BRYANT AT ROBERT MORRIS, 8:00 PM EASTERN, ESPNU
First place is on the line tonight in the Northeast Conference as the Bryant Bulldogs travel to Western Pennsylvania to take on the Robert Morris Colonials in a nationally televised game. Bryant, the preseason favorites to win the NEC, enters tonight’s game at 5-1 in conference and 13-8 overall. Their lone conference loss on the season, however, came back on January 11 at home to Robert Morris.
Robert Morris started the season weakly, going only 5-10 in non-conference play. However, a 6-0 league start, including the win at Bryant, has gotten their record over .500. RMU is the defending NEC regular season champion, though a conference tournament semifinal loss to Mount St. Mary’s relegated them to the NIT. Robert Morris promptly pulled one of the most shocking upsets in recent memory in the NIT, defeating mighty Kentucky in the first round.
Tonight’s game will go a long way to showing us who is going to win the NEC regular season title. A win by Bryant will open the conference race wide open, especially with teams like Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (Brooklyn) right behind the league leaders. A win by Robert Morris, on the other hand, will build a two game lead in the conference and could put the Colonials well on their way to defending their league title. And the regular season title is extra important in the Northeast Conference, as the higher seed hosts each conference tournament game. Thus, winning the regular season title will guarantee the champion home games all the way through the tournament.