Category: Noontime Basketball

Noontime’s New England Small College Basketball Stories of 2021

Marcus Azor and the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team celebrated a Little East Conference (LEC) championship in March. ((PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s hard to pinpoint some of the best storylines of 2021 when it comes to New England small college basketball, but there have been a few, including two conference championship celebrations in March.

The biggest storyline has been the return to the court — like so many schools, teams, and student-athletes that did not compete this past winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been an exciting few weeks for so many that can finally play and practice again.

Here are a few storylines from the current year worth revisiting — yes, there are quite a few, but these are a few that we will certainly remember next year and beyond.

UMass Dartmouth wins the Little East Conference (LEC) crown: After losing to Eastern Connecticut in overtime in late February, the Corsairs rebounded with three straight wins, including a pair of conference tournament victories over Keene State College (108-68) and Rhode Island College (93-89).

UMass Dartmouth’s impressive victory over the Owls helped the Blue and Gold clinch their first conference crown since 2009.

Marcus Azor was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player — the Brockton, Massachusetts native averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in two postseason contests.

Babson College competes against Harvard University: For the first time since 1996, the Beavers competed against the Crimson in an exhibition contest.

Harvard used a late rally in the second half to defeat Babson, 74-64 — the Green and White led the Crimson, 37-34, at the break.

Babson’s Spencer Cline led all players with 17 points on 6 of 17 shooting, including five of nine from beyond the arc, while Nate Amado recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Harvard leads the all-time series, 6-1, with Babson’s last win coming in 1991.

Jim Calhoun departs the University of Saint Joseph: Following his team’s third contest of the 2021-22 season, coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement from the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) men’s basketball program.

“It’s just the right time,” he said in a statement last month regarding his departure.

The former Division I bench boss with the University of Connecticut guided the Blue Jays to a 47-17 record in three-plus seasons, which included a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship last year to go with a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Calhoun was the program’s first-ever coach — he was succeeded by Glen Miller, who guided the Blue Jays to an exciting 75-62 win over Tufts University two days after the announcement.

Other stories from 2021:

Sounds of the Game: Greater Lowell Tech 47, Somerville 37

Nelsy Sainvil and the Greater Lowell Technical High School boys basketball team scored a season-opening win on Friday against Somerville. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

Sure, we’re posting a few days after the “official” start of the 2021-22 Massachusetts high school basketball season, but we enjoyed filming — and yes, taking photos — of a non-league tilt last Friday between Greater Lowell Technical High School and Somerville.

The Gryphons scored an opening-day win, downing the Highlanders by a score of 47-37.

Fans can visit our Instagram channel (@NoontimeNation) to see a few photos and our postgame reel — we will be posting highlights on reels this winter, so hopefully, you stop by to see what we produce!

Following the conclusion of Friday’s basketball game, we produced our first-ever “Sounds of the Game” video package for our YouTube channel — fans can expect to see more of these throughout the remainder of the high school basketball and hockey season.

We’re excited to produce more of these video packages — consider them an extended uncut version of the game with different angles from underneath the hoop to behind the bench.

So, without further ado, enjoy our first “Sounds of the Game” from last Friday’s non-league basketball meeting below!

Noontime’s New England D3 Women’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Nov. 1, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

The first of November means one thing: college basketball is back!

Indeed, a brand new season of New England NCAA Division III college basketball is set to tip-off this week — are you ready to cheer on your favorite team?

Like we have in the past, Noontime Sports will be producing a weekly New England D-III Top 10 Poll with some help from local media, coaches, and athletic communications offices every Monday throughout the 2021-22 season.

So, without further ado, allow us to share our first New England D-III Women’s Basketball Top 10 Poll, which finds Tufts University in the top spot followed by Bowdoin College second and Amherst College third.

Noontime’s New England D-III Women’s Basketball Top 10 | Monday, November 1, 2021

  1. Tufts University: The last time we saw the Jumbos, they produced an impressive 28-1 record, including a 10-0 mark in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play. We expect their previous success to continue this winter — their first game is is next Saturday, November 13 against Rowan University.

  2. Bowdoin College: Sacha Santimano will coach the Polar Bears for the first time this winter after being named the head coach of the program earlier this year.

  3. Amherst College: Coach G.P. Gromacki and the Mammoths will tip-off their 2021-22 campaign on Friday, November 12 against Oglethorpe University — the game will be played at Gordon College.

  4. Rhode Island College: After capturing the Little East Conference (LEC) regular season and tournament crown this past school year, the Anchorwomen enter the 2021-22 season as a squad to watch — they were picked to win their conference crown this winter.

  5. Smith College: The Pioneers have recorded 20 wins or more in their last three seasons — they will begin their 2021-22 campaign next Monday, November 8 against Castleton University.

  6. Eastern Connecticut: Picked second in the Little East Conference (LEC) preseason coaches poll, the Warriors, who garnered three first-place votes, will begin their season next Tuesday in Babson Park.

