New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Friday, Jan. 17th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone – hope you are all staying warm on this bone-chilly (and windy) day in Boston.

Did I hear there was some snow in the forecast for tomorrow? When does the warm weather arrive?

Well, while we anxiously wait for temperatures that we had a week ago, let’s dish out a brand new ‘New England Basketball: Weekend Watch’ with some thoughts on a few local D-III games.


Colby College at Middlebury College (Friday, Jan. 17th at 7 p.m.): A battle between our top two teams in this week’s Noontime Top 10 Men’s Basketball Poll.

The Mules of Colby enter the contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak – they extended that streak last weekend with back-to-back wins over Connecticut College and Trinity College. Sam Jefferson is one of two players in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) averaging 22.8 points per game – he will certainly be a player to watch on Friday evening, as well as someone the Panthers will need to locate when he is on the court.

As for the Panthers, they enter this marquee matchup with a 15-1 mark – they lost last weekend to Amherst College but rebounded the following day with a one-point win over Hamilton College. Tommy Eastman highlighted the Blue and White’s win over the Continentals – similar to Jefferson, he will also be a player to watch in this contest.

Noontime’s Prediction: I think the Panthers’ win over Hamilton provided them with some momentum that not only helped them against Albertus Magnus earlier this week but should assist them to make a few more plays than Colby, especially down the stretch. Middlebury will beat Colby, 81-78. 

Tufts University at Amherst College (Saturday, January 18th at 3 p.m.): It may be too early to call this a ‘must-win’ game for both teams, but as two of the top three women’s basketball teams in the NESCAC, this is a VERY important contest.

Since falling to Emmanuel College last month, the Mammoths have won 11-straight – they will attempt to make it 12-straight wins when they host Bates College this evening with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Amherst’s Madeline Eck was named the conference’s player of the week on Monday – she entered the week averaging 15.6 points per game. The senior guard, who has played and started in all 15 games this season, has converted 72.1 percent of her free throws while averaging seven caroms per contest.

First-year coach Jill Pace has enjoyed a very successful start with the Jumbos, who enter this weekend riding a 14-game winning streak. Before Tufts visits Amherst on Saturday, they will travel to Hamilton on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Tufts opened conference play last week with a 78-60 win over Wesleyan University – it was a game that featured a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds by Erica DeCandido. DeCandido will be a player to watch on the Powder Blue and White against the Mammoths on Saturday.

Noontime’s Prediction: This will be a good test for both teams, but Amherst has been impressive since falling to the Saints and should find a way to beat the Jumbos on their home court by a score of 63-57. 


Time for some ‘extra picks’ for the weekend! 

MBB: Tufts (MBB) over Hamilton (Jan. 17th): After falling to Suffolk University earlier this week, the Jumbos will find a way to bounce back against the Continentals before hosting the Mammoths on Saturday afternoon.

MBB: Emmanuel College over Lasell University (Jan. 18th): Coach Danny Lawson and the Saints should continue their recent momentum at home against the Lasers and score their first conference win of 2020.

WBB: Smith College over Emerson College (Jan. 18th): The Pioneers scored an impressive road win earlier this week against the Ephs of Williams College and should be able to continue that momentum on the other side of the state against the Lions.

MBB: Endicott College over Roger Williams (Jan. 18th): The Gulls have rebounded nicely since falling to Nichols College earlier this month with back-to-back wins over Curry College and Gordon College. Look for a big game on Saturday from Keith Brown and Jalen Echevarria.

WBB: Rhode Island College over UMass Boston (Jan. 18th): RIC appears to be the team to beat in the Little East Conference (LEC) – they enter Saturday’s match-up riding an 11-game winning streak. RIC’s Willcia McBorrough will be the player to watch in this contest.

WBB: Westfield State over Bridgewater State (Jan. 18th): After surrendering 101 points to Framingham State last weekend, the Owls have rebounded with some important conference wins over Fitchburg State and Worcester State. Look for Blue and White to extend their current winning streak to three games on Saturday.

WBB: Eastern Nazarene at Mitchell College (Jan. 18th): The Lions appear to be the team to beat (and watch) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – this has the making of a potential postseason preview.


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D3 Basketball: Women’s Top 10 Poll (Monday, Jan. 13th, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Tufts University remained the TOP team in our seventh New England D-III Women’s Basketball Top 10 after winning a trio of games last week, including their conference opener against Wesleyan University. The Jumbos will be on the road this week with contests at Hamilton College on Friday, January 17th and Amherst College on Saturday, January 18th.

