensus or were within one spot of what the consensus had.
– St. Francis Brooklyn actually received two fifth-place selections from both Lindy’s and Blue Ribbon, two preseason publications.
– CCSU had the biggest disparity between highest and lowest vote (1 & 7), Saint Francis U. had the second biggest disparity (1 & 6).
– Big Apple Buckets’ Ryan Peters with his ESPN Insider picks came the closest to matching the consensus poll picks. He either matched or was within one of every consensus pick.