Tag Archives: Northeastern

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 

Daily Noontime – January 19, 2012

Rajon Rondo was the main reason why Boston snapped their five-game losing streak on Wednesday! (Photo Credit: MassLive.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Good Thursday morning to everyone, and welcome into another stupendous edition of the Daily Noontime! Here are some headlines, and news from Boston and New England.

* The Boston Celtics snapped their five-game losing streak on Wednesday, as they defeated the Toronto Raptors, 96-73. Although, Rajon Rondo sustained a minor wrist injury in the third quarter, which he believes won’t keep him sidelined for too long. The Celtics will return to the hardwood on Friday when they welcome the Phoenix Suns to town, which is yet another “must win” game.

* The Boston Bruins will look to even their four-game road record at 2-2 on Thursday when they travel to New Jersey to face the Devils.

* The Black and Gold announced on Wednesday that defensemen Zdeno Chara was named one of the captains for the upcoming NHL All-Star game.

* In college hoops on Wednesday, Duquesne defeated Massachusetts, 80-69, while Northeastern edged Georgia State, 60-57.

* Finally, San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes told ESPN on that he’s predicting the New England Patriots to win the AFC Championship game on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Hockey East Notebook: Leftovers from the Matthews Arena

Friday's contest against Northeastern and UMass left fans with some questions, as the Huskies and Minutemen skated to a 3-3 tie!

By NoontimeSports.com 

Friday’s Northeastern-UMass Hockey East Conference was rather exciting; especially for an early October game. In fact, I doubt anyone thought sophomore Braden Pimm would be the savior for the Huskies, yet, that’s just my opinion.

Here’s some left over statistics and audio from the game, enjoy.

* Both teams combined for 71 shots, (UMass registered 39-shots/Northeastern had 32-shots)

* In the third period, UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle saved 10-shots, while Northeastern’s Chris Rawlings denied 12-shots.

* Both teams combined for 15 penalties and 38-minutes in the penalty box, which didn’t seem to please either coach after the game concluded.

* Northeastern’s head coach Jim Madigan talked about the impact of 15-penalties and stated, “There [were] a couple of penalties that our guys just need to do a better job at and not put themselves in those situations. I thought the referees did a good job on both sides and I asked for clarification on one item, but I thought they did a good job. Our guys just have to be smarter and not put themselves in situations that’s going to go for penalty.”

*Northeastern struggled on the power play and only converted one goal on four attempts. They also couldn’t muster a goal when they had a two-man advantage too.

* UMass head coach Don Cahoon talked with the media about his young goaltender and stated the following two things:

-“I thought the third period was the period he stood [on] his head when they had a couple of shifts where they really dominated us and I thought he made some big plays in tight, so he’s a solid goaltender… he’s developed nicely.” 

– “Well, I think [my team] knows he’s a good goaltender and I think Northeastern knows Rawlings is a good goaltender and team’s understand [this concept] and it usually is a measure of that team’s success’s from the pipes out.”

* The Minutemen were two-seconds away from walking out of the Matthews Arena with their first win of the season, but according to Cahoon, his team “cheated” during the third period. “We need to be that much better and we weren’t. As I said, we cheated in the third period and that third period coast us [the game].“

* Coach Madigan also addressed the new Northeastern coaching staff and stated, “The learning curve’s there – the players [are] getting acclimated and adjusted to us as a staff and what we’re looking for, but there’s not a problem. The players they’ve responded really well, they work hard.”

* Finally, Friday’s tie marked the fifth time the Huskies have skated to a draw on their home ice – dating back to the ’09-’10 season.

Hockey East Final Four Preview

By Dan Rubin

Since its inception, the Hockey East Association has been one of the preeminent college hockey power conferences throughout the NCAA landscape.  Its tradition is unmatched, and its ability to produce NHL players is unrivaled.  In recent years, it established its presence as THE national championship conference, holding the last three titles.

Two of those titles belong to Boston College, a team making a strong run at #3 this season. They’ve been among the best teams in the nation all season, and regardless of how this weekend at TD Garden turns out, the Eagles are a top seed in the national tournament, and they remain penciled in as one of the teams most likely to raise the trophy in St. Paul, Minnesota.

But the Eagles also find themselves in a dogfight to win the league championship.  Where there are definite favorites in the other two eastern leagues, this year’s Hockey East could belong to any one of the four remaining teams.  They all have good reasons why they should and shouldn’t win the tournament.  Even Northeastern, the lowest seed of the bunch, has a solid argument outside of Dan Libon’s fandom.

Noontime Sports will be at the Garden this weekend to cover these games, and we’ll have full coverage of the Hockey East Championship starting this evening and continuing through tomorrow.

#1 Boston College Eagles

How They Got Here: [28-7-1], [20-6-1 Hockey East], Swept UMass 2 games to none.

Why They’ll Win: You find me a better team in the nation this year, and I’ll argue it to my grave.  BC is among the nation’s elite, and the case can be made that they’ll be facing North Dakota with the national title on the line in Minnesota.  They’re the best overall team, and the names of players who can make an impact roll off like a Murder’s Row of sorts – Cam Atkinson, Brian Gibbons, Jimmy Hayes, Brian Dumoulin, Joe Whitney, Chris Kreider, Tommy Cross, Philip Samuelsson, Pat Mullane.  That’s a better lineup than an All Star team from other conferences.  They’re the best-coached team, with Jerry York.  And their nonconference schedule isn’t about whom they beat because they beat pretty much everyone.  They swept Denver, and they won the Beanpot.  They lost two games after New Year’s.  And it gets even scarier when you think that this team hasn’t quite hit its ceiling yet.  They can only get better.

