Before we get to this week’s two critical Northeast Conference away games for the Hawks, I want to first take a quick moment and congratulate my colleague and fellow Hawk, Matt Harmon on being named the NJ Sportscaster of the Year. No one is more deserving of this honor than Matt, who is one of the most versatile and best broadcasters in the game today. It is a pleasure to be able to work with him, and I am proud to call him one of my mentors.

Now let’s take a look at Monmouth’s next two games, both of which are in Brooklyn. On Thursday, MU visits surprising St. Francis College (3-1 NEC) before taking on defending league tournament champion LIU Brooklyn (4-0 NEC) on Saturday. The Terriers love to shoot the three, and it could be a high-scoring affair tonight. MU traditionally has had success at St. Francis, but it is one of the tiniest gyms in Division I and could be a difficult place to play. With that said, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and North Carolina were pretty tough places to play too. Thursday’s game is as close to ‘must-win’ game as you will see for a college basketball team in mid-January, but aren’t all games ‘must-win?’

The Blackbirds await MU on Saturday, and they are a good team. They lead the league in scoring, averaging almost 80 points per game. LIU Brooklyn (and yes, that is their name now) can shoot from everywhere, the field, the free throw line and 3, and are just a good basketball team. Coach Jim Ferry has built an explosive team in the Boro of Biggie Smalls and it should be an entertaining game.