If November is any indication, this is definitely a transitional year for the Northeast Conference. The league finished the first month of the college basketball season with a 14-37 record which is just a .274 win percentage.
Although this wasn’t unexpected after so many great players who helped shattered records in the NEC having graduated and most are playing professional basketball overseas, yet is not easy to watch a league struggle the way the NEC did in November.
Let’s take a look at some of NEC highlights and lowlights that occurred in the month of November:
Highlight: FDU got the biggest win for the NEC in November with an 58-57 win at Saint Joseph’s on opening night of the college basketball season. FDU was given just a five percent chance to win that game and won it on a Mustafaa Jones’ three-pointer with three seconds remaining to pull off the upset.
Lowlight: Mount St. Mary’s lost at home to Maryland-Eastern Shore 53-41. UMES were ranked second to last on KenPom at the time of this game. The Mount were given a 93% win probability to beat UMES. The Mount only scored 11 points in the first half and were to held to 0.71 points/possession for the game.
Highlight: CCSU’s Matt Mobley is the NEC’s only 30-point scorer in November when he went for 30 against Fairfield on opening night in their loss to Fairfield. There were 10 more NEC players who scored at least 20 in a game in November with Mobley going for 20 or more three times. He is currently second in the NEC in scoring at 18.0 ppg trailing Bryant’s Dyami Starks.
Lowlight: Scoring so far is way down among teams in the NEC. There is not a team cracking 70 points/game. Right now, there are just six NEC teams breaking the 60 ppg mark with St. Francis Brooklyn leading the NEC in scoring currently with 65.8 ppg. Just to give a prospective, nine of the ten NEC teams scored 69 ppg or more with five teams scoring at least 71.5 ppg. Four NEC teams are currently scoring under 60 ppg.
Highlight: The NEC only won one game that would be considered a signature victory but the NEC did come close on a couple of occasions to adding a couple more. LIU Brooklyn were three seconds away from the NEC’s second win over Saint Joseph’s but a late game-tying three pointer by St. Joe’s took the game to overtime and St. Joe’s ended up prevailing. St. Francis Brooklyn were tied with Rutgers with 46 seconds remaining but couldn’t convert on a couple of opportunities late and lost a three-point game.
Lowlight: St. Francis Brooklyn who picked by many to be the preseason favorite to win the NEC this season, got off to a tough start at 0-5 with losses to Georgetown, Army, Rutgers, LaSalle and Norfolk State although three of those losses were by less than three points. The Terriers finally broke through with a 59-57 victory over Tennessee Tech for their first win of the season. CCSU who were picked second are 0-6 (more on them in the next lowlight). RMU who was picked to finish third, are just 2-4 with wins over Bradley and Louisiana-Monroe.
Lowlight: No team is having a tougher start to their season than CCSU. They went 0-6 in November and the closest they were to a win was a five-point loss to Bethune-Cookman who are ranked 340 on KenPom at the time they played. Add on the fact now that senior Kyle Vinales will not return to the team this season after his arrest in October and this is not the start to their season head coach Howie Dickerman had envisioned coming in.
Highlight: There is a nice young freshman class in the NEC this season and a lot of them are having an early impact on their teams in the first month of the season. Two freshmen (RMU’s Marcquise Reed & FDU’s Darian Anderson) are averaging 10 points/game. LIU’s Nura Zanna (6.3 rpg) is fifth in the NEC in rebounding. LIU’s Elvar Friðriksson is first in the NEC in assists (4.5 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio at 6:1.
While there wasn’t a great deal of wins in November, there were things to take away from the first month of the season. Now, the NEC will get to play some more home games in December so we should see the conference’s record pick up and there are still plenty of big win opportunities that will be available. Hopefully, December will get things turned around for the NEC.