The big dogs are going to the Big Dance. The Albany Great Danes went into Vermont's Patrick Gymnasium and pulled off one more upset in the America East tournament 53-49 to earn the auto bid on Saturday afternoon.
Albany is now 3-0 all-time in AE title games. Its last two trips included a loss as a No. 13 seed to Virginia and that 1-vs.-16 game against UConn in 2006 that was close for a good while.
Saturday's America East final represented the 30th time that the league had the higher-seeded team host the championship game (as all small leagues should do). But it was just the fifth time the road team pulled out the victory. As it happens, Vermont did that very thing to Stony Brook last season.
Albany's a team that most don't know about. It'll most likely be overmatched from a size-and-skill standpoint in its Round-of-64 game. But Will Brown has been to the big stage before, so hopefully he gets his team as prepped as possible to give another scare to a big boy.
By the way, Great Danes is a top-15 nickname in college hoops.
Player to know: Mike Black. The senior guard leads the Great Danes in scoring (15 points per) and also does a solid job facilitating and going to the glass. Albany's not a tall team, so the offense filters a lot through the backcourt play, spearheaded by Black.
- Record: 24-10 overall, 9-7 in the America East
- Most recent tournament appearance: 2007
- Jerry Palm predicts: 15 seed
- KenPom ranking: 152
- Sagarin ranking: 172
- RPI: 148
- Best win: at Washington
- Worst losses: at Maine, vs. Boston University
- Notable stat: What's a good combo to give you a chance at pulling off an upset in the tournament? Make your free throws, and make your 3-pointers. And Albany does those two things better than any other facet of the game. The 73.5 percent from the line and 36.5 percent from deep. Not elite, but among the top 20 percent in college hoops.
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