Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2009

Corey Johns is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Standings

  1. Binghamton    10-4 (3-0)
  2. New Hampshire    5-7 (1-0)
  3. Albany    9-6 (1-1)
  4. UMBC    7-7 (1-1)
  5. Hartford    5-11 (1-1)
  6. Stony Brook    8-7 (1-2)
  7. Maine    6-10 (1-2)
  8. Vermont    9-5 (0-1)
  9. Boston U    5-8 (0-1)

The Contenders

Binghamton- At the beginning of the season nobody knew what Binghamton was going to do.  They are loaded with talent but they were mostly transfers coming together for the first year.  They are definitely answering any questions people had about them as they are 6-1 in their last seven games with three conference wins.  D.J. Rivera (21.6ppg, 7.0rpg) and Malik Alvin (12.2ppg, 4.3apg) were a questionable backcourt coming into the season as Rivera is a transfer from St. Joseph’s who did not have to sit out a transfer year and Alvin is a junior college transfer.  Nobody knew how well they would play together but they complement each other greatly and are the reason Binghamton is top the conference right now.

Albany- Every year Albany puts together a very difficult non-conference schedule and it always works out well for them.  No matter the talent level they have on the team that non-conference schedule makes them better.  This year coach Will Brown challenged his team by making them travel to Villanova, DePaul, Siena, and Kansas.  Though they haven’t won any of those games they have nine wins and are playing strong.  They bounced back from a ten point loss at conference foe Hartford with a one point win over the preseason favorites Boston U.  Largely impacted from rising star Tim Ambrose scoring 19 points with 11 rebounds and Virginia transfer Will Harris scoring 14 points with 10 rebounds.  Ambrose (11.7ppg, 4.9rpg) and Harris (10.7ppg, 5.4rpg) aren’t the only reason for Albany’s success this year.  Freshman phenom Anthony Raffa has more than surpassed expectations with 10.8ppg and 4.5rpg.

Vermont- The Catamounts’ only conference loss so far was to the top team Binghamton in Binghamton, other than that they are playing solid basketball.  Marquis Blakely (15.6ppg, 8.9rpg, 3.1bpg, 2.1spg) is making a strong case for himself to be not only the player of the year again but also defensive player of the year for a second time.  Last year Blakely became the first America East athlete to win both awards.  Mike Trimboli (15.4ppg, 4.7apg) and Colin McIntosh (13.2ppg, 5.5rpg) are both seniors doing what ever it takes to win a championship before there time is up.

The Middle of the Pack:

Stony Brook-
Being in the middle of the pack for Stony Brook is a great accomplishment in itself, but this team is going to be a force in the conference for a while.  They are starting three freshman and they are good.  Bryan Dougher (11.7ppg), Tommy Brenton (7.3ppg), Dallis Joyner (7.0ppg) have all been a major reason Stony Brook is where it is right now.  They may have lost two in row (at Binghamton and home against Maine) but you can’t be a good team and beat Air Force at Air Force like they did and they followed it up with a 69-61 win at UMBC that was never as close as the might lead some to believe. Muhammad El-Amin (13.7ppg) is one of the best shooters in the league this year shooting near 50% so far as the teams leading scorer.

UMBC- After pulling the major upset off over Nebraska, UMBC has just one win and two three pointers in three games.  They got blown out in Saint Louis and lost to Stony Brook in a game that they were at one point down by 14 in the first half, but they got the job done against Maine.  UMBC desperately needs somebody to step up and help Darryl Proctor score as he had scored 81 points in three games (45% of the team’s offense).  UMBC’s problem right now is they are getting into huge holes early that they cannot get out of.  If they get another scorer that will move up the standings, but until then they have to worry.

Boston U- The preseason favorites are on a five game losing streak but still have plenty of talent.  They lost to Notre Dame, Delaware on a buzzer beater, Cornell, Holy Cross, and in conference play, Albany.  Those five games were tough and the team has far too much talent to not be competitive this season.  Between Corey Lowe (17.6ppg), John Holland (15.1ppg), and Jake O’Brien (11.5ppg) the team has a great presence in the paint and behind the arc, they just have to put it together and get that one win out of the way to break their slide and more wins will definitely come.

The Bottom Feeders:

New Hampshire- The Wildcats only problem is a lack of an inside presence.  Other than that they have four very good guards in Tyrece Gibbs (13.6ppg), Alvin Abreu (13.2ppg), Eric Gilchrese (9.2ppg), and Tyron Conley (9.2ppg).  Dane Diliegro (5.1ppg, 7.2rpg) is a serviceable forward but he’s it in the paint.  If somebody steps up this season (which is highly unlikely because they have a very guard heavy roster) they can be a very competitive team, but until then they are still at the bottom.

Maine- the Black Bears have won just one of their last seven games and that was against Stony Brook.  Granted they lost to teams like Oklahoma, Harvard, Boston College, and Binghamton, but they were blown out in every one and weren’t competitive at all.  They are much improved from last year as Mark Socoby (13.2ppg), Gerald McLemore (11.9ppg), and Junior Bernal (8.5ppg) can be the teams leading scorer on any given night, but the problem is none of them have carried their team to a victory and all three hit at the same time instead of when they need them too.

Hartford- This team is just getting killed on the boards and it’s why they are losing.  They are still fairly young with their three top players: Joe Zeglinski (15.3ppg, 5.5rpg), Jaret Von Rosenberg (12.9ppg), and Morgan Sabia (11.0ppg) will all be back next season with many others, but Zeglinski’s 5.5rpg leads the team, and hes a guard.

Top Athlete (over the past two weeks):

D.J. Rivera (Binghamton)- He has scored 132 points in six games averaging 22 points a game. In a 5-1 stretch for Binghamton and he is a major reason for the turn around.  An honorable mention goes to Darryl Proctor of UMBC who averaged 27 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games, but UMBC only went 1-2 in that stretch.

Top Freshman (over the past two weeks):

Brian Dougher (Stony Brook)- He’s 2-2 the past two weeks and has been hot from the floor.  In the four games he’s tallied 42 points (12.3ppg) and has been a big reason for the major improvement from last year the seawolves are having.

Top Team (over the past two weeks):

Binghamton- They have gone 5-1 in the past two weeks completely turning around their season.  They have won all three conference games while going 2-1 in the three non-conference games.

What’s Coming Up?- the top games of the next two weeks:

  • Sunday, January 11- Albany @ Vermont- 4:00pm
  • Tuesday, January 13- Stony Brook @ Darmouth- 7:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 14- UMBC @ New Hampshire- 7:00pm (CN8)
  • Wednesday, January 14- Binghamton @ Albany- 7:00pm
  • Saturday, January 17- Boston U @ Binghamton- 2:00pm
  • Monday, January 19- UMBC @ Vermont- 8:00pm
  • Thursday, January 22- UMBC @ Boston U- 7:00pm
rtmsf (3725 Posts)


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