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Our favorites, sleepers, and dark horses in the 2021 NEC Conference basketball tournament

We take a look at one favorite, one sleeper and one dark horse candidate to win it all in the 2021 NEC Conference men's basketball tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Wagner at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NEC Conference Tournament will feature just four of the conference’s 10 teams with a pair of games on Saturday, March 6th followed by the title game on Tuesday, March 9th. One team will advance to the NCAA Tournament from the NEC, and every game will be held at the top-seeded team’s home court.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best teams in each conference, and providing picks and predictions for each conference tournament. Plenty of favorites will win, but we’ve got some sleepers to consider that might be able to pull off a big upset on the way to the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s the bracket for the NEC Conference Tournament with TV listings, dates and times.

Favorite: Wagner

The Wagner Seahawks come in as the top seed in the tournament, and they have the advantage of guaranteeing themselves a home game in the conference championship. Wagner and Bryant are the teams to beat in this tournament, but we’ll give the nod to Wagner. The Seahawks have the No. 1 offense in terms of field goal percentage in the conference, and Elijah Ford averages 18.1 points per game, which is second in the conference, and he’s shooting 60.9% from floor.

Sleeper: Bryant

In a four-team tournament, yes we will go with the No. 2 seed as the sleeper. The Bryant Bulldogs actually swept the season series against Wagner, though that occurred in December. Melo Eggleston transferred to Bryant for his third college team in his career, but he ruptured his Achilles in his first game of the season against Syracuse and was ruled out for the season. Bryant is the top scoring team in the conference and could easily be the team to come out of the NEC.

Dark Horse: Sacred Heart

Let’s go with the Sacred Heart Pioneers, who will come in as the No. 3 seed, though they are tied with four seed Mount. St. Mary’s with a 9-7 record in conference play. Sacred Heart has a 9-8 overall record and is .500 away from home, which is crucial because they will likely need to win two road games to enter the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore guard Tyler Thomas is the leading scorer in the conference with 18.8 points per game.