NEC basketball tournament features 3 New York City schools

St. John’s tends to overshadow its fellow Big Apple men’s basketball teams from November through February. That often changes once tournament season rolls around, and this year is no different.

While the Red Storm are all but certain to be ousted early in next week’s Big East tournament, the city schools which are members of the NEC have an excellent shot at sending a Big Apple representative to the NCAA Tournament.

Wagner, St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU Brooklyn all will compete on Wednesday in the NEC tournament quarterfinals as they vie for the conference crown and an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Pundits currently project the NEC champ to receive a 16 seed, but it’s better than nothing.

Here’s a look at all three NEC city schools and how they fared this season.

No. 1 Wagner (20-9, 13-5 NEC)

Next game: vs. Robert Morris, 7 p.m.

The Staten Island squad won the regular season NEC crown by two games and was the conference’s only team to win at least 20 games or lose fewer than 10 overall.

The Seahawks, riding a five-game winning streak, are led by Michael Carey. The junior guard averaged 12.0 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds despite standing at just 6-5. Sophomore guard Corey Henson led Wagner in scoring (13.5 points per game) and 3-point accuracy (41.9%).

No. 4 St. Francis Brooklyn (15-16, 11-7)

Next game: vs. Mount St. Mary’s, 9 p.m.

Winners of four in a row, the Terriers surged into a three-way tie for second with Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacred Heart. They’re also coming off a 55-49 victory over their Wednesday opponent on Saturday, which bodes well for a team that went 9-4 at home this season.

The trio of senior guard Tyreek Jewell (12.9 ppg), junior guard Yunus Hopkinson (12.0 ppg) and senior forward Chris Hooper (11.5 ppg) — all local products — will do much of the heavy lifting on offense. However, senior forward Antonio Jenifer (8.5 ppg) led the Terriers in scoring during each of the past two games.

No. 6 LIU Brooklyn (15-14, 9-9)

Next game: @ Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.

The Blackbirds were one of three NEC schools to close the regular season with a winning record overall. They split a pair of meetings against Sacred Heart in conference play, but lost 98-90 in their last visit to Fairfield, Connecticut.

Junior forward Jerome Frink (16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and sophomore guard Martin Hermannsson (16.5 ppg) ranked third and fourth, respectively, among NEC scoring leaders. Both will be counted on heavily in what is likely to be a high-scoring affair against Sacred Heart and conference leading scorer Cane Broome (22.7 ppg).

NEC tournament schedule

Wednesday: Quarterfinals

Saturday: Semifinals

Monday: Championship

(Higher seed hosts each matchup)