The America East final presents a situation some don't like. Opponents of conference tournaments cold used Saturday's championship game in Boston as an example: an under-.500 team will be playing for a bid. Stony Brook is 15-16, but the fifth-seeded Seawolves got past No. 1 Vermont get to the championship game.
For some, that's enough to earn the right for a chance to play. Others lament the quick second season that gives mediocre teams these opportunities. If it won, Stony Brook would most definitely be a 16 seed playing in Dayton Tuesday or Wednesday night. Coach Steve Pikiell's team upset No. 4 Albany, 67-61, before knocking off UVM, 69-47, last Sunday.
That 22-point margin certainly had to make Boston University pause. The two-seeded Terriers can't claim a beatdown in the style of the Seavwolves'. They defeated New Hampshire, 69-60, in the quarters, then got by Albany, 55-49 last Sunday.
It's safe to assume the pressure is with the No.2 seed, and just appearing in the title game clearly isn't going to be enough for BU. At the start of the year the team was picked as the best in the conference.
If the Terriers want to terrorize their way to a bid, John Holland's going to have to lead his team once again. Boston's best player hasn't cracked 20 points in the America East tournament so far; that could change Saturday. Stony Brook is the second-worst team in the nation (yes, the nation) at shooting two-point shots. And overall, it's a miserable offensive group.
That's why Vermont's loss could be considered one of the most staggering transgressions of the past week and a half in college basketball. The reason this game's not a gimme is because BU isn't a great shooting team.
What to watch: Stony Brook's bench. Chris Martin and Leonard Hayes, two guys who don't gobble up a lot of possessions or having terrific offensive ratings, led the 'Wolves in scoring in the first two games. Stony Brook's starters aren't the most intimidating group. Talk about a bizarre team.
Absolutely there are real unknowns heading in, as Stony Brook seeks its first NCAA tournament appearance, while BU hasn't been in the Big Bracket in nine years.
Posted by Matt Norlander
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