Cinderella NY-area teams starting NCAA Tournament chase

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 04 Maret 2015 | 18.18

Conference tournaments begin this week, marking the most exciting and unjust time of the year.

While favorites enter knowing that four months of success can be erased in a few hours, teams with no reason to believe will see their NCAA Tournament dreams revived.

Here's a look at the non-Big East teams in the New York City area hoping to reach the Big Dance:

St. Francis Brooklyn (21-10, 15-3 NEC)

RPI: 165

Regular-season recap: The Northeast Conference favorites bounced back from an 0-5 start to claim the regular-season title for the first time in 11 years.
Best win: 72-64 vs. Columbia (Dec. 30)

Player to watch: Senior forward Jalen Cannon became the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder this season, averaging a career-high 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: Never

Tournament Odds: 5/2

St. Francis Brooklyn can win it if: The pressure isn't too much. One of only five teams in Division I since 1948 never to have made the NCAA Tournament, the Terriers have received an incredible amount of media attention and are the heavy favorites to win, playing every NEC Tournament game at home.

Up next: The top-seeded Terriers host rival LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday (7 p.m.).

Iona (24-7, 17-3 MAAC)

RPI: 53

Regular-season recap: The Gaels won their third regular-season championship in four years, featuring the seventh-highest scoring offense in the nation.

Best win: 85-81 at Wake Forest (Nov. 21)

Player to watch: Ultra-versatile senior forward David Laury is the lone legitimate paint presence on a team full of phenomenal shooters, averaging 20.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2013

Tournament Odds: 3/1

Iona can win it if: The regular season is relevant. The Gaels dominated the league again, but have failed to win the conference tournament in their past two attempts as a No. 1 seed (2012, 2014).

Up next: Top-seeded Iona plays the winner of No. 8 Siena/No. 9 Niagara in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday (noon) in Albany.

Manhattan (16-13, 13-7 MAAC)

RPI: 188

Regular-season recap: The defending champions lost their top three scorers and seven of their first nine games, but closed strong, winning eight of their past 11.

Best win: 87-76 at Monmouth (Feb. 1)

Player to watch: Senior Emmy Andujar leads the Jaspers in nearly every category, averaging 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals, while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2014

Manhattan's Emmy AndujarPhoto: Andrew Theodorakis

Tournament Odds: 6/1

Manhattan can win it if: Experience matters. Steve Masiello's squad — which nearly upset Louisville in the NCAA Tournament last season — has appeared in the past two MAAC Championship games.

Up next: Third-seeded Manhattan plays the winner of No. 6 Quinnipiac/No. 11 Marist in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday (8 p.m.) in Albany.

Stony Brook (21-10, 12-4 America East)

RPI: 108

Regular-season recap: The Seawolves surpassed 20 wins for the fifth time in six years, entering the America East Tournament on a six-game winning streak.
Best win: 62-57 at then-No. 13 Washington (Dec. 28)

Player to watch: Junior center Jameel Warney won his second straight America East Conference Player of the Year award, averaging 16.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: Never

Tournament Odds: 7/1

Stony Brook can win it if: Home is still no advantage. Losing two of the past three conference title games on their campus, the Seawolves likely will travel for a potential semifinal and title game, with a new tournament format giving home games to higher seeds.

Up next: Third-seeded Stony Brook hosts sixth-seeded Binghamton in the America East Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday (7 p.m.).

Hofstra (19-12, 10-8 CAA)

RPI: 183

Regular-season recap: With a fast-paced offense and an influx of talented transfers, the Pride nearly doubled the previous season's win total, posting their best record in four years.

Best win: 66-65 vs. Stony Brook (Nov. 21)

Hofstra's Juan'ya GreenPhoto: AP

Player to watch: In his first season on Long Island, Niagara transfer Juan'ya Green ranks ninth in the nation with 6.5 assists, while also leading the Pride with 17 points per game.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2001

Tournament Odds: 10/1

Hofstra can win it if: The best are beatable. The Pride went 1-7 in games against the conference's top four teams.

