Mass-Dartmouth started 5-0 for the third consecutive season.
December is a busy month in the Northeast – a lot of games are scheduled to take place, both conference and non-conference clashes, along with some intriguing tournaments.
Wheelock at Regis (Mass.) (WBB) | Thursday, December 1st – This was the game that jumpstarted the Wildcats’ run toward their best finish in program history last seaosn (18 wins). And the whole conference could use a spark after an abysmal non-conference stretch where eight of the 10 teams were winless. Perhaps this is the game that flips Wheelock’s script? Regis edged the Wildcats last season in December, handing Wheelock a 55-54 setback. That same night Mass-Dartmouth head coach Brian Baptist will try for win No. 600 as the Corsairs
Husson at Maine-Maritime Academy (WBB) | Tuesday, December 6th: Could this be an early North Atlantic Conference tournament championship preview? Maybe, especially with both squads projected to finish first and second, respectively. The Mariners hop into NAC play on Tuesday (November 29th) when they visit Thomas – a win would certainly provide the unit with some confidence heading into their contest against an Eagles squad, which tipped-off its season with an impressive win over St. Joseph’s (Maine). Keep an eye on Coach Walker’s squad over the next few games – the Eagles hit the road on Tuesday for a conference clash against Maine-Farmington before entertaining Bates on Saturday (December 3rd). Husson swept the season-series last year against the Mariners en route to claiming their initial NAC title.
Middlebury at Southern Vermont (MBB) | Wednesday, December 7th: After an exciting season that saw the Mountaineers claim their first-ever New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) crown, Southern Vermont has had a more modest start to its current campaign, winning two of five contests. Their biggest win thus far came against Trinity (Conn.) at the Hampton Inn Classic, which was hosted by Mass-Dartmouth. Prior to their victory over the Bantams, they fell to Bowdoin by just three points (74-71). Can they make it two of three against New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foes?
Babson at Amherst (MBB) | Thursday, December 8th: This is the must-see, must-circle and must-attend game (if in the area or nearby Amherst College). A rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament sectional semifinal will pit two of the top five teams in the country, and you can bet Babson will want to capture this one, especially after losing last year’s regular season clash in double-overtime. The Beavers defeated the Purple and White during their last visit to the ‘413,’ en route to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament semifinal. And if the Beavers and Tufts both win their first games at the Big Four Classic in Waltham this weekend, then Babson will get to play the Jumbos and Amherst in back-to-back games.
Salem State at Endicott (MBB) | Thursday, December 8th: This Endicott squad could be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament, however, that is months away. Following an impressive win over Middlebury and their first entry into the Top 25, the Gulls will host a must-watch/must-see clash against their North Shore neighbor Salem State. Similar to the Vikings, the Gulls were picked to capture their respective conference. The Vikings defeated the Gulls last season on the first day of the Salem State Holiday Classic – their fifth win against the Gulls in the season-series.
Mass-Boston at Keene State (WBB) | Saturday, December 10th: A second half surge helped the Beacons defeat the Owls in the Little East Conference (LEC) semifinals last season. This game won’t result in a win-or-go-home situation, but instead provide a leg-up for conference play in January and February.
Williams at Springfield (MBB) | Saturday, December 10th: Don’t overlook this Ephs squad, which has started the season with five straight wins. This is always a matchup to circle – two competitive squads that could perhaps meet again in the NCAA Tournament. Keep an eye on Springfield first-year Jake Ross, who is averaging 19.3 points through four games.
Colby at Saint Joseph’s (Maine) (WBB) | Saturday, December 10th: For the past two seasons, the White Mules have had the upper hand against the Monks – they currently lead the season-series, 14-11. Colby edged Saint Joseph’s last season during the Colby Classic and defeated the Monks on the road in December 2014 by a score of 65-53. Saint Joseph’s last win over the Mules came in December 2013 when the Monks overcame a five-point deficit at the break en route to claiming a 67-63 win.
Mass-Dartmouth at Babson (WBB) | Friday, December 30th: Could the Corsairs sail their way into the NCAA Tournament this season? Time will tell, however, a matchup against a talented Beavers squad that is certainly expected to contend for a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown will be the ideal test for Matt Ducharme’s squad before returning to Little East Conference (LEC) play in January.
Framingham State vs. Roger Williams (WBB) @ Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic at Springfield Coll. | Friday, December 30th: The Rams tipped off their current slate winning four-straight and will look to continue their momentum over the next few weeks. However, an end of the year matchup against a Hawks squad that is expected to contend for Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title is exactly the test the Rams need before hopping into Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play. And pending the outcome, a win over Roger Williams could result in another difficult matchup against host Springfield – of course, the Pride would have to beat Middlebury to secure a date with the Rams on the final day of 2016,
See a game that didn’t get featured? Let me know! Send me an email at Matt.Noonan@d3sports.com or a tweet at @MattNoonan11.