Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Wednesday, March 8th Championship Preview

Prediction Record: 485-245

Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Monmouth (7:30 PM, ESPN2)- The Northeast Conference championship game features two teams that struggled down the stretch but turned it around to reach the title game. #1 seed FDU had lost their final two games of the regular season, while #3 Monmouth had lost three of their last six. FDU is the favorite. The duo of Chad Timberlake and Gordon Klaiber may be the best in the conference, while 7-footer Andrea Crosariol is one of the top big in the NEC. There are several role players that also contribute, led by forward Michael Peeples. The Knights are the highest-scoring team in the league, but are somewhat weak on the defensive end. On the other side, Monmouth is led by Deki Delic and Marques Alston. They are the main options on offense, yet both only average about 12 points per game. Prediction: Fairleigh Dickinson 73, Monmouth 66

Northern Arizona vs. Montana (9:30 PM, ESPN2)- The Big Sky Championship will come down to the top two seeds in the conference facing off. Northern Arizona came into the tournament on somewhat of a slump, while Montana was on a hot streak. NAU lead the league in scoring offense, but are also next-to-last in scoring defense. They are near the top in nearly every statistical category on the offensive side, but are in the bottom half of several defensive categories. NAU has four players in double-figures, including one of the best backcourts in the Big Sky. Kelly Golob and Steve Sir are both excellent long-range shooters, while Tyrone Bazy is a very solid all-around player. Ruben Boykin is one of the better inside players in the conference. He leads the Big Sky in rebounding and is also a force on the offensive end. Montana has the best scoring defense in the conference, and are also the most-efficient team from the field. They might have the best duo in the conference in guard Kevin Criswell and forward Andrew Strait. Both are likely all-conference players. Virgil Matthews is a solid all-around performer. Prediction: Montana 69, Northern Arizona 65

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