Second-place finish is essential
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
February 24, 2007
Even though the Bobcats officially guaranteed themselves of hosting a quarterfinal contest in next week’s Northeast Conference tournament, its imperative that Quinnipiac come away with a win at Sacred Heart on Monday night for two reasons.
One, both teams are now locked in a two-way tie for second-place in the standings (11-6) following today’s 81-75 Bobcat home win over Robert Morris. A victory by QU will give them the second-seed closing out the regular season. And two, securing that second spot also gives the Bobcats a chance to host a second game in the tournament, should they get that far.
These are two important reasons why the Bobcats should want to stay in Hamden with their home crowd behind them for these next couple of weeks. The NEC tournament takes on a whole new purpose as eight teams look to secure the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA’s.
Central Connecticut would be the only exception, as a loss in this tournament still qualifies them for the NIT.
But in the Bobcats’ case, playing and trying to win on the road in this tourney would clearly not be an easy task. Then again, as an eighth-seed last year, Quinnipiac did give top-seeded Farleigh Dickinson a huge scare in the quarterfinal round—a game the Bobcats wound up losing by just one in the final seconds.
Still, Quinnipiac is sitting in a good position right now and it can only get better providing they take care of business in Fairfield Monday evening. Quinnipiac handled the Pioneers back on the 8th at “The Bank”, 79-75. SHU will also be looking to secure the second spot in the conference, so expect this game to be a preview of what lies ahead for the NEC’s when that gets underway this Thursday