Big League Clew is back after the holidays with a whole new series of posts to talk about.
Don’t worry college football fans, the Rivalry Trophy Series will be back come college bowl season. In the meantime Clew has been traveling the country checking out those mid-major college basketball conferences and seeing how some of these programs stack up against the NCAA elite. Do they have a chance to make some noise in the NCAA tourney? Or are they just bound to get thumped in the 1st round?
Harvard University Crimson (7-0)
My first stop on this Mid-major conference road trip took me to the Ivy League, as I traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to get a good look at Harvard University.
Latest results: beat Vermont 55-48
Next game: @ Seattle Redhawks 12/4/11
Fresh off their stunning upsets of both UCF and #22 ranked Florida State, the Harvard Crimson have established themselves early in the year, and in an impressive fashion. Of their six victories this season, five were on the road. Just how are the Crimson pulling this off? The answer is that they are playing mistake free basketball and scoring off their opponents turnovers. Any team that only scores 46 points off a nationally ranked school and wins is doing something right on the defensive side of the ball.
Contender or Pretender?
They have some big matches against #5 UConn & Boston College coming up, but then go right into the thick of the Ivy League schedule. This Crimson team is made up of a determined bunch of kids who want to win and should not be taken lightly by any top tier program, especially if they can pull off two upsets this early in the season. They’re contenders!
Key Player: F Keith Wright (Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament MVP) – 12.2ppg, 7 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Shortly there after, I was run out of town by an angry mob carrying pitchforks and throwing rocks at me for wearing a Yale hat to the Crimson’s practice, so I headed down I-95. I ended up in Fairfield Connecticut, at Fairfield University, home of the Stags.
Fairfield University Stags (3-4)
Latest result: lost to Indiana State 72-66
Next game: @ Niagara University Purple Eagles 12/2/11
Not quite sure what to make of this team so far. They have shown flashes of being at the top of their conference, with a big win against Arizona State in the Old Spice classic, but have also shown they can be a sloppy bunch, who take far too many shots from beyond the arc (in their losses to Dayton & Indiana State). They are predicted to finish 2nd behind the Iona Gaels in the MAAC (Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference) this year. Last year, Fairfield won the regular season title, but had to settle for an NIT berth after a loss to eventual MAAC champions Saint Peter’s in the semifinals. What’s in store for the Stags this season? When the Stags are on, they do bring the offense,. If they can limit their mistakes, they should be an interesting team to watch.
Contender or Pretender?
I haven’t seen enough from this school to put them into the contenders bracket yet. They do play in one of the tougher Mid-major conferences in the country, so losing 10 games doesn’t necessarily take them out of contention. They have the tools needed to put together a great team that can compete. I know this because I saw an offensively sound team when they beat Arizona State. On the flip side, I also saw a desperate and sloppy team in their loss to Dayton. I don’t think they’re contenders yet, but the college hoops season is young and they have what it takes to get there.
Key Player: G/F Rakim Sanders, – 18.1ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.9apg.
Wright image courtesy of: http://www.gocrimson.com
Johnson image courtesy of: Stockton Photo Inc.
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