It’s turning out to be a bounce back season for men’s college basketball in Pittsburgh.
With Pitt (15-10) and Duquesne (17-6) dominating most of the basketball headlines in town, Robert Morris is quietly sneaking under the radar with their play this season.
Following their 77-60 win Thursday night at Mount St. Mary’s, Andy Toole’s team improved their record to 15-11 and 11-2 in the Northeast Conference. The Colonials are tied with Merrimack for first place in the NEC but Merrimack, is ineligible to participate in the NEC Tournament because it’s their first year participating in Division I basketball.
With that being said, Robert Morris is in the driving seat to be the top seed in the conference tournament as they have a 2-game lead over St. Francis with only 5 games remaining. However, RMU still has their two games with St. Francis left to play which could obviously change the current standings.
If the Colonials are able to hold on and win the regular season championship, they would automatically qualify for the NIT regardless of what happens in the NEC Tournament.
That would make back-to-back postseasons for Robert Morris after playing in the CIT in 2019. The Colonials’ last NCAA berth was 2015, when they beat North Florida in the play-in game in Dayton before losing to No. 1 seed Duke, 85-56. The last time Robert Morris went to the NIT was back in 2014 when they beat St. John’s in the first round before losing to Belmont in the second round.
The performance of this year’s Robert Morris team is a bit of a surprise considering they were picked to finish 5th in the preseason NEC Coaches Poll.
The strong performances this season by Dante Treacy, A.J. Bramah, Yannis Mendy and Jon and Josh Williams have Robert Morris in position to collect its first 20-win season since the 2014-15 season, when they finished with 20 wins.
RMU WIN TOTAL LAST 7 SEASONS
This season: 15 wins (at least 6 games remaining)
2018-19: 18 wins
2017-18: 16 wins
2016-17: 14 wins
2015-16: 10 wins
2014-15: 20 wins
2013-14: 22 wins
March hasn’t produced any college basketball excitement in Western Pennsylvania over the last handful of seasons but with what’s going on with Robert Morris coupled with Pitt and Duquesne battling for some sort of postseason action, basketball fans might finally experience some “March Madness.”