Blog Entry

Conference tourney preview: America East

Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 10:53 pm
 

The America East tournament format is certainly unique. While many conference tournaments have different ways of rewarding higher seeds and/or deciding how its respective bracket is formed, the America East chooses to have a neutral site — this year, it’s Hartford, as it was in 2010 — for its first round, quarterfinals and semis, then has the highest remaining seed host the title game.

It’s a system that puts everyone on a level playing field until the title game. Make it that far, and your regular-season play is rewarded. I’m a big fan, even if it’s not perfect. Only the Horizon, with its double-bye into the conference semifinals for the high seeds, is a better format. The America East also has the largest layoff between semifinals and finals — six days. Play begins on Thursday and wraps up Saturday night. The two remaining teams will play for a 16 seed (no doubt this conference is getting a 16; the power numbers have, well, no power) on March 13. Is that a good thing? I don’t know, but it’s done for television purposes, clearly.

So what are we looking at this year? Well, at 13-3, Vermont (22-7) won the league. Boston University, which for so long stood tall over the AE, finished second with a 12-4 record. Vermont wasn’t supposed to be this good, but behind Evan Fjeld, he of the epic mustache, and Brian Voelkel, coach Mike Lonergan has UVM on the verge of getting back to The Tournament for the first time since this happened. And how awesome that was.

Boston (18-13) is considered the team with the best play as of late, though, and it’s led by John Holland (right), who is the conference’s best player. It does seem like a two-team race. Maine (9-7), Albany (9-7) and Stony Brook (8-8) are lumped into that mediocre category, and Hartford (7-9) will have to fuel playing on its home court into an upset or two.

The team with the best chance to keep a game close is Vermont, as the Catamounts played well with UConn early and have solid size and quickness for a program at this level. Fjeld is sneaky good and a very efficient shooter because he's crafty in how he scores close to the hoop. And I do not veil it at all: I grew up 10 minutes from the UVM campus, and when the Cats do well, I’m happy. Would love to see them win this thing.

****

Title game: Sunday, March 12, ESPN2.

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. John Holland, Boston
  2. Tim Ambrose, Albany
  3. Brian Voelkel, Vermont

Conference RPI: 28

KenPom.com rating: 29

Sagarin rating: 29

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: None 

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance:

Albany Great Danes: 2007, 13 seed, an 84-57 loss to Virginia

Binghamton Bearcats: 2009, 15 seed, an 86-62 loss to Duke

Boston University Terriers: 2002, 16 seed, a 90-52 loss to Cincinnati

Hartford Hawks: N/A

Maine Black Bears: N/A

Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers: 2008, 15 seed,  a 66-47 loss to Georgetown

New Hampshire Wildcats: N/A

Stony Brook Seawolves: N/A

Vermont Catamounts: 2005, 13 seed, a 60-57 win over Syracuse in the first round followed by  a 72-61 loss to Michigan State in the second round

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Matt Norlander

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Comments

Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2011 8:43 pm
 

Conference tourney preview: America East

It looks like Vermont will not make a back-to-back appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Will the Seawolves make the tournament for the first time in school history, or will the Terriers go to the tournament for the first time in nine years? I am anticipating a good title game!



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Conference tourney preview: America East

Good article, but UVM's coach is Mike Lonergan. Their old coach was Tom Brennan. Tom Lonergan is an understandable mistake. Also, how is Evan Fjeld not a top 3 player in the America East, he's surely better than Voelkel in my opinion. I live in Vermont so GO UVM! Jayz



Since: Mar 1, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Conference tourney preview: America East

First of all the UVM coach is mike lonergan not tom lonergan and second of all the last time that UVM made the tournament was last year. They were a 16 seed and they lost to syracuse. Maybe if you claim that you grew up 10 minutes from campus you should get your facts right. Thats a little embarrasing if you ask me.


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