For the first time in 24 years, the Northeastern Huskies are going back to the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies asserted themselves early and held on to win the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament championship by beating William & Mary 72-61 on Monday night.
Four players scored in double-figures for the Huskies Monday, as Quincy Ford led the way with 22 points (8-10 from the field and 4-5 from three-point territory). Meanwhile David Walker added 15, Scott Eatherton chipped in 12 and Caleb Donnelly contributed 13 off the bench.
The Huskies are now 23-11 on the year after finishing in a four-way tie for first place in the CAA conference with a 12-6 record. Northeastern’s RPI is now 117, and they are likely looking at a 14 or 15 seed. Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com has the Huskies getting a 15 seed (actually he had the CAA winner getting that seed prior to Monday night, so it’s doubtful anything changes in regards to their seed).
Thus far on the season, the Huskies have already taken down Florida State, Manhattan and Richmond, so they have proven they can hang with some big clubs.
Led by head coach Bill Coen, who has a 144–142 record at the Boston school, the Huskies will want to make the most of their appearance. They don’t want to just be happy to be there. They’ll want to do some damage. That said, Northeastern does have some nice pieces to work with.
The Huskies like to space the floor and swing the ball side to side and emphasize an inside-out approach on offense. They look for the best shot, and most of the time, it is a three-point attempt.
All five starters average between 8.4 points and 14.6 points per game, with 6’8″ senior forward Eatherton leading the way with 14.6 points per game while also leading the team in rebounding with 6.4 per game. Walker, a 6’6″ junior guard, also has fine numbers across the board with 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and a team-leading 3.5 assists per game.
The Huskies are not very deep, as the starting five do most of the damage. Only two players off the bench average more than 10 minutes per game. So if Northeastern gets in foul trouble, they will be in dire straits.
Like I said, Northeastern loves to share the ball. As a team, they average 14.2 assists per game (69th in the NCAA) while connecting on .483 percent of their shots, which ranks 18th in the country. They are clearly an efficient ball club.
This is a smart team that wont beat themselves, but if their shots are not falling they will be beat. It will depend on who they draw and if they can defend against a more athletic squad. Regardless, this is a Huskie team that should have your attention.