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Wayne Cavadi | | December 7, 2018

Bloomfield and Caldwell rekindle their fiery DII basketball rivalry Saturday. Here's what you need to know

Caldwell Athletics Caldwell is set to take on Bloomfield in the DII basketball showcase.

A rivalry renewed. Caldwell and Bloomfield are set to take the court Saturday in the DII basketball showcase. The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader kicks off with the women taking the court at 1 p.m. ET and then men's teams following at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Caldwell and Bloomfield have quite a few similarities that add a little fuel to the fire. The rivalry between these two New Jersey schools dates back to the 1990s. The two schools are also located less than five miles apart, so to say they are familiar with each other may be an understatement. The proximity of the two programs certainly rivals any in college sports, save the Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State rivalry in which the two schools walk across the street to each other's stadiums.

The women's game features a matchup of the 2017-18 CACC North Division co-champions, with both teams finishing the season with a 16-3 conference record. That feat is more impressive when you consider both teams were led to the co-title by first-year head coaches. Neither team has gotten off to the starts they had hoped for in 2018, both sitting at 1-5, however, the Bears and Cougars are coming into Saturday's matchup fresh off their first wins of the season.

Bloomfield Caldwell
Head coach: Vanessa Watson Head coach: Torey Northup-Jones
PPG: 53.8 PPG: 58.0
Points against: 81.7 Points against: 67.2
Players to watch:  Players to watch:
F Deja McKenzie (12.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 12 steals) G Alessia Smaldone (12.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 26 assists)
G Caitlin Townes (11.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 12 assists) G Paula Dits (8.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg)

MORE: 11 DII men's basketball games we're excited for this December

The second game pits the men against each other. Bloomfield enters the game at 2-4 but had a big 94-93 win last week against nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas. While this is a big game for a Caldwell team that sits at 5-2 and is off to a perfect start in the CACC season, it is even grander for the Cougars head coach Mark A. Corino. At the conclusion of the women's game, Caldwell will have a dedication ceremony officially naming the court at Caldwell's Newman Center after its long-time coach and Assistant Vice President for Athletics.

Corino is the second winningest men's collegiate coach in New Jersey history, his 568 career wins trailing Stockton State's Gerry Matthews by just 35 victories. He has amassed a 473-399 record since taking over at Caldwell in 1988. Those other 95 wins? They came while Corino was the head coach for Bloomfield for the 1982 to 1987 season. Just a little more spark to add to this rivalry.

Bloomfield Caldwell
Head coach: Gerald Holmes Head coach: Mark A. Corino
PPG: 81.3 PPG: 75.7
Points against: 92.7 Points against: 74.9
Players to watch:  Players to watch:
G Keith Washington (18.7 ppg, 29 assists) G Ahmad Harrison (14.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 30 assists)
F Matt Lajeunesse (11 ppg, 12 rpg) G Ned Ogoemesim (14.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg)

MORE: Men's rankings | Women's rankings