By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
Ah, the second to last regular season weekend is upon us – yes, this is the final weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, for your information – however, it is an important weekend for many teams fighting for spots in their upcoming conference’s tournament.
So, to kickstart your weekend, here are 10 predictions – short and quick, by the way. Let me know if you agree or disagree by sending me a tweet or posting a comment on our Noontime Sports page on Facebook.
Williams at Tufts (MBB | Fri., Feb. 10): It’s the final home game for the Jumbos and their seniors, but I don’t think their last regular season contest will end with a win. Williams seems to have picked-up some serious momentum – they have scored some important wins recently over Middlebury and Wesleyan – and will most likely pick-up another big win over the Powder Blue and White. PREDICTION: Williams 80, Tufts 75
Middlebury at Amherst (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): The Panthers have been a great story this season – as of today, they would be the fourth seed in the NESCAC and host a playoff game next weekend. Do they have what it takes to get past Amherst? I don’t believe so, but they’ll give the Purple and White a good fight. PREDICTION: Amherst 65, Middlebury 40
Tufts at Williams (WBB | Fri., Feb. 10): After falling to Amherst last weekend, Tufts will look to close out its regular season slate with back-to-back victories (after tonight’s game, they’ll face Rhode Island College next week), including a win in Williamstown. Expect Michela North and Melissa Baptista to lead the Jumbos to their ninth NESCAC win of the season. PREDICTION: Tufts 65, Williams 45
Conn. College at Bowdoin (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Could this be a potential preview of a possible NESCAC Tournament contest? Possibly, but before we turn our attention to the NESCAC Tournament, let’s focus on the Camels’ five-game winning streak – something one should not overlook. Brian Wilson‘s squad will have to be perfect on both ends of the court in order to secure a win. Yet, I think this game will go in favor of the Polar Bears since they’re at home. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 59, Conn. College 53
Roger Williams at Endicott (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): I’ll be at this game as long as Mother Nature doesn’t drop another foot of snow on us – please, Mother Nature … NO! Roger Williams will need its defense to keep the Endicott offense in-check – last game, they held the Gulls to just 21 field goals (60 attempts), while forcing 14 turnovers. PREDICTION: Roger Williams 75, Endicott 72
Castleton at Husson (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): As of now, the Eagles of Husson appear to be the front-runner for the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season crown. However, that could change, pending this weekend’s outcomes. And one of those outcomes could be a Castleton win over the Eagles – the victory would have to come on the road, though. Since falling to Husson, the Spartans have captured five of their last six, and need to win out to have a chance to secure the regular season crown. PREDICTION: Castleton 50, Husson 49
Eastern Conn. State at UMass Dartmouth (WBB | Sat. Feb. 11): Can anyone slow down the Corsairs? I am not sure, especially since they have won eight-straight contests and seem to have a great deal of momentum on their side. They’ll need that momentum, along with a big day from their entire roster to secure an important conference win over the Warriors. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 60, Eastern Conn. State 58 (OT)
Becker at Wheelock (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After dropping a pair of games to Southern Vermont earlier this week, Becker will look to return to its winning ways with a victory over the Wildcats. Against Wheelock earlier this season, three Hawks netted double-figures, including Antonio White Jr., who led all scorers with 30 points. PREDICTION: Becker 84, Wheelock 75
Westfield State at Salem State (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): This is a must-win for the Vikings, who lost a mid-week clash to Bridgewater State. As of today, Salem State remains the top team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a loss to the Owls could open the door for Fitchburg State to secure number one seed in the conference. Before we turn the page to Falcons-Vikings (next week, FYI), let’s keep our eyes on this contest as Chris Harvey‘s squad will look to bounce back against an Owls squad that has won three-straight. PREDICTION: Salem State 75, Westfield State 68
Johnson & Wales at Suffolk (MBB | Sat. Feb. 11): After a slow start, Jamie Benton‘s squad is back in the mix for a top spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament. This should be a layup for the Wildcats – earlier this season, Johnson & Wales defeated the Rams at home, thanks to 23 points from Anthony Jernigan. PREDICTION: Johnson & Wales 75, Suffolk 65