  7. Williams College: The Ephs concluded their 2019-20 campaign with 20 wins and eight losses — it was one of the better season for Williams since posting a 20-7 mark during the 2014-15 school year. Williams will host Skidmore College next Friday, November 13 at 2 p.m.

  8. Babson College: The Beavers won every game they played this past winter, including their initial game in January against UMass Dartmouth (66-64). Babson will begin its season next Tuesday, November 9 against Eastern Connecticut before heading to the Middlebury Tournament next weekend.

  9. Springfield College: Springfield competed once this past school year — they beat Wheaton College, 56-47 — and will once again be a team to watch in the New England and Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The Pride tip-off their season on Friday, November 5 against RPI.

  10. Endicott College: Sure, the Gulls were picked to finish third in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) preseason poll, but they will certainly be a team to watch this winter. They will begin their 2021-22 season at home next Saturday, November 13 against Rhode Island College.

Others receiving votes: Emmanuel College, MIT, Roger Williams, Trinity College, and UMass Dartmouth

Noontime’s New England D3 Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Nov. 1, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

The first of November means one thing: college basketball is back!

Indeed, a brand new season of New England NCAA Division III college basketball is set to tip-off this week — are you ready to cheer on your favorite team?

Like we have in the past, Noontime Sports will be producing a weekly New England D-III Top 10 Poll with some help from local media, coaches, and athletic communications offices every Monday throughout the 2021-22 season.

So, without further ado, allow us to share our first New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll, which finds Tufts University in the top spot followed by St. Joseph’s (Conn.) and Brandeis University.

Noontime’s New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 | Monday, November 1, 2021

  1. Tufts University: The Jumbos concluded their 2019-20 season with 23 wins and six losses — they also advanced to the third round of the 2020 NCAA Division III Tournament. They will tip-off their 2021-22 campaign against UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 p.m.

  2. St. Joseph’s (Conn.): The Blue Jays won two of four contests last winter after posting a program-best 26 wins one year earlier. St. Joseph’s will open their season on Saturday, November 6 against Maine-Augusta.

  3. Brandeis University: When we last saw the Judges compete, they finished with 17 victories, including nine conference wins. They will tip-off their season next Thursday, November 11 against Rivier University.

  4. WPI: Picked to win the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), the Engineers will begin their season at home on Friday, November 5 against Worcester State.

  5. Colby College: The Mules won four games last season — they also produced a 24-4 campaign during the 2019-20 season. They will open their season against New England College on Friday, November 12.

  6. Babson College: The Beavers will host the Babson Invitational this weekend — they will compete against UMass Boston on Saturday, November 6 and Suffolk University on Sunday, November 7.

  7. Albertus Magnus: Coach Mitch Oliver and the Falcons will tip-off their season on Tuesday, November 16 against Rutgers-Camden before welcoming Keene State to New Haven, Connecticut on Tuesday, November 23 at 7 p.m.

  8. Amherst College: A new era of Amherst College basketball will begin Sunday, November 14 when first-year coach Marlon Sears leads the Mammoths into their first game at Rosemont College.

  9. Middlebury College: The Panthers will certainly be a team to watch (again) this winter — the Blue and White will open their season in Boston, Massachusetts with a non-conference tilt with Wentworth Institute of Technology on Sunday, November 14.

  10. UMass Dartmouth: After winning the Little East Conference (LEC) crown in March, the Corsairs were picked to win the league again this winter.

Others receiving votes: Emerson College, Endicott College, Keene State, MIT, Nichols College, Springfield College, Western Connecticut, and Williams College

Yale University Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale University will enter the 2021-22 college basketball season as the favorite in the Ivy League. (Photo Courtesy: The Ivy League)

By Matt Noonan

The Yale University men’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the Ivy League, according to today’s preseason media poll that the was unveiled earlier today.

Yale garnered seven first place votes while Harvard University, which checked in second, secured four first place votes.

Also receiving first place votes were Princeton University (two), the University of Pennsylvania (two), and Brown University (two). All three teams checked-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Columbia University rounded out the eight-team poll by securing the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions.

Yale ended its 2019-20 campaign with a 23-7 record, which was good enough for the top spot in the Ancient Eight – their last outing, however, was an 83-69 setback to Harvard.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to compete in the opening round of the 2020 Ivy League Tournament against the Quakers of Pennsylvania, which secured the fourth seed. The game was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach James Jones welcomes back some key pieces from the 2019-20 Bulldogs squad, including Azar Swain, who set a single-season school record of 93 three-pointers.

Swain is a Brockton, Massachusetts native and previous competed for The Rivers School where he was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Jalen Gabbidon is also back for his final season with the Navy Blue and White after being named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native tied for fourth in the league with 40 steals and was one of only two Bulldogs to start all 30 games.

Yale will tip-off its 2021-22 season on Tuesday, November 9 at home against Vassar College before welcoming UMass to New Haven, Connecticut three days later (November 12).