It's the exact halfway mark of the regular season, as good enough a time as any to take a look at the top players in the conference thus far.
But, first, a note of warning: The following is for entertainment purposes only. Picking all-star teams at the mid-season point is a meaningless exercise, and often bears no resemblance to the true actual post-season selections.
Still, it's fun to consider what has transpired to date. We'll pick two teams for me and, later, two teams for women.
Here are the men's selections...
- Edwin Ubiles, 6-6 senior forward, Siena (15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists)
He is the leading scorer on the conference's dominant team, has stepped up in key situations and even takes over at point guard to give starter Ronald Moore a rest for several minutes each game.
- Alex Franklin, 6-5 senior forward, Siena (15.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, .57.8 shooting percentage)
A near unstoppable inside force. He is fifth in the league in rebounding and scoring and fifth in field-goal percentage.
- Ryan Rossiter, 6-9 junior center, Siena (13.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, .593 shooting percentage)
The conference's player who averages a double-double, plus his .593 shooting percentage is second-best in the league.
- Ronald Moore, 5-11 senior guard, Siena (7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists)
He makes Siena go, leads the nation in assists and the conference in assist-turnover ratio with a 2.8 number when the next best in that stat in the league is 1.9.
-Frank Turner, 5-10 senior guard, Canisius (17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, .523 field-goal percentage)
A do-everything guard who spearheads his team's best start in nine years. Has cut back his turnovers and made drastic improvement in his shooting.
ANALYSIS: It's not likely that four players from the same team will wind up as post-season all-stars; league coaches, who do the voting, tend to share the wealth when it comes to all-star honors. But, for now, who deserves a first-team slot more than any of the four Siena players? Answer: No one.
- Derek Needham, 6-0 point guard, Fairfield (15.5 points, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals)
The best freshman the conference has seen since Frank Turner and Edwin Ubiles were co-Rookies of the Year after the 2006-07 season. A big reason for the Stags' resurgence.
- Anthony Johnson, 6-8 senior forward, Fairfield (13.8 points, 9.2 reboundsm 2,3 blocks)
Leads the conference in blocks and is No. 3 in rebounding. One of the top two or three inside players in the league, and the conference's most-heartwarming story with his return from severe health problems (blood clots) last season.
- Bilal Benn, 6-5 senior forward, Niagara (14.2 points, 9.9 rebounds)
Niagara is off to a disappointing start, but Benn is putting up his typical numbers including a near-double-double in points and rebounds.
- Tyrone Lewis, 5-11 senior guard, Niagara (17.1 points, 2.8 three-pointers per game, 1.8 steals)
The conference's second-leading scorer, and top long-range marksman.
- Rico Pickett, 6-3 junior guard, Manhattan (17.0 points, 4.2 rebounds)
Third-leading scorer in the conference, he has given the offensively challenged Jaspers enough to keep them competitive in most games.
Coach of the First Half: Fran McCaffery, Siena.
How can you pick against a coach of a team that's unbeaten in conference play thus far?
But ... if you wanted to make a case for John Dunne of Saint Peter's, or Ed Cooley of Fairfield, you wouldn't get much of an argument here.
Player of the First Half: Edwin Ubiles, Siena.
He has just taken over games when needed this season. While others have better stats, no one has had more impact on games this season.
Rookie of the First Half: Derek Needham, Fairfield.
No one is even close.