As you might know, we're a bit obsessed with the local college hoops scene. It's the middle of December, and we really haven't checked in on everybody. So, let us do so now.
We're gonna look at each team's rank in Ken Pomeroy's fantastic ratings, their record, and where they're standing. So, let's get to it.
No. 58: St. John's Red Storm
One week ago, everything was looking lovely for Steve Lavin's boys. They were 5–1, had won the Great Alaskan Shootout, and appeared to be on a roll. (They were even in Joe Lunardi's Bracketology predictions.) Then they lost at home to St. Bonaventure and at Fordham. Even with all those seniors, there appears to be something fundamentally amiss with that team right now. Those hoping to sneak in a tourney appearance before Lavin's recruits came in are unlikely to get their wish.
No. 186: Long Island Blackbirds
Would you believe the possibility that the two top teams in the Northeast Conference — our Northeast Conference — might be NYC-area teams this year? It could be!
No. 205: St. Francis Terriers
Nothing would make us happier than the Terriers — arf! arf! — making the NCAA Tournament. Not just because they've never been there before, not just because they're the alma mater of the father of Sports Section co-editor Joe DeLessio, and not just because they happen to be about a five-minute walk from our apartment. It's all those things, really. Anyway, if they beat Dartmouth tonight, they will have won five in a row. Plus, next week, they play a Big Ten team! (Well, Northwestern, but still.)
(UPDATE: The estimable Asher Fusco of Basketball Prospectus posted an outstanding breakdown of the two Brooklyn NEC teams today.)
No. 228: Fordham Rams
Take a close look at that win total. 5–4. Fordham is over .500! Over the last two years, they won five games. They already have five wins. Including that win over St. John's! Over St. John's! Bask in it again:
Tom Pecora is a maker of magic.
No. 238: Columbia Lions
The Lions are in the Ivy League, which means they're never going to make a tournament because Princeton, Pennsylvania, and now Harvard are ahead of them. They're still making progress, though. They're also the only area college team to get above 100 points in a game this year too.
No. 259: Wagner Seahawks
This team went 5–26 last season. Under new coach Dan Hurley, they have three road wins, including one at Stony Brook, a conference champion last year, and are not embarrassing themselves. One more win, and they're passing last year's win total. Tough to argue with that.
No. 306: Manhattan Jaspers
Uh-oh. Remember when this was one of the city's proud programs? (They were, kind of.) Also, they lost a game to Wisconsin 50–35 earlier that has to be the dullest basketball game outside of hamsters playing with a marble.