By Matt Noonan
With the college basketball season in Massachusetts slowly hitting the halfway point, it’s time to provide a few thoughts on what’s occurred in the Div. III world thus far.
* I’m not sure if this is a total shocker, but the WPI men’s basketball team is 10-0. They’ve managed to pullout a few impressive wins against Fitchburg State, Husson College and Rhode Island College, and will attempt to keep their perfect mark intact when they host Colby-Sawyer on Sunday, December 30.
* As usual, Amherst College remains one of the top squads in the country, as well as New England. The Lord Jeffs are currently 8-2, and riding a two-game winning streak. Amherst will attempt to keep their winning ways going over the next few weeks when they travel to four different institutions before returning home for a contest against Hamilton College on January 11.
* The NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) men’s basketball conference currently has three teams with eight wins (Amherst, Middlebury and Williams). As expected, all three teams will be in the running for a conference crown, but which one is the strongest unit? I’d probably say Amherst due to their depth, but let’s not count out the Ephs or Panthers.
* Jim O’Brien must have done something during the offseason, as his Emerson College Lions men’s basketball team is currently 4-4. The Lions have won two-of-three GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) games, but know their biggest test will occur on January 19, against Albertus Magnus.
* The GNAC women’s conference seems like a toss-up, but luckily its only December. Emmanuel College hasn’t played a single conference game, but has managed to win eight-of-night contests. The Saints only setback came against Amherst College, but luckily they’ve been able to rebound with two back-to-back victories against Endicott College and Salem State.
* Babson College and Smith College both have eight wins. Yet, the Beavers haven’t lost this season. The Pioneers only loss came against RPI, but ever since they’ve won six consecutive games. Both teams will meet twice in 2013, and it’ll be interesting to see if Lynn Hersey’s squad can overcome their past NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) championship losses.
* Tufts University’s women’s team has been on a roll. The Jumbos have won all nine of their contests and will attempt to earn their 10th win against Connecticut College on Monday, December 31. Are the Jumbos for real? Tufts’ has always been a tough team to beat, and this year they certainly have been impressive.