You'd be mad too if nobody respected you and your 8-1 conference record.
I’m going to interrupt my usual Hofstra bleatings to declare that I think Northeastern is getting the shaft. Not because they’re a six-point underdog tonight at VCU in the latest Clash of the Titans, or because Litos picks VCU to win by six. VCU should be favored and should be expected to win tonight at home, where Litos notes the Rams are 9-0 this season and 72-11 all-time against the CAA.
But why is Northeastern so clearly considered the third team amongst the trio atop the CAA standings?
According to this week’s notes package from the CAA, Northeastern is ranked 59th in the latest Collegiate Basketball Report RPI, behind both Mason (53rd) and VCU (55th). OK, that’s basically a dead heat. But Ken Pomeroy has the Huskies 84th, well behind VCU (54th) and Mason (75th). That’s despite an OOC Pomeroy ranks 40th in the nation, second-toughest in the CAA behind Drexel (37th) and well ahead of VCU (74th) and Mason (190th)
Most amazingly, the Collegeinsider.com mid-major top 25 poll has the Huskies 18th, behind VCU (sixth) and Mason (ninth). Psst. You guys know Northeastern just beat Mason, right?
Not only that, but Northeastern is beating its CAA opponents more decisively than Mason. The Huskies’ eight conference wins have been by an average of 13.75 points, more than a point-and-a-half better than Mason (12.29 points). In fact, Drexel’s average margin of victory in conference (12.5 points) is better than Mason’s.
So why does Northeastern get no respect? Maybe it’s the familiar bias against former America East schools and/or schools not inside the Beltway. Maybe the Huskies get no love because they play in a hockey arena, or because they play in a hockey arena that prominently mentions it was the original home of the Boston Celtics, or because they play in a hockey arena that looks like a theatre from the outside and has a concession stand straight out of a K-Mart: Pizza and soda and hot dogs. Going there almost had me waxing nostalgic about the summer of 1990, when I spent my weekends at K-Mart stocking shelves, chasing down carts, misplacing my name badge and getting yelled at by my beaten-down-by-life managers. Good times.
More importantly, why did I decide to take up Northeastern’s cause and adopt them as the unofficial second-favorite team of Defiantly Dutch? (That’s lame, but not quite as lame as a New Yorker whose two favorite baseball teams are the Yankees and Mets. One or the other, wafflers. One or the other)
Maybe it’s because I saw Northeastern at its complete best during a 73-50 thrashing of the Dutchmen Jan. 5. Maybe it’s stemming from when I was a junior in high school and determined I wanted to go to Northeastern, until I took another look at my report card and had a good laugh with my folks. Maybe I’m just biased because I’m so fond of Boston. Or maybe I’m just like Sully Ray and I think they have sharp uniforms.
Anyway, tonight’s the night for the rest of the world to learn how good Northeastern really is. The Huskies are beating the Rams tonight to take sole possession of first place and earn the title of Team Most Likely To Lose To The Dutchmen In The CAA Championship Game. Believers, climb aboard.
Email Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org. And join the Defiantly Dutch group at Facebook today!