Up next: Fifth-seeded Hofstra plays fourth-seeded James Madison in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday (2:30 p.m.) in Baltimore.

St. Peter's (14-17, 8-12 MAAC)

RPI: 245

Regular-season recap: The Peacocks had unusually high expectations after returning four starters, but continued offensive struggles led to an up-and-down season.

Best win: 68-60 vs. Iona (March 1)

Player to watch: Former Fordham reserve Marvin Dominique has blossomed across state lines, averaging 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2011

Tournament Odds: 40/1

St. Peter's can win it if: (Insert annual St. Peter performing a miracle joke here).

Up next: Seventh-seeded St. Peter's will play 10th-seeded Fairfield in the first round of the MAAC Tournament on Thursday (7 p.m.) in Albany.

LIU Brooklyn (12-17, 8-10 NEC)

RPI: 259

Regular-season recap: With the core of the three-time NEC champions gone, the Blackbirds exceeded expectations with a young team that showed signs of a better future.

Best win: 73-72 (OT) at New Hampshire (Dec. 22)

Player to watch: Icelandic guard Martin Hermannson has the makings of a future star, having averaged 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a tremendously poised freshman.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2013

Tournament Odds: 100/1

LIU Brooklyn can win it if: This is all a dream and it's actually still 2013.

Up next: Eighth-seeded LIU Brooklyn plays at top-seeded St. Francis Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday (7 p.m.).

Wagner (10-19, 8-10 NEC)

RPI: 294

Regular-season recap: After averaging 21 wins over the past three seasons, the Seahawks couldn't overcome losing an accomplished senior class and junior Dwaun Anderson to injury.

Best win: 85-83 (2OT) vs. Mount St. Mary's (Jan. 5)

Player to watch: Senior guard Marcus Burton is the only Seahawk averaging double-digit points, ranking second in the Northeast Conference with 17.5 points.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2003

Tournament Odds: 100/1

Wagner can win it if: Something new occurs. Wagner hasn't won three straight games this season.

Up next: Seventh-seeded Wagner travels to second-seeded Robert Morris in the NEC Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday (7 p.m.).

Fordham (9-18, 4-12 Atlantic 10)

RPI: 228

Regular-season recap: Despite improved recruiting under fifth-year coach Tom Pecora, the Rams still finished with their eighth straight losing season.
Best win: 63-48 vs. La Salle (Feb. 25)

Fordham's Eric PaschallPhoto: AP

Player to watch: Former Dobbs Ferry star Eric Paschall has lived up to the hype in his first season, averaging a team-high 16.5 points, along with 5.6 rebounds.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 1992

Tournament Odds: 1000/1

Fordham can win it if: Other teams cannot control their laughter at the idea of that occurring. The Rams have won one conference tournament game since 2008.

Up next: Wednesday (7 p.m.) vs. Duquesne

Rutgers (10-20, 2-15 Big Ten)

RPI: 157

Regular-season recap: The first season in the Big Ten was as brutal as expected, including a game in which the Scarlet Knights scored 26 points (their lowest in 63 years) and an 11-game losing streak (entering Tuesday).

Best win: 67-62 vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 11)

Player to watch: Senior guard Myles Mack again has been one of the team's few reliable options, averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 1991

Tournament Odds: 1000/1

Rutgers can win it if: Teams from New Jersey are the only eligible participants.

Up next: Saturday (2:15 p.m.) at Michigan

Conference Tournament dates

Northeast Conference: March 4, 7, 10 (at higher seeds)

MAAC: March 5, 7-9 (Albany)

America East: March 4, 8, 14 (at higher seeds)

Colonial Athletic Association: March 6-9 (Baltimore)

Big East: March 11-14 (Madison Square Garden)

Big Ten: 11-15 (Chicago)

Atlantic 10: March 11-15 (Barclays Center)


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