Heading into play on Saturday, there are two big men’s hoops games to keep an eye on. First place Long Island (9-2 NEC) takes on a rejuvenated Quinnipiac (7-4 NEC) group in Brooklyn on Saturday for a 4:30 pm tipoff. That same evening, two-time defending NEC champion Robert Morris (6-5 NEC) plays host to second place Central Connecticut State (8-3 NEC) at 7:30 pm.If past performance is any indication, these games will be played a two completely different speeds.
Long Island (81.9 ppg) and Quinnipiac (73.5 ppg) are the two highest scoring teams in the conference. The last time they hooked up was in the 2010 NEC semifinals when the Bobcats advanced to the title game with an 83-78 victory in Hamden despite 33 points from LIU’s Jaytornah Wisseh.On the other end of the spectrum, CCSU (65.0 ppg) and Robert Morris (65.3 ppg) rank one-two in the NEC in scoring defense. The two teams also met in last year’s NEC playoffs, with the Colonials ousting the Blue Devils, 71-63, in a game that was a nip-and-tuck battle until the game’s final two minutes. These games take on additional meaning due to the potential tiebreaker implications come the postseason. In both cases, these are the lone meetings between the teams this season. The winner of each contest will have a leg up should the teams finish deadlocked at year’s end. Number Crunching – LIU has won three in a row and 11 of its last 12 games. – CCSU has won five in a row and 11 of its last 13 games. – Quinnipiac has won three straight since the return of reigning NEC Player of the Year Justin Rutty, by an average margin of 14.0 ppg. – After losing three of four, Robert Morris returned home and Thursday to beat Bryant, 91-38. The 53-point margin of victory tied for the largest in league history. The Colonials are 7-1 at home on the year.