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Northeast Conference tournament preview

Dates: March 3, 6, 9

Site: Campus sites (higher seed is home)

Outlook: On paper, Long Island looks like the favorite to win this conference. They finished the season at 24-5 and league play at 16-2, winning their last ten games and 18 of their last 19. The Blackbirds love to run the floor and push the ball. They have seven players averaging between 7.3 ppg and 13.1 ppg and eight playing at least 17.4 mpg.

The star for LIU is Julian Boyd, a forward battling a potentially dangerous heart condition, averages 13.1 ppg and 9.0 rpg, but he may be the best forward in the league. Quinnipiac’s Justin Rutty, along with having a head full of dreadlocks, is averaging 14.5 ppg and 9.1 rpg. His return from injury sparked the 9-1 run the second place Bobcats are currently on. Rutty is one of three players averaging double figures for QU.

Robert Morris would have been a threat as the No. 3 seed, but they just lost Karon Abraham to a season-ending achilles injury. CCSU finished fourth at 11-7 in league play, but more on them in a second.

Championship game: March 9, 1:05 pm on CBS

Player to watch: Ken Horton, CCSU

Horton has been an absolute monster the last six weeks or so. He averaged 20.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg on the season. He upped that to 21.4 ppg and 10.0 rpg in league play. He was more impressive, still, averaging 23.6 ppg and 10.6 rpg over his last eight games. There is a reason he was voted the NEC player of the year.

Champion: Quinnipiac

I grew up a half mile from the Quinnipiac campus. I went to my first ever college party there when I was 16 (sorry, mom). I attended, and then worked, their basketball camps growing up. This pick is not biased in any way.

Complete tournament bracket

Tournament standings, stats, more

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.