New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Jan. 10th-12th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Another busy weekend of New England D-III college basketball is set to tip-off this afternoon and evening – hope you are ready for some great games to watch and follow!

Let’s begin with one game to watch in Medford, Massachusetts this evening as the Tufts University women’s basketball team welcomes Wesleyan University to Cousens Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Friday’s clash between the Cardinals and Jumbos marks the official start of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.

Tufts enters tonight’s contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak, which has included recent wins over UMass DartmouthSUNYIT, and Wheaton College. Emily Briggs highlighted the Powder and Blue’s effort against the Lyons on Wednesday by connecting on 7 of 10 field goals for 19 points – she also made all three freebies. Erica DeCandido chipped in 13 points on six of eight shooting.

Wesleyan should certainly provide Tufts with some challenges on both ends of the court – the Cardinals have won eight of 11 contests thus far, including an early January clash with Babson College. The Cardinals began their 2019-20 campaign with six-straight wins.

In their last outing against SUNY Geneseo, last weekend, Caleigh Ryan and Katy O’Connor combined for 24 points, while Emma Roush added 10 points off the bench. 

A few other NESCAC women’s games to watch tonight and this weekend include Bowdoin College at Trinity College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), Amherst College at Middlebury College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), and Amherst at Williams College on Saturday, January 11th at 3 p.m.

On the men’s side of the NESCAC, keep an eye on Friday’s clash between Middlebury and Amherst. The Panthers have won 13-straight contests, including three consecutive 2020 meetings with Colby-SawyerSpringfield College, and Plattsburgh State. This particular outing should be a good test for the Panthers, but also the Mammoths, who began the new year with a 116-44 win over Lesley University before falling to Wesleyan three days later by a score of 79-77.

My prediction for Friday’s Amherst-Middlebury game is the following: The Mammoths will prevail and receive some major contributions from Grant Robinson, Fru Che, and Eric Sellew.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 11th), WPI will entertain Babson in a very enticing New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. The Engineers began conference play earlier this week against MIT, while the Beavers were edged on Wednesday by Springfield.

It’s too early to say this a must-win for the Beavers (or Engineers) as all eight teams play each other twice in a single-season, but this could be a potential preview of the conference championship game next month.

Other Games to Watch (and Follow) this Weekend: 

  • WBB: Framingham State at Westfield State (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 12 p.m.): The Rams can begin conference play with a win on the road against an Owls team, which has not won a game since beating Plymouth State in mid-to-late November.
  • WBB: Western New England at Wentworth Inst. of Technology (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): Look for the Golden Bears to bounce back after losing to WPI earlier this week. A win over the Leopards would provide WNE with their fourth conference win and keep them within at least one or two games of the University of New England.
  • WBB: Brandeis University at New York University (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): The Judges face another 10-1 squad in an important conference meeting. Brandeis has won 10 of 11 contests this season so I expect that momentum will help them against the Violets.
  • MBB: Keene State at Rhode Island College (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 3 p.m.): This is an important meeting for both teams as the Anchormen and Owls are in a three-way tie with Western Connecticut for the top spot in the conference. Look for the Anchormen to bounce back after losing to Western Connecticut earlier this week.

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, Dec. 9th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Babson College becomes our biggest mover this week, checking in second overall following a trio of impressive wins last week against Amherst College (No. 6), Salem State, and Tufts University (No. 10).

The Beavers, who captured this past weekend’s New England Big 4 Challenge, matched their program’s best start to a season with their ninth consecutive victory.

Babson is off until the end of the month when they face Eastern Connecticut in the Trinity Holiday Invitational.

Colby College also moved-up this week, checking-in third overall following their ninth-straight win this past weekend against Colby-Sawyer. The Mules are one of two undefeated teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and will certainly be a team to watch once the calendar turns to 2020.

Finally, we welcomed Albertus Magnus to this week’s poll – the Falcons have won eight-straight contests after starting their current campaign with an opening day loss to the University of Lynchburg.

The Falcons visit St. Lawrence University on Saturday before enjoying a few weeks off for the holidays.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, December 9th, 2019

1. Middlebury College 9-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Babson College 9-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8
3. Colby College  9-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 5
4. Springfield College  7-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 7
5. Hamilton College  8-1, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
6. Amherst College  4-2, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
7. Albertus Magnus  8-1, 0-0 GNAC Last Week: Not Ranked 
8. Nichols College 6-1, 1-0 CCC Last Week: No. 3
9. WPI 8-2, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 9
10. Tufts University 6-2, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4

ON THE RISE: Brandeis University, Emmanuel College, Rhode Island College, and UMass Dartmouth


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week One| Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four

 

D3 Basketball: Women’s Top 10 Poll (Monday, Dec. 9th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Tufts University becomes our new number one team this week in New England D-III women’s basketball – the Jumbos, who enter the new week with a 7-0 record, moved into the top spot, which had been occupied by Amherst College, which dipped two spots to the third position.