The Mammoths of Amherst opened conference play with back-to-back wins over Middlebury College and Williams College to extend their current winning streaks to 10-games. Amherst is in action three times this week, including Tuesday, January 14th when they host Wesleyan.

Similar to Tufts, Bowdoin College enters the week riding an impressive 14-game winning streak, which will be put to the test three times this week against Maine-Presque Isle, Middlebury, and Williams.

WPI joined the poll this week following a few impressive regional wins over Westfield State, Williams, and Western New England. The Engineers will host Middlebury on Tuesday before hopping into conference play eight days later against Clark University.

And finally, Rhode Island College checked-in fifth overall after picking up their tenth-straight win this past weekend against Keene State. RIC visits ninth-ranked Eastern Connecticut on Wednesday for an important conference clash.


New England D-III Basketball Women’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, January 13th, 2020

1. Tufts University 14-0, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Bowdoin College  14-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Amherst College 13-1, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
4. WPI  10-4, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: Not Ranked
5. Rhode Island College 13-1, 6-0 LEC Last Week: No. 8
6. Brandeis University 10-2, 0-1 UAA Last Week: No. 6 
7. Williams College 12-2, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
8. Smith College 13-1, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 5
9. Eastern Connecticut 11-2, 5-0 LEC Last Week: No. 9
10. Western New Eng. 11-3, 4-1 CCC Last Week: No. 7

ON THE RISE: Babson College, Bates College, Emmanuel College, Middlebury College, Springfield College, Trinity College, UMass Boston, University of New England, and Wesleyan University,


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week OneWeek TwoWeek Three|Week Four Week FiveWeek Six 

 

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, Jan. 13th, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Middlebury College remained our TOP team in our seventh New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll after a 2-1 week for the Panthers, which saw the Blue and White beat Hamilton College and Plattsburgh State.

Yes, the Panthers did lose their conference opener to Amherst College, but they were able to turn around one day later and score a one-point win over Hamilton. Both Amherst and Hamilton remained on our weekly poll this week, checking in eighth and ninth, respectively.

Colby College stretched its winning streak to 13-straight, thanks to back-to-back conference wins last weekend over Connecticut College and Trinity College. The Mules visit Middlebury on Friday, January 17th in what should be a very exciting (and interesting) contest.

Babson College remained our third team, despite falling to fourth-ranked Springfield College in their conference opener. The Beavers rebounded with an impressive win on the road against WPI.

Finally, Brandeis University returned to the poll following a 76-71 win over New York University. The Judges, who have won four straight, will look to continue their recent momentum this weekend against both Rochester and Emory.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week Six Poll| Monday, January 13th, 2020

1. Middlebury College 14-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Colby College  13-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Babson College 11-2, 1-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 3
4. Springfield College 11-2, 2-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8
5. Albertus Magnus  11-1, 0-0 GNAC Last Week: No. 4
6. Tufts University 11-2, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
7. WPI 10-3, 1-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 5
8. Amherst College 10-4, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 7
9. Hamilton College 11-3, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 9
10. Brandeis University 9-3, 1-0 UAA Last Week: Not Ranked

ON THE RISE: Endicott College, Nichols College, Rhode Island College, and Western Connecticut 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week One| Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four| Week Five |Week Six

Noontime’s Boston Sports Notebook: Will Tom Brady Return?

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s been just four days since the New England Patriots season concluded, but the setback to the Tennesse Titans doesn’t seem to be on the mind of many these days.

Instead, the biggest issue surrounding our beloved football team is the future of quarterback Tom Brady – will he really leave Boston as a free agent and sign with the Dallas CowboysLas Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Chargers? Or will he stay in New England for one or two more seasons?

The speculation began quickly after the final whistle sounded last Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium as various reporters pressed the long-time signal-caller on his future with the team. Brady didn’t seem interested in discussing future plans. Instead, it appeared as if he wanted to go home and fall asleep. He also didn’t seem interested in reflecting on the entire 2019 season, too, which saw New England win eight-straight contests.

Will or will not, Tom Brady, return to New England will remain at the forefront of social media, blogs, websites, and media outlets going forward. But I have a hunch that Brady returns next season and concludes his career with the Patriots, not another team.

Watching Brady play for the Cowboys or Raiders would just seem strange in my opinion – I, along with other New England fans, would have a hard time seeing the six-time Super Bowl champion donning a different uniform.

