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We've thought about this man way too much in the last month.

obsessions

Get Ready for NEC Excitement!

You do not want to know how much time we have spent thinking about the Northeast Conference basketball standings. We desperately want a team from New York to make the NCAA Tournament, and the only place that's going to happen is the Northeast Conference. Basically, we're watching two teams: Long Island and St. Francis (NY) (Go Brooklyn!). So we obsess. Do you realize we've actually listened to "The NEC on the Run Podcast," hosted by NEC play-by-play announcer Paul Dottino? (Hey, NEC: Could you list that in iTunes, please? It makes it a lot easier.) We know this league better than we know ourselves. And tonight's a critical night.

There are twelve teams in the NEC, and only eight make the conference tournament, the winner of which gets an NCAA berth. The twelfth team, Bryant, isn't eligible (and are 1–27 anyway), so you have to make sure you're in that top eight to play in the tourney on Thursday, March 4. The higher seed hosts each conference tourney game, culminating in the conference title game on Wednesday, March 10, on ESPN2. You up to speed? Cool.

We're entering the last weekend of the NEC regular season. Every team has two games left. Long Island (12–15, 10–6 in the conference) has already clinched a spot in the tourney and are currently tied for third with Mount St. Mary's for third place, behind the wretched, villainous Robert Morris and Quinnipiac. They need to cinch that first-round home game. (Seeding really counts, too, because they reseed after every round.) St. Francis (NY) (10–17, 5–9) is our sentimental favorite, because they've never made the NCAAs before and they're a five-minute walk from our apartment. They're tied with felonious and nefarious Central Connecticut State for the final eighth spot.

Don't you people understand how important this is?

Long Island plays at Central Connecticut State tonight, which is convenient, because we hate CCSU and they must go down. On Saturday, they play at Bryant, which has won only one game, a game we will never forget. So that should be two wins, comfortably putting them in as the No. 3 seed. Good. Covered there.

St. Francis gets Bryant tonight, which is great, and then they travel to play treasonous, pernicious, maleficent Central Connecticut State on Saturday afternoon, in a game that will almost certainly decide that No. 8 spot. It's at 1 p.m. We've cleared out a couple of hours to stare at the computer and hit refresh, old-school style.

We're not sure this is worth a post or not, and we're definitely sure you don't care, but this is all we can think about right now, so we figured we should probably just tell you. This job gets in our head sometimes.

Whatever. Go Blackbirds! Go Terriers!

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Photo: Will Leitch