Author Topic: Commonwealth Coast Conference  (Read 662225 times)

Offline middhoops

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4710 on: February 25, 2019, 06:17:59 pm »
Nichols squares off against Middlebury in the first round.
We've watched Nichols quite a few games this year, online.  Very impressed.
Two well matched teams playing at a neutral site.
Interested to read comments from CCC fans about Nichols' view of their bracket.

Offline D3ball1845

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4711 on: February 27, 2019, 12:17:41 am »
I guess this question was really directed at me as I've been the only consistent CCC poster for the past few years. Like you said, Nichols is a very impressive team and the CCC champion for the third year in a row. They finished 17-1 in CCC play this year, a conference that has finally been given a bit more recognition and respect with the emergence of Gordon College (sadly not selected for the NCAA tournament) and strong teams in Endicott and RWU. My RWU team finished winless against Nichols in the four seasons I've been following them. Nichols is just darn good. Unfortunately for the Northeast, two very strong teams in Middlebury and Nichols will face off in the first round of the NCAA tournament on 03/01.

Nichols is made up of one of the best backcourts in the country in guards Marcos Echevarria and DeAnte Bruton. To be honest, Bruton's success on the court has been overshadowed by Echevarria the past few years, and I'm almost tempted to say that Bruton is the better overall player. Regardless the two are quite a difficult duo to handle. The other starting guard, Nate Tenaglia, has done a good job of replacing sharpshooter Tyler Dion, who transferred to Worcester State this year. Tenaglia is a small wingman that can hit the 3 ball when called upon and might be the best one on one defender on the Bison. That being said, I think this is one of the weak spots of Nichols as they lack a true defensive stalwart that can contain an opposing team's star player. Nichols also has a strong starting front court in Jerome Cunningham and Matt Morrow. Cunningham is a very athletic yet undisciplined big man who sometimes seems to do more talking than playing. Morrow has developed into a very reliable presence down low and is a double double machine. Nichols plays a pick and roll offense, loves to take transition 3s, and typically dictates the pace of the game. If they are hitting their 3s, I truly believe they can beat any team in the country. They play man to man defense and in my four years of following the CCC I have maybe seen them run a zone defense on one occasion. One spot they're also weak in is depth, as they play about an 7-8 man rotation in competitive games. They don't have a single player off the bench who averages more than 6 ppg, demonstrating just how much they've relied on their starters the entire season. This can take a tole on players like Echevarria and Bruton, both of whom have averaged more than 33 mpg this season. If we're really going to nitpick the Bison, we can discuss the scenario where they get cold from deep during a stretch within a game. Unfortunately, they don't have any players who really take the ball to the hoop and get fouled for easy FT attempts. Nichols has only averaged 16.7 FTA per game this year, while they have shot a respectable 73% from the line. Echevarria and Bruton, who combine for over 40 ppg only get to the line 6.6 times a game. I hope this has given you some insight into the Nichols Bison. I'm a big supporter of the CCC and I'm hoping they can make a run in the NCAA tournament!

Getting past Middlebury will be a testament to how good this Nichols team really is. To be honest, I haven't followed Middlebury this year and just know they've had some very competitive games against Endicott in the past couple years. It also seems that Middlebury has been very up and down this season, more recently the latter after being upset by Tufts in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. They'll be coming into this game with over two weeks off. Luckily for them, Nichols is notorious for starting games off slow and is really a second half team. As far as how much of a run I think they can make this tournament, I can see Nichols as a Sweet 16 Team. Second round they'll likely play Rowan, who plays Emerson (NEWMAC Champion - a team that should not be overlooked) in the first round, which is a team I know little to nothing about. If they were to get to the Sweet 16, they'd likely be playing Amherst, who would be hosting at that point in the tournament if I'm not mistaken? Amherst is the hottest team in D3 basketball and with a tournament game at home, I really don't see Nichols coming out on top in that potential matchup. And not to sound cliche, but anything can happen in the NCAA tournament, so I would not be surprised at all to see Middlebury facing off against NESCAC foe Amherst in the Sweet 16.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 10:24:18 am by D3ball1845 »

Offline middhoops

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4712 on: February 27, 2019, 08:26:50 am »
Thank you, D3Ball1845.  First rate analysis.
FYI, Middlebury has three scorers.  Two blazing fast soph guards and a very athletic 6-8 forward.  The Panthers are very deep, with at least 10 players making key contributions.
However, they lose games they should win and vice versa.  Beat Williams and Hamilton, lost twice to Tufts.
Nichols will need to prevent Farrell and Bosco from driving to the hoop.  And Nichols' bigs must show up ready for a physical battle. 
If Echevarria and Bruton play their A game, Nichols should prevail.  I've seen Nichols play many times this year and when they're hitting those long transition 3s, they are plain unstoppable.
And you are absolutely correct about Amherst.  Even though they lost a key starter, the Mammoths are still improving game by game.  They have the potential to go a long way.  Plenty of top shelf D3 athletes, a beast in the middle and a phenomenal point guard.  I won't root for them, but I sure admire the team.

And good luck to RWU next season.

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4713 on: February 27, 2019, 09:29:55 am »

The post is where it will be won.  Middlebury will drive to the hoop and they'll be slamming the ball into the bigs.  Cunningham has not ever really shown he can avoid foul trouble, especially in those situations where he's overmatched.  It'll come down to his ability to stay on the floor, in my opinion.  I think Midd can match Nichols in the shooting dept if they have to do so.  It's going to be won or lost in the post.

I haven't seen the numbers, so my perception could be wrong, I'm just not sure Nichols is as efficient under the new coach as they were last year.  Yes, they're missing pieces and a bit depleted, depth-wise, but I'm not sure this system has fully taken root yet.

Echevarria needs seven threes to become the third all time career leader in 3pt made - he's have at least that many attempts.  If he gets the record, I think Nichols has a very good chance to win.  If he's short, it could be a real battle.
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Offline middhoops

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4714 on: February 27, 2019, 04:41:13 pm »
Ryan, your observation rings true.  However, senior leadership and Marco Echevarria scare a Middlebury fan.
Midd's bigs are foul prone.
Are Nichols' bigs the same?

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4715 on: February 28, 2019, 06:47:25 am »
Ryan, your observation rings true.  However, senior leadership and Marco Echevarria scare a Middlebury fan.
Midd's bigs are foul prone.
Are Nichols' bigs the same?

Cunningham can be, but the bigger issue for Nichols is they really only have two of them.  Just not the same interior depth.
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Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4716 on: March 07, 2019, 03:56:12 pm »


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Offline nescac1

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Re: Commonwealth Coast Conference
« Reply #4717 on: April 18, 2019, 08:52:46 am »
Boston Herald superteam member Jalen Echevarria (yes, they are related :)) to Endicott:

https://www.itemlive.com/2019/04/10/st-marys-hoops-star-echevarria-inks-loi-for-endicott/