The Funny Thing Is That I Like Their Uniforms The Most…

They hate NE as an acronym up thataway in Boston. You see, it is grammatically incorrect. The place is Northeastern University, which is of course NU.

NE symbolizes one of those directional schools, seemingly always followed by “Louisiana” or “Missouri,” and you only know the name because one of those guys beat some SEC school around 1996 in the NCAA tournament. Or was it a Big Ten school? There’s a stigma attached to being a directional school, although I don’t know why. So we’ll stick with NU, or for those familiar with this space, Nor’Easter.

But there is a third acronym I don’t think you know, and it allows us to accurately grasp what everyone believes is the fate of the 2008-09 Huskies: NUTP.

The Nutpees are the Trendy Pick to capture the CAA title. Big Names are touting this team this preseason, even though you and I have known this for more than a year. And you and I can also name four players on the roster, but I digress…

Bill Coen may hate those expectations-and he may wince at the success rate of other named trendies-but it says here those folks aren’t far off.

Last year, for the third consecutive season, the Huskies finished with at least a .500 record in the CAA, and that makes them one of only four teams in the conference to do so. That joins them with VCU, George Mason, and Old Dominion. What’s more, a 9-9 conference mark doesn’t seem so mediocre when you consider the Huskies lost six of the nine games by five points or less.

But now there are those annoying expectations.

Three Key Statements

  1. The moving of the three point line will affect Northeastern more than any other team in the CAA.
  2. Chase Allen’s ability to make The Jump in his sophomore season, especially on offense, is worth five wins.
  3. The Nutpees cannot lose their defensive edge in search of offensive efficiency or it’s another middle-of-the-pack finish.

Season Shaper(s)

  1. Janning, Adako, Allen, NkemO, etc. are all keys, but the play of Eugene Spates will make a tremendous difference in Coen’s ability to experiment. The Huskies aren’t particularly deep and need a 20-25mpg weapon coming off their bench.
  2. The Nutpees need to develop an edge. For example, they could use Chris Alvarez getting a little mean streak, or Vinny Lima averaging about 10ppg.
  3. Manny Being Manny. How easy was that line? Manny Adako performing at an All Conference level-and we mean first team, not third team-will relieve pressure from Janning to score the basketball. Much of the Huskies’s issues on offense last season were due to Janning being the only consistent scoring threat.

The Underdog
Matt Smith is the ultimate underdog and ultimate difference maker. Though recruited to play in America East, Smith earns minutes by continually working hard. That means court time for his specialty-the long range bomb. And the Huskies may need it.

Hey Coach, What Happens If…

  • You wake up Valentine’s Day morning in the Fairfax Courtyard by Marriott with knowledge that you are facing George Mason for something completely new to your team-first place?
  • You start firing bricks like a bad episode of Cops and start 4-4 in conference?
  • You win that Mason game?

If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak:

Expectations, schmecpectations, these guys are good. They are big (five guys who will play extended minutes are 6-8 or taller), they defend, and they have a smart coach. Nobody likes Mathews in February, except maybe the Maple Leafs. Place range is first through fifth.


~ by mglitos on October 20, 2008.

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