The Northeast Conference tourney this year will likely be all about the Blue Devils- not the ones from North Carolina, the ones from Central Connecticut St. More on the teams and the tourney after the jump, but let’s get the most important part of the Panty Raid out of the way up front… the Hotties! The NEC was average on the talent scale (and by “talent”, I mean “stunningly good looks”), but first place honors go to Sacred Heart‘s Tavio Hobson, who more than makes up for the overall hottie deficiency.
Preseason picks tabbed Monmouth (which is really just a funny-sounding name for a school, isn’t it?) to be the repeat conference champs, but instead those scrappy Central Connecticut State kids have ended the season at the top of the heap (and Monmouth didn’t even make the tourney). Central Conn. St. has the inside track on becoming the NEC representative at the play-in game for the final spot in the Big Dance. This sits well with me, because in addition to winning on the court, the Blue Devils also have put together a pretty good looking team as well.
The same cannot be said for Fairleigh Dickinson, who has no true hottie on the roster. Or Robert Morris, whose team must be so hideous, they wouldn’t even post pictures of the guys. I’m sorely disappointed in the NEC member schools, because clearly they’re selecting kids based on skill, and not hottttness, which I cannot condone.
Other tidbits about the Northeast Conference:
* The NEC has never landed an at-large bid to the Big Dance, and the conference is 2-25 all-time in NCAA Tourney play. This would normally be the point where I would tell you that this year will be different, and give you a Rudy-esque underdog triumph to hope for… but that ain’t gonna happen this year. The NEC will only get one team, their auto-bid to the play-in game.
* In addition to the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut St. (not Duke), there are the Mountaineers of Mount St. Mary’s (not West Virginia) , the Seahawks of Wagner (not Seattle) and the Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson (not Bobby).
* There are also two St. Francis teams to account for- the St. Francis College Terriers, NY (go fightin’ small dogs!), who made the tourney, and the Saint Francis University Red Flash, PA (go made-up red bolt of lightning!), who did not.
* Rex Grossman Award goes to Mount St. Mary’s… the logo says it all.
* Least-threatening mascot of the NEC: the Blackbird of Long Island University (Long Island has a University?). Then again, blackbirds sitting around on playground equipment can be pretty danged intimidating, just ask Hitchcock. No worries for the tourney, though- the Blackbirds aren’t invited.
* St. Francis (NY) had a brief shining moment in the sun earlier in the season, when the vaunted Coach Kalter showed up to guide them:
* Sacred Heart player Ryon Howard has no relation to Phillies’ superstar cutie Ryan Howard. Nor is he as cute.
* Matt Vitale from Wagner also has no relation to Dickie V. Thankfully, Matt is a lot cuter than Dick.
* US Trademark Office-sponsored Logo Award for “Not Quite Trademark Infringement” goes to Quinnipiac, for its “homage” to the Florida Panthers.
Northeast Conference play kicks off today, and you can catch the championship game on ESPN2 at 7:00 pm Eastern on March 7th.