College Basketball Resurgence in New England

Posted: November 25, 2013 by ericbernsen in NCAAB, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

It has been an exciting start to the College Basketball season as there have already been plenty of top-tier match-ups for us to watch. In one night alone there were at least 5 or 6 potential NBA lottery picks playing when Kansas took on Duke and Kentucky played Michigan St. However, one area that has been somewhat of a surprise is the Northeast, a region not usually known for its college basketball powerhouses. Let’s take a look at the teams that have been playing great basketball in the first couple of weeks, some who are still under the radar and others who are beginning to get acknowledged on the national scene.

UConn: No. 13 ranked UConn is an exception to the above having been an elite program for quite some time now. The Huskies are 6-0 to start the year and have some solid wins against Maryland, BC and Indiana in the beginning stages of this season. The most exciting of those was the victory over Indiana to win the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden. Guard Shabazz Napier had a huge game against the Hoosier scoring 27 points and impressing everyone in the building with his clutch shot making ability. Napier is one of those guys who is a game changer and has the ability to lead UConn to a potential Final Four this year. The Huskies have an experienced squad and head coach Kevin Ollie is coming into his own after being the successor to the legendary Jim Calhoun.

UMass: UMass has come out of the gates strong this year with a 6-0 record and have earned Top 25 National ranking (24th) after defeating Clemson and winning the Charleston Classic. Along with beating Clemson, the Minutemen have wins against a number of solid programs such as New Mexico, BC, LSU, and Nebraska. UMass has a veteran team that starts 3 seniors and 1 junior who play at a fast and pressuring pace which is tough for some opponents to handle. Senior guard Chaz Williams has been a standout along with Cady Lalanne who was named the tournament MVP this past weekend in Charleston. This team led by head coach Derek Kellogg is definitely for real and should be considered a serious Top 25 member.

Providence: The Friars are another team has is undefeated so far this season with a 6-0 record. The Friars are currently participating in the Paradise Jam tournament in Puerto Rico where they have already beaten Vanderbilt and LaSalle. They will take on Maryland tonight to see if they can advance to the tournament championship, which will be another big test. The team defeated BC earlier this season as head coach Ed Cooley has taken great strides with this program the past couple of years. Senior guard Bryce Cotton has been key man for Providence so far averaging 17.5 points. Keep an eye out for the Friars as they are primed to make some noise this year and may surprise some people come March.

Northeastern: Although the Huskies are only 2-4, they made some national news when they upset Georgetown in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic after erasing an 11-point halftime deficit. Northeastern also just narrowly lost to Florida St. by a score of 62-60 in a game that came down to the last seconds. Scott Eatherton was named to the Tip-Off Classic all-tournament team and was the only player in the tournament to average a double-double. We will see how the rest of the season plays out, but head coach Bill Coen has to be proud of his team’s effort so far.

Harvard: Although Harvard has not faced the strongest of schedules this year, the Crimson are off to a 4-1 start this year as they hope to represent the Ivy League in March Madness. Harvard now has a reputation of being a “sleeper” team, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the rest of their non-conference schedule.

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