For somebody on the outside looking in, one without much knowledge of the Northeast Conference, it may have seemed as if the Robert Morris Colonials and the Long Island University Blackbirds were on a collision course all season for a rematch in the Northeast Conference Championship game. On Wednesday night in Brooklyn, we will be seeing the rematch of the overtime thriller that we witnessed a year ago. But there is always more to the story than what meets the eye, so first let us take a look at how our Colonials have reached this point.
Robert Morris played well in their non-conference schedule going 9-4 with quality wins over Ohio, James Madison, Youngstown State, Duquesne, and La Salle, and tough losses against, Pittsburgh, Cleveland State, and Memphis. But as we all know, if you're going to be successful in college basketball, you have to perform well in conference play, especially at the mid-major level, if you want to make your presence felt on the national stage. In smaller conferences like the Northeast Conference, where it is a one bid league, you need to win your conference tournament to earn the automatic bid if you want to make the NCAA tournament, and you need to perform well in your conference schedule to set yourself up for the conference tournament.
After going 13-5 in conference play the Colonials found themselves in third place headed into the NEC tournament. On Thursday March 1st the Colonials welcomed the sixth seeded Monmouth Hawks to the Sewall Center for the opening round. Robert Morris put on one of the most impressive shooting performances we've seen from them in recent memory. Coron Williams finished 8 for 11 from long distance and lead all scorers with 25 points. That win set them up with the second seeded Wagner Seahawks on Sunday March 4th in Staten Island.
After LIU made a late comeback to stave off Quinnipiac's upset bid, the stage was set for the conference title rematch. In the regular season Robert Morris won the only matchup between the Colonials and Blackbirds by a margin of 75-66. This time the stakes will be much higher with a conference title and the berth to the NCAA tournament on the line, and the Colonials will be ready to go, with vengeance on the mind.