|Mike Grosodonia (left) and Rob Kornaker (right) worked closely together as coaches and friends at St. John Fisher last season.
Photo by St. John Fisher, athletics
Mike Grosodonia and Rob Kornaker have shared a close friendship for years, so the former wasn't surprised when the latter asked to talk. Most head coaches speak to their assistant coaches on a daily basis, after all.
This space is normally reserved for roundup items on specific teams and players, as well as notable performances and Top 25 poll results. But since this is the first column of the season, and most teams have played only a few games, I wanted to quickly recap the top contenders for each of the East's conferences in 2017-18. College basketball is back!
Ithaca's women's team won the Empire 8 conference tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, before falling to SUNY New Paltz last season. The Bombers are off to a fast 6-1 start this season, including a 2-0 mark in Liberty League play. Ithaca and RIT shared the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll, ahead of Skidmore.
The Oswego State men's team finished 21-7 en route to SUNYAC regular-season and conference-tournament titles last season. But the Lakers' season ended with a tough first-round NCAA overtime loss to Scranton. Cortland is off to a strong start in 2017, having won five of its first six games, including two SUNYAC matchups.
Defending men's champion Morrisville State was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll. The Mustangs return last season's conference Rookie of the Year in sophomore forward Kevin Dennis.
And that's not all
The East region also includes UAA teams NYU and Rochester, ACAA teams Alfred State and SUNY Canton, and independent New Rochelle. Of this group, the two Rochester teams stand out as perennial postseason contenders. The Rochester women advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, after an Elite Eight appearance two years ago. The men finished 24-5 last season, advancing to the Elite Eight.
Have a story idea? A fun stat? Just want to talk some hoops? I'm always happy to hear from a fellow D-III fan. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @Andrew_Lovell.