The Northeast Conference is holding its media day today at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the main purpose of many of these media days was released this morning -- the conference's preseason poll, selected by the coaches.
Coming into a season with some key returning talent, but also a lot of unknown commodities, Robert Morris was picked second among the conference's 10 teams. Below is the full list.
2. Robert Morris
4. LIU Brooklyn
5. Central Connecticut State
6. Mount St. Mary's
7. St. Francis (NY)
8. Sacred Heart
9. Saint Francis (Pa.)
10. Fairleigh Dickinson
Preseason polls are generally kind of a crapshoot even in some of the most predictable leagues and the NEC's pretty wide open this season, making the selection that much more difficult.
LIU Brooklyn, the three-time defending conference champion, looked the part of the preseason favorite, but star forward Julian Boyd tore his right ACL for the second time in nine months. Mount St. Mary's, which probably would have been my preseason pick had it not been for this defection, lost conference rookie of the year Shivaughn Wiggins, who transferred to Coastal Carolina. Predictably, and correctly, that leaves Wagner atop the preseason poll, a team that returns four of its five leading scorers from last season.
As for Robert Morris, it's a pretty favorable ranking. Personally, I would have had them in the third or maybe even fourth spot largely because there's so much uncertainty surrounding the team in some key spots. Obviously, there's talent coming into the program, but when you have to integrate so many new parts, be it freshmen or junior-college transfers, it's never clear how they will perform relative to those who they are replacing.
The all-conference team was also announced as part of the media day festivities, with no Robert Morris player being selected. I would argue that Lucky Jones or Karvel Anderson could very well have been on that team, but overall, it's a solid group of players:
G Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn
G Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State
G Dyami Starks, Bryant
F Alex Francis, Bryant
F Jalen Cannon, St. Francis (NY)
Follow me on Twitter at @CraigMeyerPG