I don’t know Brady – I have never covered any of his games, but have enjoyed watching him as both a fan and season ticket holder, and believe he will stick around the area and finish his impressive career as a Patriot, not a Cowboy or Charger. But for Brady to remain with the organization, New England is going to need to acquire some additional pieces on the offensive end so they can compete for a seventh championship next fall.

Brady, who just didn’t seem to have fun this season, needs help. And he certainly knows he can’t win games going forward with just Julian Edelman and James White. He needs receivers and tight ends that are accustomed to winning, but also those that are willing to commit to the process (also known as the ‘Patriot Way.’).

We’re still weeks (and months) away from finding out where Brady is headed, but again, I just have a feeling – yes, a feeling – that he returns for one or two more seasons and leads New England to their seventh (and maybe eighth) Super Bowl.

If Brady wins seven or eight Super Bowls then it will be really hard to say he is not the greatest ever to play football, right?

Noontime’s Quick Thoughts on some Boston sports news (and notes): 

  • The Boston Celtics have been really impressive and fun to watch this season – I think this team is destined for a deep postseason run.

    But after observing some of their previous starts against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, all I can say is the following: they need to play good basketball wire-to-wire, but also not allow mediocre teams dictate the pace of play following the opening tip.

    The Green and White host San Antonio this evening – the Spurs are currently eighth in the Western Conference – and should certainly provide the Celtics with a good test. But a win over the Spurs this evening followed by a victory tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers is a must for a team that didn’t play their best basketball against the Hawks and Wizards. Sure, they beat Atlanta (and the Chicago Bulls one night later), but if I am Brad Stevens, my message would be the following: we dictate the pace of play, not our opponent.

  • Could Alex Cora get suspended for 81 games or the entire 2020 season due to the latest report of the Boston Red Sox stealing signs during their 2018 World Series run?

    I think it is possible – do others?

    This is a bad look for the local nine that did not qualify for the postseason last year and has seemed to take a backseat to bolstering their roster this offseason, so they can compete with some of the best in the American League this season, including the New York Yankees.

  • In case you missed it, the Boston College men’s basketball team scored an impressive (and exciting) win last night over 18th ranked Virginia – hope Bob Whitney enjoyed watching this particular game.

    The win bumps the Eagles record to 9-6 overall and should provide the Maroon and Gold with momentum heading into upcoming contests against Georgia Tech and Syracuse University.

    Duke University remains the top team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) while the Eagles sit two spots below the Blue Devils with a 3-1 league record.


Stay connected with our Noontime Nation Boston Sports coverage on Twitter by following @NS_Boston

D3 Basketball: Women’s Top 10 Poll (Monday, Jan. 6th, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Prior to their initial Monday contest of 2020, the Tufts University women’s basketball team checked-in first overall in our weekly Monday New England D-III women’s basketball Top 10 poll followed by Bowdoin College (second) and Amherst College (third).

Both Bowdoin and Tufts have won 11 consecutive contests – the two squads will meet at the end of the month in Maine. Tufts concluded the month of December with some impressive wins over Christopher Newport and TCNJ, while the Polar Bears ended 2019 with back-to-back victories against Cal Lutheran and Chapman.

Since falling to Emmanuel College early last month, the Mammoths of Amherst have been impressive to watch – the Purple and White have recently scored wins against Chapman, Widener, and Stevens. Amherst will entertain Albertus Magnus on Tuesday, January 7th before visiting Middlebury College on Friday, January 10th and Williams College on Saturday, January 11th.

The Ephs commenced 2020 with a win this past weekend against Skidmore College – prior to their win against the Thoroughbreds, Williams scored wins against Babson College, Delaware Valley, and Ursinus.


New England D-III Basketball Women’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, January 6th, 2020

1. Tufts University 11-0, 0-0 NESCAC Previously: No. 1
2. Bowdoin College  11-0, 0-0 NESCAC Previously: No. 2
3. Amherst College 10-1, 0-0 NESCAC Previously: No. 3
4. Williams College 11-0, 0-0 NESCAC Previously: No. 4
5. Smith College 12-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Previously: No. 7
6. Brandeis University 10-1, 0-0 UAA Previously: No. 5
7. Western New England 9-2, 2-1 CCC Previously: No. 6
8. Rhode Island College 10-1, 3-0 LEC Previously: No. 8
9. Eastern Connecticut 8-2, 2-0 LEC Previously: No. 10
10. Wesleyan University 8-3, 0-0 NESCAC Previously: Not Ranked

ON THE RISE: Middlebury College, Springfield College, Trinity College, UMass Boston, University of New England, and WPI 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week OneWeek TwoWeek Three|Week Four Week Five