Who plays?: Mt. St. Mary's (3-3) travels to Pittsburgh to take on the defending NEC champion Robert Morris (1-4).
What's at stake?: The Mount lost at the Sewell Center last March in the NEC Championship game. This game doesn't hold nearly the importance of that game, nor does this game erase anything from the game. But the Mount did start 0-3 in the conference last year and was never able to fully recover. Consequently, that championship game was in Pittsburgh and not Emmitsburg.
When is tipoff?: Thursday at 7:00. The game will be aired on MASN.
Where is the game?: at the Sewell Center on the Campus of Robert Morris. Radio coverage available on the Mount Radio Network, 1450AM WTHU.
The Analysis: The Mount has won the games you would expect it to win this season, and dropped the ones again the higher class competition. Robert Morris hasn't fully got things going in the early season as it is trying to replace several key components from last year's championship team.
Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: The Mount has clearly been the better team thus far in the season. Robert Morris' only victory has been over Alcorn State. The Mount also has the more experienced team and the more polished offense at this point in the season. Meanwhile, the Mount's defense has been very strong early in the season and that should provide difficulties for the Colonials.
Advantages for Robert Morris: Robert Morris has had 11 days off since its last game. So the Colonials have had plenty of time to iron out some of their early issues in practice over that period of time. In addition, the Colonials have familiarity with the Mount and have done a good job of taking away some of the Mount's strengths in those games. The extra preparation time could help them. They also probably were able to add a few things that the Mount hasn't seen on film this year that could catch them off guard.
What to expect?: The Mount should be ready to get at the Colonials after falling three times to Robert Morris last year. So expect there to be plenty of emotion early from both sides. With the time off, the Colonials might come out a little rusty. The Mount guards of Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou have led the way for the Mount all season and will need to lead the offense on Thursday. Shawn Atupem and Kelly Beidler provide the Mounties a presence upfront. Robert Morris is still searching for its identity this season as it has five first year players receiving significant playing time. Velton Jones has proved he can provide offense, but needs to cut down on the turnovers. Karon Abraham has looked good at times but hasn't played with consistency. Look for the Mount to make a run near the end of the first half or at the start of the second and get off to a good start in the NEC. 66-54 in favor of Mt. St. Mary's is the call.
DCI picks the Colonials
Rivalry Part 1 - 2009 Edition