Blog Entry

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 11:24 pm
 

Listen, just because we’re doing a preview for every conference tournament doesn’t mean it has to be nothing but roses, rainbows and sweetmeats. The America East is one of the worst leagues in basketball. Its winner is going to be seeded 16th and could very well go to Dayton for the First Four.

Am I getting you down? Sorry, it’s just … this league has a 6-32 record in the NCAAs, and it’s looking like a good chance that will become 6-33 by March 17. As for the league tournament, there comes some better news. There's unpredictability! There is a good chance the top seed doesn’t win it all. That top seed is Stony Brook, and it’s only the No. 1 because Vermont fell at Binghamton, giving the Bearcats their only win of the season. The Seawolves haven’t been to the NCAAs since ... ever. Nearly half the league can, unfortunately, say the same.

Before I get to the key parts to this conference bracket, let's talk about the bracket itself. In order to get its title game on television, the America East has one of the quirkier setups. It has its first three rounds of play in back-to-back-to-back days, and then it's nearly a week wait for the title game. I love the fact that the higher seed always hosts the title game -- something that I think I want for most small-major leagues -- but the long layoff is out of rhythm with the rest of the season. Oh, well. At least both teams can get healthy and the coaching staff can truly prepare for the game. It's because of this that we've often had very compelling America East championship games.

Let's hit on the four best teams. Stony Brook and Vermont, the top two, split the series in the regular season. I've got a soft spot for the Catamounts, seeing as I grew up 10 minutes from the UVM campus. But I always love seeing programs who've never made the NCAAs earn their first trip. Stony Brook has a great chance so long as it gets to March 9's title game. The Seawolves are led by senior guard Bryan Dougher, who led the team in scoring. Vermont has a couple of nice pieces -- and the overall better collection of talent -- and it's guided by first-year coach John Becker. The Cats beat league foes by an average of 11.5 points per game.

Al Rapier (right) and the Stony Brook Seawolves are chasing their first NCAA berth. (AP)

Boston University, who repped the league in last year's field, reigned over the AE for so long. It finished third this year, but despite that it's got this Butler-like clasp on the league. You can never count out the Terriers, who are very good and not fouling and not turning the ball over.

Fourth-place Albany actually has the best offense in the league, putting up 1.07 points per possession. The Great Danes (supremely underrated moniker in all of hoops), unfortunately, have the third-worst defense in the league; that's why they finished fourth.

****

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: March 1-3, 9
Title game:
Friday, March 9, ESPN2.

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. Gerardo Suero, Albany
  2. Matt Glass, Vermont
  3. Brian Voelkel, Vermont
  4. Darryl Partin, Boston University
  5. Brian Benson, New Hampshire

Conference RPI: 29

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: 2011, 16 seed, a 72-53 loss to Kansas
  • 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: 2010, 16 seed, a 79-56 loss to Syracuse in the first round

By Matt Norlander

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Mar 7, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:21 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

Matt brings up the key point about America East ... most teams are so bad that they are a liability for Vermont and the other top teams.  Even if UVM wins, they will now face a play-in game.  They would be better served by getting into a more competitive league.  There is some talk about the Ivy League wanting to bring in a couple of more teams for basketball-only. That would work.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:05 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

This actually isn't true. Stony Brook and Vermont are pretty good teams and could scare someone.



Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:49 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

I don't care how bad America East is, all I know is that it was great being at UAlbany in '06 and watching our team hang in there with UConn as a 16 seed. Even though these leagues and teams may not be athletically prestigious like Big East or ACC programs, it's still part of what makes college bball what it is



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:10 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

bu has reigned over the league? you grew up 10 minutes from uvm and you don't know that the Catamounts have been the dominant team in the league for the last 15 years..amazing 



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: February 29, 2012 4:12 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: America East

UVM also made it in 2010 but its nice that you put our most meorable appearance up there. If any team can beat a #1 seed this year in the first round, it would be UVM.


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