My NEC picks

For tonight:

Robert Morris wins a closer game than you'd expect, needing an early second-half run to ice it.

Here's all you need to know about the league this year: I like LIU to win the tournament, but I'm trying to talk myself out of liking Quinnipiac to win tonight.

Bryant makes the most of this showcase opportunity and wins at home.

And last but not least, Wagner outscores CCSU in a game which isn't as wild as last year's between the two, but is still crazy. Central won't be as down as many as it was when it rallied in last year's quarterfinal on Staten Island, but it's been seven years since a top three seed lost a quarterfinal at home.
I think the Vegas line is way too high and I wouldn't be shocked by any means if CCSU finds a way, however. Especially since Vinales has been so good vs. Wagner this year. Either he does it again or the Seahawks put so much attention on him it allows either Malcolm McMillan or Matt Hunter to score more.
My head tells me Wagner wins by less than 10, but I'm also rather certain tonight doesn't end with the four higher seeds all winning.

CCSU men's basketball regular season review

By the time you read this, we'll be just a few hurs away form the start of the NEC Tournament for 2013. Before the postseason begins, however, I thought I'd take a quick look back at how the Blue Devils got to this point by playing another game of man-to-man.

ADONIS BURBAGE: He became a bit more than just a one-dimensional shooter this year, earning his place as a starter for most of the season. He's still a shooter who is prone to streaks and needs to have his feet set to have a good chance to nail the shot, but he also brings good energy to the team. I actually prefer him as a spark off the bench, at least with this year's team, but that's not a knock.

KYLE VINALES: I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with him. What number is he again?
Obviously I'm kidding. Vinales, barring injury, will leave Central with most of the school's scoring records. That will come two years from now, which gives him time to further grow as a player. For now, he's an elite scorer who's willing and able to play every minute every night and who wants the ball with the game on the line. He can be prone to cold spells and gets a bit eager to shoot at times, but he's far from a selfish player. The biggest misconception about Vinales is that he's a ball hog. He's actually pretty good about knowing when he has cooled off and can get the ball into other people's hands.
In short, Vinales was asked to become the go-to player this year and did nicely with the role. Central will need him to be the star tonight.

ANDREW HURD: Believe it or not, I think he can be a useful player. He's not Vinales, but he can be a 5-10 minute guy who gives him a break more consistently going forward.

DE'ANGELO SPEECH: His loss is a huge one for this team, which needed the depth and versatility he provided.

MALCOLM McMILLAN: Before the season, the thought about CCSU's point guard was he was a jump shot away from being a real player. Well, he can shoot now. If his legs hold up, he'll become one of the best points ever to play in New Britain.

KHALEN CUMBERLANDER: We didn't get to see enough of him for me to have a thought other than this was another body the Blue Devils could have used.

ERIK RALEIGH: A great story who saw some time. Very raw, so who knows.

JOE EFESE: I need to see how this story ends before I write too much about him. I could see an explosion from him this week.

MATT HUNTER: My biggest regret this season is that I haven't written more about Hunter. He doesn't put up numbers in the spectacular fashion Vinales does, but the numbers he puts up are often spectacular.
This is going to be a track meet tonight and it's on a big stage. In other words, tonight was made for Matt Hunter.
By the way, there's no way there were 10 better players in the NEC this year. The coaches got that one wrong. Hunter was in the Top 10 in the league in scoring and rebounding and is in the Top 10 in the country in steals. I can see second team all NEC, but not third.

GREG ANDRADE: Another player whose athleticism makes him interesting going forward.

TERRELL ALLEN: He developed a 3-point shot this year but wasn't always consistent with it or his game as a whole. When he's on, he can do a bit of everything, and I've always liked his intangibles. Central will need him tonight. We'll talk about his future role later.

BRANDON PEEL: His emergence changed Central's season for the better. He steps into a permanent starting role next year, but he needs to gain valuable postseason experience this week.