Noontime’s Senior Salute: Eric Savage (Tufts University)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our Noontime Senior Salutes continue with honoring Eric Savage, who guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team to its first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Championship last month, along with a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament wins.

DSC_3631

Eric Savage helped Tufts University win a pair of NCAA Tournament games last month, as well as the program’s first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Dan Saunders)

Savage, who started all 29 contests this past season, netted his 1,000th career point last November during the Jumbos’ 96-65 win over Lasell University before drilling the game-tying basket during the final seconds of the second half months later against Colby College in the NESCAC Tournament Finals. The game-tying basket provided the Powder Blue and White with enough momentum to outlast the Mules, 102-94, in double-overtime and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

After helping his team rally to beat Western Connecticut in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, Savage scored 19 points on 5 of 11 shooting to go with seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal against RPI in the second round.

An economics major from South Brunswick, New Jersey, Savage averaged 15.8 points per game this past season along with 6.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He scored 1,408 points in 105 games while tallying 615 rebounds, 290 assists, and 126 steals.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

Winning our first-ever NESCAC (Tournament) Championship.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?

Our entire postseason run, both our conference tournament and the first NCAA weekend were extremely memorable. Being able to host (all five postseason games) on our home court in front of our families, friends, and fans were awesome. The energy in Cousens Gymnasium was electric and we were able to win all five contests, which made it all the more special.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Tufts men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

The friendships and relationships I have built over the last four years mean so much and are so special to me. The Tufts basketball program has brought me so much joy over the course of my career and I am happy to have given back to the school by helping to deliver their first (NESCAC) championship.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I would love to be a coach at some point in the future. I am not sure what my specific plans are regarding basketball moving forward, but one thing is for sure and that is I am not ready to say goodbye to the sport just yet.

What interested you in pursuing a major in economics? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

From a young age, I actually wanted to be an astronaut, but when I came to Tufts I was originally majoring in astrophysics. A variety of factors (including my ironic discovery that astronauts cannot be colorblind) forced me to pivot.

In high school, I developed an interest in business and entrepreneurship which led me to an economics major with minors in finance and entrepreneurial leadership studies.

Daily Noontime: Thursday, March 12th, 2020

DNMarch12th2020

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re kicking off our ‘Daily Noontime’ coverage a bit later than usual this morning – we apologize for the pause, so let’s get right into what you need to know about the sports world being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For starters, the NBA has suspended its season due to Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz testing positively for the virus, according to multiple reports last night.

With this news, the Boston Celtics season is at a standstill. But more importantly, players, coaches, and members of the team may have to self-quarantine due to a recent contest with the Jazz, which took place last Friday, March 6th. According to WBZ in Boston, the Jazz practiced at Emerson College’s gym while they were in town last week.

Boston was scheduled to tip-off against the Milwaukee Bucks this evening, but that game is canceled. The Celtics should be back home soon – we hope they are doing well during this unusual time in our country (and the world).

It was reported this morning by Sportsnet that “all NHL clubs have been advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings amid efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19.”

The league is expected to announce later today its plan for its remaining regular-season contests. And we shouldn’t be surprised if they follow the NBA and decide to suspend the current season for a few weeks and months.

Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced they are suspending its season, per multiple reports, including Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated. Wahl tweeted this morning that the reason for suspending the season was due to coronavirus.

Finally – and we reported on this last night – March Madness, which begins next week, will not include fans. Only players, coaches, team representatives, and select family members will be allowed to attend games, pending both tournaments are played.

March Madness Will Not Include Fans Due To Coronavirus Concerns

451703409_4d3d7605eb_b

No fans will be allowed at this year’s NCAA March Madness Tournaments. (PHOTO COURTESY: dayseraph on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

This year’s NCAA D-I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments won’t look the way they have in the past because none of the upcoming contests will include fans.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), especially these past few days, the NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon that both tournaments would occur, but not include fans. Teams will play in empty arenas in front of teammates, coaches, essential staff and family members, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert

In a statement to the public, Emmert confirmed his decision to not allow fans to attend either tournament after consulting with public health officials. 

“Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” said Emmert, via today’s release on NCAA.org.

The NCAA President would continue by adding, “While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes.”

Prior to the NCAA announcing no fans would be allowed to attend this year’s March Madness, the Ivy League canceled its conference tournaments on Tuesday morning, which were scheduled to take place this weekend at Harvard University.

Earlier today, it was announced (and confirmed) that the Golden State Warriors would play against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, March 12th with no fans in the stands.

This evening, the Big Ten Conference (B10) announced tomorrow’s men’s conference tournament would be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team, and conference members. Additionally, the conference will permit TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.

Jeff Goodman, who is a basketball analyst for Stadium, reported this evening there are discussions happening about possibly postponing or evening canceling the NCAA Tournament and Final Four.” 

As more information develops and becomes available, we will make sure to update this post and our site with new blog posts. 

Stefan Thompson is “looking forward” to coaching against Jim Calhoun

Calhoun900Release

Jim Calhoun will be making his first-ever NCAA D-III Tournament appearance on Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Univ. of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

In just two days, the Hobart men’s basketball team will tip-off against the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament. And the team’s head coach, Stefan Thompson, seems excited for his Statesmen to compete against Jim Calhoun‘s squad, which enters the national postseason riding an impressive 25-game winning streak. 

“As a coach, I am looking forward to it,” Thompson said, via Joe Sager of D3Hoops.com. “I know he is a competitor and that’s why he’s still in the industry and able to sustain such a great career.”

Calhoun has never coached in the D-III Tournament but has plenty of experience coaching in the postseason with both Northeastern University and the University of Connecticut. He won three national championships with the Huskies of UConn while guiding Northeastern to five March Madness appearances, including a pair of second-round contests in 1981 and 1982.

Last season, Calhoun and the Blue Jays came close to making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance but lost to Albertus Magnus in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament.

This season, the Blue Jays erased the memories of their 2019 conference tournament championship setback by beating the Falcons in the 2020 GNAC title game this past Sunday.

USJ, which is in its second season as a varsity program, only has one junior on its roster. A majority of the team is first-years and sophomores, who have turned the Blue and Gold into a team to watch over the past few weeks in both Connecticut and New England.

The winner of Friday’s match-up will advance to Saturday’s second-round against the winner of Springfield College and SUNY Canton.

March Madness Notebook: Previewing Three New England Matchups

NS March Madness 2019

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.

In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North Dakota State punched tickets to the big dance.

The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.

Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.


No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.

The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.

LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.

LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.


No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.

UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.

Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.

Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.


No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern: Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.

Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.

This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.

The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops