FCIAC boys basketball midseason report
The divide is wide and there is little hope of it closing.
It sounds strange to say as we sit at the halfway point of the boys basketball season, but the playoff field is nearly set with the top nine teams separating themselves from the pack.
Right now, seven of the top nine teams have less than two losses with Bridgeport Central and Wilton, the No. 8-9 teams, only having three.
Meanwhile, the teams at the bottom have bunched themselves up with one team having no wins, four teams with one win and one team, McMahon, with three league wins.
That leaves Greenwich, at 4-5 in the FCIAC, floating alone in the middle, though also just two games back of the eighth spot.
It is a bizarre divide we have not seen in recent memory in the FCIAC.
Normally, there are 10-12 teams in playoff contention up until the final week of the season.
Unless one of the teams at the bottom rallies mightily, we will be looking at nine teams fighting for eight spots in the FCIAC tournament over the final weeks.
TOP OF THE HEAP
Ridgefield (9-0 FCIAC) As the defending FCIAC champions, Ridgefield is not sneaking up on anyone. The bullseye on their backs does not seem to be hindering them at all, picking up right where they left off a season ago despite losing four players from that team. The Tigers are talented and disciplined on both ends of the floor with multiple All-FCIAC caliber players around All-State caliber forward Brenden McNamara.
Danbury (8-1) The Hatters came in with big expectations and other than a bad night against Ridgefield, have lived up to them. Knocking off Warde without Denali Burton Friday night, proved they are not a one-man-show. Greenwich is the only team Danbury will face closing out the season that is not a current playoff team.
Warde (7-1) The Mustangs have exceeded expectations thus far, proving to be one of the best teams in the league. Yes, Sean Conway is lighting up the scoreboard but the Mustangs are much more with talented players all over the floor and guys giving quality minutes off the bench.
Trinity (8-1) If you line up all the starting fives in the FCIAC, you would probably take Trinity’s over the others. Very few teams can match up with Trinity’s size or athleticism. When they are locked in, they are very tough to beat as was evident against Wilton. The problem is, they are not always locked in. Nobody would be surprised either way if Trinity won the FCIAC or got bounced in the quarters.
Wilton (5-3) When the 3-pointers are falling, Wilton can put on a clinic and beat anybody. When the outside shots are not dropping, things can get ugly quickly for the Warriors. Wilton is currently in its hardest stretch of highway losing on the road at Trinity Friday night. After facing arch-rival Ridgefield Tuesday, they have to come right back and take on Central Thursday.
Norwalk (6-2) The Bears’ comeback win over Central last week could prove to be their most important of the season, though beating Wilton was pretty good, too. Norwalk has a good inside-outside balance and can fill it up, only scoring under 60 points twice. The Bears are hot, winning six of their last seven games.
Stamford (6-2) The Black Knights are settling in as a team nobody will want to play in the first round of the playoffs. They are scrappy on defense, solid on the glass despite sometimes playing five guards and have multiple scoring threats. The problem for Stamford may getting in as its remaining schedule is tough with games against Danbury, Warde, Norwalk, Central, Wilton and Trinity
Trumbull (7-2) Before losing to Ludlowe, Trumbull had won seven-in-a-row, racing to near the top of the FCIAC standings. In that stretch, The Eagles defeated Stamford but did not face another current playoff team. That will change and the young Eagles will be put to the test when they close the season against six-straight potential playoff teams.
Central (6-3) Much like Stamford, if Central gets in to the tournament nobody is going to want to draw them in the quarterfinals. Make or break time for the Hilltoppers will come when they face Danbury, Trinity, Stamford and Trumbull over a 10-day stretch in February. They will have to win more than one of those if they hope to make the final eight.
Darien (1-8) The Blue Wave have not knocked off one of the playoff teams but they are certainly scaring them. Darien went down to the wire with both Wilton and Ridgefield last week, losing by two points each game, and have played other top teams well. Darien is very well coached by Charoy Bentley and could pick up a win over a top team in the final weeks.