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Dec 14, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds forward Jerome Frink (33) dribbles in the second half against Minnesota Gophers forward Eric Curry (24) at Williams Arena. Minnesota won 76-66. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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Northeast Conference Tournament Preview and Predictions


February 28, 2017

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It is a great time to be a fan of NCAA basketball. Conference tournaments are about to get into full swing, with the Atlantic Sun already underway. Today will see the Big South Conference tip-off, followed by three more on March 1st. One of those three will be the Northeast Conference.

While most conference play in the typical bracket format, the Northeast does things a little differently. Instead of following the normal format, teams are re-seeded after each round. Therefore, Mount Saint Mary’s, who owns the one seed, will get the weakest opponent possible in their first two games, assuming they can win round one. With eight teams in the mix, we will see three rounds in total.

Things will tip-off on Wednesday, March 1st. The semi-finals will then take place on March 4th. Then to close things out, a champion will be rewarded an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament on March 7th. You can check out the seedings and bracket below.


(1) Mount Saint Mary’s
(2) LIU Brooklyn
(3) Wagner
(4) Saint Francis
(5) Bryant
(6) Fairleigh Dickinson
(7) Robert Morris
(8) Sacred Heart

So to start things off, we have Mount Saint Mary’s taking on Sacred Heart. Unlike most one seeds, this is not going to be a cakewalk. While I am not high on Sacred Heart, I simply think Mount Saint Mary’s has played over their heads. Since these small conferences are always full of upsets, I am going with one right off the bat. I’ll take Sacred Heart 72-70.

This will give LIU Brooklyn the chance to become the top dog in this tournament if they can take down Robert Morris. While they are far from a perfect team, they will have enough to advance to the second round. Their best quality is their ability to create possessions. That will be the biggest difference in this one as LIU Brooklyn wins it 70-66.

Moving on down the line, we have Fairleigh Dickinson going toe-to-toe with number three Wagner. Wagner is not that great shooting the ball, but they can ramp it up on defense when they need to. Luckily for them, Fairleigh Dickinson should not be much of a threat. I will take Wagner, 75-69.

The first round closes out with the four-five matchup. Saint Francis will be going up against Bryant for the right to take on Wagner. Saint Francis is probably one of the most over-seeded teams in all of these conference tournaments. I simply cannot find a reason to pick them to win this one. So while Bryant is not going to tear the house down, I will go with them 72-71.

Opening the semi-finals we have LIU Brooklyn taking on round one’s biggest surprise, Sacred Heart. But unfortunately for Sacred Heart, this is where their journey will come to an end. LIU Brooklyn will once again use their ability to create possessions to earn a victory and a chance in the title game. But it will still be closer than most would expect, 71-70.

So who will get the chance to take on LIU Brooklyn, Wagner or Bryant? Well, the answer to that question is quite simple. Wagner will have no issues in dispatching of Bryant. Bryant will not be able to get much going on the offensive end, leading to a fairly ugly game. Give me Wagner 77-69.

Time to find out who gets that auto-bid! The two seed LIU Brooklyn will go up against the three seed Wagner. Overall this is a fairly weak conference, as I do not see either team being much of a threat come the NCAA Tournament. The winner will either be looking at either a 15 or 16 seed. And that team will be Wagner, who just get past the two seed by a score of 69-68.

So what do you think? Who will come out of the Northeast Conference Tournament on top? Will Mount Saint Mary’s be able to avoid an upset and earn the conference’s bid into the Big Dance? Tell us in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Northeast Conference Tournament Preview and Predictions

    1. Thanks for reading John! In most cases, that would be true, but not in the Northeast Conference. As I stated in the article, they essentially re-seed after the first round, and the highest remaining seed gets the lowest remaining seed. So in my scenario, since the 8 seed is winning, they automatically will get the lowest remaining seed, which would be the 2 LIU Brooklyn. If the 1 Mount St Marys wins, then they get the lowest remaining seed, meaning if either the 7 or 6 wins, they would get them over the winner of the 4/5 game. So I’m not an idiot, I just know how this tournament is structured differently. Thanks again for reading.

  1. Hi Ken,

    Not sure how much you watch the NEC, but I wouldn’t say the Mount has “played over their heads”, in collecting a 14-4 conference record. I would agree the NEC has a lot of parity which makes the conference great (as evidence in your 1 out of 4 correct picks), but watching the Mount’s program develop under coach Christian the past few years, they have built a great team identity and by no means have been lucky in this season’s success. And by evidence of that, so much for the 1/8 upset in your prediction.

  2. Hi Ken,

    I am not sure how much NEC basketball you watch, but I would hardly say the Mount “played over their heads this season”. I agree the NEC has a lot of parity, which what makes the conference great to watch (as evidence of your 1 for 4 first round predictions). But coach Christian over the past few seasons has given the Mount a great team identity and purpose, and their 14-4 conference record is hardly because of playing over their heads, and due to all of that hard work. So much for your 1/8 upset…

    1. Thanks for reading Ed! I’ll admit I did not get to watch as much NE games as I’d like, but since I am covering all of the conference tournaments, I wanted to be bold in some places. I am a big numbers guy and the numbers simply told me Mount was beatable. In the end, they won by 3. A 1 vs 8 game should be more of a blowout, so even though my prediction did not come true, Sacred Heart did stay close. Certainly missed the ball on these games in terms of winners in the first round, but hey that’s why they are only predictions! Thanks again for reading and enjoy the rest of the tournaments and previews!

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