Mass. College Hoops: NESCAC Preview (LINKS)

By Matt Noonan 

Our preseason basketball coverage continues with more links from the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Three teams from Massachusetts (Amherst, Tufts and Williams) compete in this conference, so those are the links we’ve provided below.

Men’s Basketball

* Amherst College — After securing their fifth consecutive NESCAC crown, the Lord Jeffs season concluded in the third round of the March Madness tournament against Franklin & Marshal. This year, expect great things from  Aaron Toomey and Willy Workman, as well as Peter Kaasila and David Kalema. Amherst has a great deal of depth, which will certainly come in handy against Brandeis and Williams.

* Tufts University — Bob Sheldon knows what it takes to be successful, especially in a very competitive conference. Last season, the Jumbos concluded their campaign with 16-9 record, as well as a quarterfinal loss in the NESCAC tournament to Bates College. So, after this season last year, it’s expected that the men sporting the blue and white will be hungry for more wins this winter.

* Williams College — The Ephs will begin another season tomorrow when they host the Williams Tip-Off Tournament. Their first game is against So. Vermont. Williams will rely heavily on senior co-captains Nate Robertson and James Klemm.

Women’s Basketball

* Amherst CollegeThe 2012-13 season will certainly be an interesting one for the Lord Jeffs. Caroline StedmanLem Atanga McCormick and Kim Fiorentino all graduated, so that means some new players will have to step-up and fill the void immediately.

* Tufts University — Nine Letter-winners will anchor the Jumbos this season following their second straight trip to the March Madness tournament. Expect great things from Kate Barnosky and Bre Dufault this season.

* Williams College — Pat Manning knows that NESCAC is a tough conference year in and year out. So, to counter their competition, the Ephs will rely heavily on their senior class this winter.

Massachusetts College Basketball – Division III Poll

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s officially time to unveil our weekly Division III Massachusetts hoops poll. Here’s some the teams that have experienced a great deal of success over the past few weeks, as well as a few squads that have either dipped or been added.

As usual, we encourage fans, athletes, coaches and spectators to email us their thoughts toward our polls and college basketball coverage, (NoontimeSports@gmail.com).

Men’s Basketball  

1.) Amherst College [3-0] (Last Week No.1) – For the third week in a row, the Lord Jeffs remain atop our poll, and will look to keep their three-game winning streak alive on Tuesday evening when they travel to Lasell College. Afterward, Amherst will head to Springfield College for the Pioneer Classic, and wins against the Pride and Owls of Westfield State would be rather impressive.

2.) MIT [5-0] (Last Week No. 2) – The Engineers are fast, athletic and certainly, the real deal. Against Suffolk University this past weekend, junior Mitchel Kates helped MIT secure the Engineers fifth win of their season. After the game, head coach Larry Anderson described Kates as MIT’s equivalent of Tom Brady. The Engineers will look to keep their winning ways going against Emerson College on Tuesday.

3.) Williams College [3-1] (Last Week No. 3) – The Ephs have rebounded quite well since losing their second game of the season to Salem State. Two back-to-back wins have helped Williams keep pace with Amherst, but a win against RPI on Tuesday is somewhat a must, especially since MIT beat them earlier this month.

4.) Babson College [6-0]  (Last Week No. 5) – The Beavers jumped up to the fourth spot in our poll after finishing their November slate undefeated. Former Milton High School guard Marcus McDermott has been a major reason Babson College has experienced a great deal of success, especially since he leads the squad with 78 points. The Green and White will hit the road for three critical contests before returning home to face Amherst College.

5.) WPI [4-0] (Last Week No. 4) – Freshman Marco Coppola has been the spark behind WPI’s four game winning streak, especially since he’s recorded 70 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 rebounds over the past few weeks. The Engineers will resume play on Thursday when they travel to Lasell College.

Women’s Basketball:

1.) Amherst College (No. 1) – The Lord Jeffs continue to be the number one women’s squad to watch this season, and certainly, they can remain atop our poll with three more wins against Keene State, Lehman and Emmanuel. Also, Shannon Finucane, Kim Fiorentino and Lem Atanga McCormick led Amherst with 11 points each against Mount Holyoke last week.

2.) Williams College [4-0] (No. 2) – Wins against Springfield College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were important, but now, the Ephs need to prepare themselves for a talented Bridgewater State squad that could hand them their first loss of the season. We’ll see what happens, but expect the Ephs to beat the Bears on Friday, and keep their undefeated streak alive.

3.) Babson College [3-1] (No. 3) – It’s been nine days since Judy Blinstrub’s squad has played a game, but on Wednesday, they’ll return to action against a struggling WPI squad in Worcester. Consider this a must-win, especially so the Beavers can begin to distance themselves in the NEWMAC, (New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference) standings.  

4.) Smith College [4-0] (No. 5) – The Pioneers keep on winning, and can end the month of November undefeated with a victory against Mount Holyoke College. Rosa Drummond has been a major part of the team’s success, and has recorded 74 points, 24 rebounds, and 11 steals over the past few weeks. Also, Ellie Giles has helped the Pioneers in the rebounding department, as she’s snagged 33 boards, (8 offensive, 25 defensive), as well as leads the team with six blocks.

5.) Fitchburg State [5-0] (Last Week/Not Ranked) – Three of their five wins have come on the road against Curry College, University of Massachusetts (Boston), and Nichols College, but victories against Clark University and Maine Maritime are quite impressive and won’t go unnoticed. Sophomore forward Amy Fahey is averaging 28.4 points and 9.8 rebound per game, and is certainly one of the reasons why the Falcons have experienced a great deal of success thus far.