Always in search of some reassuring bit of news, Robert Morris fans might want to take the following number to heart when Northeast Conference quarterfinal play begins Wednesday night with St. Francis-Brooklyn looking to knock off the top-seeded Colonials.
That's the number of times a No. 8 seed has beaten the top seed in the NEC Tournament. The Top 3 seeds are 21-0 in the last seven years. Even in the crazy, wild, wacky 2012-2013 version of the NEC, those are comforting numbers.
Just don't tell the Colonials. They won't hear it. Home court advantage was a goal. But in reality, it's just a means to an end. Because if these Colonials have learned anything, it's that nothing is guaranteed.So there you have it. No one seed has ever lost in the first round of the NEC tournament and if you're a colonials fan the expectations should be it remains that way.
These two teams did face off in Brooklyn on the last day of January and the Terriers did defeat Robert Morris by ten, so the potential for an upset is there. It was a weird game in the respects that Velton Jones played the first two minutes but left after sustaining a shoulder/pec injury and did not return. It was evident that threw the RMU off their game as the offense was out of rhythm and the defense couldn't get gritty stops when they had to. In my opinion, Anthony Myers-Pate was the best colonial on the floor that night, and with all due respect to Myers-Pate, that's not exactly a winning formula for RMU.
RMU only shot 6-21 from beyond the arc in the last meeting and Coron Williams was 0-4 and 1-7 overall. Mike McFadden also only went 2-5 and didn't grab a single rebound, which can't happen this time around.
St. Francis is tough on the block, lead by Jalen Cannon, a second team all-NEC selection. I would imagine you're going to see him and Russell Johnson going at it a lot throughout the game. Akeem Johnson is another forward who is a very capable scorer and a good rebounder, and guard Ben Mockford went 4-7 from three in the last meting.
Overall, Robert Morris is just a flat-out better team than St. Francis. They play (slightly) better defense, can shoot the three ball, and Velton Jones and Karvel Anderson are guys you can trust to take a game over if is tightly contested. When talking to the players, you know they're focused on St. Francis. They see them as a dangerous team that beat them earlier in the season, not an eight seed.
I made my first round picks earlier in the week. This team does not lose in front of a packed house and I think RMU defeats St. Francis 80-61.