Why They’ll Lose: The biggest hole for BC is goaltending.  John Muse is prone to a bad game and soft goals.  He’ll win games for the Eagles, but he only faced 840 shots this season.  He made a 92% save percentage, and he posted six shutouts.  Despite this, he hasn’t had to make 30 saves since the Beanpot opening round game against Boston University back on February 7th.  I’ve never been sold on Muse, especially not after he coughed up seven goals to Yale in last year’s NCAA tournament.  One of the losses post New Year’s was to Northeastern, their semifinal opponent.  Don’t discount the fact that this is the sixth meeting between the two teams.  Northeastern knows everything there is to know about BC.  Add Libon pulling for Northeastern, and that actually could make “Super fans,” (like yours truly) slightly nervous.

#2 UNH Wildcats

How They Got Here: [21-9-6], [17-6-4 Hockey East], Swept Vermont 2 games to 0

Why They’ll Win: They’re one of the better overall teams, and they are able to fly under the radar because of Boston College.  They also played well enough out of the conference to warrant mentioning, including a win over Miami and a tie with Michigan at the beginning of the year.  Statistically, they have a lineup that rivals BC’s – Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo, Phil DeSimone, Blake Kessel, John Henrion, and Dalton Speelman, with Matt Di Girolamo in net.  And they have a battle-tested coach in Dick Umile.  They have a lineup to hang with the Eagles, as long as you ignore that last weekend blowout at the hands of the top seed.

Why They’ll Lose: You don’t get a nickname like “University of No Hardware” by winning conference championships.  UNH chokes on the biggest stage, historically, and last year, they were one game from the Frozen Four when they ran into RIT.  Rochester dominated the Wildcats and took their spot in Detroit.  UNH was also crushed the last weekend of the regular season by BC, and they went 1-0-2 against Northeastern.  But the most damning stat is that they draw Merrimack in the semifinal round, a team they were swept by in February.  Yes, they beat the Mack at home earlier in the year, but that sweep is not a good sign.

#4 Merrimack Warriors

How They Got Here: [24-8-4], [16-8-3 Hockey East], swept Maine 2 games to 0

Why They’ll Win: They’ve beaten everybody.  They have signature wins over every team in the league, and they bounced back from a late-season choke to dominate a good Black Bear squad in the playoffs.  They were head and shoulders better than BU this year, even though BU was the #3 seed, and they were in the #1-seed, national ranking argument until the last weekend of the season.  But the slide seemed to reignite the Warriors, and they righted the ship.  Their lineup includes seven double-digit goal scorers, including Stephane da Costa and Chris Barton.  They also have the best goalie of the four remaining teams, a very underrated Joe Cannata.  With bigger names like Muse, di Girolamo, and  Rawlings, Cannata can be overlooked.  But on talent, Cannata is the best big game goalie of the lot.  They’re the most dangerous team because they’re talented, they’re good, and everyone expects a BC-UNH final.

Why They’ll Lose: Each of the other remaining teams has been here before.  Merrimack has never been.  And when I say they’ve never been, they’ve legit never had a relatively decent season before this year.  This is their first .500 or better season since 1988-1989, when they were an independent.  And they’ve never been tested in the playoffs like this before.  They’ve never been to an NCAA tournament while a member of Hockey East.  And while Mark Denehy is a good coach, he’s not the same as having York or Umile.

#6 Northeastern Huskies

How They Got Here: [14-15-8], [10-10-7 Hockey East], Beat BU 2 games to 1

Why They’ll Win: Because Dan Libon is going to use his Liboninator powers.

They’ve played Boston College so much that they are most likely not intimidated by them. They’ve proven they can hang with BC, and they’ve proven they can beat BC.  That weekend series following the Beanpot championship game was so epic that I had a feeling these teams would meet again.  Wade MacLeod leads the Huskies up front, and Chris Rawlings is a very good goalie.  I personally think Rawlings is a little overrated, but I’d still take him over Di Girolamo and Muse any day of the week.  The Huskies also have the benefit of being an underdog and playing the “nobody believes in us” card.  Greg Cronin is a great motivator, and don’t think that won’t factor into the weekend.

Why They’ll Lose: Because I won’t be there to curse Boston College on Friday.  Seriously – every time I pick a team and say great things about them, I curse them.  Look at Harvard last week for hockey, and I’m not getting started on Louisville and St. John’s in yesterday’s debacle in the NCAA basketball tournament

Yes, they can get up for Boston College, but Northeastern went .500 for a reason.  They lost to Holy Cross, Bentley, and Niagara. They lost the season series to BU, and I personally believe the only reason they beat BU in the playoffs was because of a cocktail of disaster for the Terriers.  BU had to play Games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday because they hosted the America East basketball finals (which they won).  That meant that the student fan base was divided between an underachieving hockey team and a new, fresh basketball team.  The remaining students went out on Spring Break, and the hockey team drew a team with a rabid fan base that sits just 5 miles away.  When NU packed Agganis last week, everything I said came true.  Three game victory for Northeastern.  Hockey East this year is a three-team league, but four teams had to make the Garden.

Be sure to check out Noontime’s coverage of the Hockey East championship weekend. Dan Libon will be covering both days, and I’ll be joining him for the championship tomorrow as the banner patch is raised to the Garden rafters.  I’ll also be making my championship predictions and bracketology, listing what’s at stake for teams with consolation and championship games tomorrow.

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