The Jumbos capped their post-Thanksgiving week with wins over Emerson College and WPI (receiving votes). This week, they visit Bridgewater State on Tuesday, December 10th before heading to Stevens Institue of Technology at the end of the month to compete against Christopher Newport (Dec. 28th) and TCNJ (Dec. 29th).

Bowdoin College also moved up – the Polar Bears checked in second with an 8-0 mark, while Williams College and Brandeis University rounded out the top five positions.

Rhode Island College and Trinity College both joined this week’s poll – the two teams enter the second week of December with a combined 15-2 record. RIC is currently the top team in the Little East Conference (LEC) and will compete two more times this month against Emmanuel College (Dec. 9th) and Johnson & Wales (Dec. 18th).


New England D-III Basketball Women’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, December 9th, 2019

1. Tufts University 7-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2 
2. Bowdoin College  8-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
3. Amherst College 4-1, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
4. Williams College  8-0, 0-0 Last Week: No. 6 
5. Brandeis University 7-1, 0-0 UAA Last Week: No. 7 
6. Western New England  7-2, 2-1 CCC Last Week: No. 4
7. Smith College 7-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 10
8. Rhode Island College 7-1, 2-0 LEC Last Week: Not Ranked
9. Trinity College 8-1, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: Not Ranked
10. Eastern Connecticut 4-2, 1-0 LEC Last Week: No. 8

ON THE RISE: Babson College, Middlebury College, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, Wesleyan University, and WPI 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week OneWeek TwoWeek Three|Week Four 

 

D3 Basketball: Brandeis will attempt to win its second-straight New England Big 4 Challenge this weekend

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Brandeis University will attempt to capture its second-straight New England Big 4 Challenge championship this weekend. (PHOTO COURTESY: Babson College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Brandeis University captured the 2018 New England Big 4 Challenge last season with a commanding 74-49 win over Babson College and will attempt to win the title again this weekend when they compete in the two-day, four-team tournament at Salem State University.

The Judges will begin their title defense against Tufts University on Saturday, December 7th at 12 p.m. Babson and Salem State will square-off afterward at 2 p.m. The winner of both contests will advance to Sunday’s championship game at 2 p.m. which will follow the consolation game at 12 p.m.

Brandeis will certainly be a team to watch this weekend after beginning their current campaign with a 5-2 mark, but the same could be said for the Beavers of Babson, which enter the weekend tournament with an impressive 7-0 record. The Green and White’s seventh win – an 87-82 victory over Amherst College earlier this week – was highlighted by Frank Oftring, who netted a career-high 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds. 

Tufts saw its five-game winning streak to start its 2019-20 campaign snapped earlier this week against WPI. The Jumbos scored some impressive non-conference wins prior to their initial setback last month against MIT and UMass Dartmouth.

Salem State will attempt to snap its current five-game losing streak this weekend when they face Babson in the opening round. The Vikings have not appeared in the win column since last month when they defeated Anna Maria College, 89-76.

The winner of the tournament will receive the Crotty Cup, which is named after Michael Crotty Sr., who was the Founder and Director of the Middlesex Magic.

“The tournament features four very good teams from four different leagues, to celebrate the game of basketball and a dear friend to each of us in Michael Crotty Sr., Founder, and Director of the Middlesex Magic AAU Club, who left us far too soon,” said Salem State coach Chris Harvey, via the tournament preview.

While Brandeis has won four New England Big 4 Challenges, Babson has won three – their last came during the 2016-17 season when they captured the program’s first-ever NCAA championship. Tufts has won two titles, while Salem State captured its first-ever tournament crown two years ago.

D3 Football: Maher, Johnston Secure Spots On AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-America Teams

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Framingham State’s Jacob Maher concluded his initial season with the Rams as an AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-America First Teamer. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

A pair of New England D-III Football student-athletes were recently named to the 2019 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America Teams.

Jacob Maher of Framingham State secured a spot on the first team, while Kyle Johnston of Massachusetts Maritime Academy earned a spot on the second team.

Maher wrapped up his first and final season of college football with the Rams this fall by catching a team-high 56 receptions for 819 yards and eight touchdowns. The senior tight end from Marshfield, Massachusetts averaged 5.1 receptions and 74.5 yards per contest. He caught a season-high three touchdowns in his team’s 39-33 win over UMass Dartmouth in October before hauling in two touchdowns in his team’s regular-season finale against Worcester State.

Prior to earning an end of season honor from the AFCA, Maher earned and All-Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) first-team honor and a spot on the New England Football Writers (NEFW) Division II/III team.

Johnston, who also appeared on the NEFW D-II/III team, enjoyed his best season with the Buccaneers by recording a career-best 57.0 total tackles, including 37 solo stops and 20 assists in 10 contests. The defensive lineman from Raynham, Massachusetts tallied career-highs in sacks (12.5), tackles for a loss (19.5), and forced fumbles (three) in 10 games this fall and was also named to the All-MASCAC first team. 

In four seasons with the Buccaneers, Johnston tallied 164.0 total tackles, including 121 solo stops to go along with 49.5 tackles for a loss and 25.5 sacks. He also recorded eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and seven pass breakups, including three last season.