Checking In On… the America East ConferencePosted by rtmsf on January 7th, 2012
The Week That Was
- New Hampshire feeds teams hungry for wins: No one saw UMBC’s victory at New Hampshire coming before conference play began. It caused quite the stir in America East. Chase Plummer scored 23 points to lead the Retrievers in that 82-76 win, just their second of the season. The thing is, the Wildcats followed that loss up by losing at Hartford, the Hawks’ first win of the season.
- BU a man down: The Terriers were without star guard D.J. Irving for three games as he worked through the effects of post-concussion syndrome. The concussion happened sometime during the Villanova game, which BU lost 68-43. It’s proving to be much more costly in the long run. Irving returned for the game at Vermont on Thursday, but he went 1-8 from the field in 27 minutes in the Terriers’ 14-point loss.
- Gerardo Suero shoots a lot of free throws: Albany’s junior college transfer is one of the most prolific free throw shooters in the nation. He’s on pace to attempt over 300 free throws this season. That’s a whole heck of a lot. One Bid Wonders had a great breakdown of Suero and past results in America East play.
- Maine (7-5, 1-0) – Maine has been living on the road for a while and finally gets to return on home on Saturday to take on UMBC. The Black Bears might have five losses, but three of them (at Connecticut, Notre Dame and San Diego) are completely understandable. With Gerald McLemore and freshman sensation Justin Edwards leading the way, this might be Maine’s year to rise up.
- Stony Brook (7-6, 2-0) – Tommy Brenton is a man amongst boys in America East. He sat out last season due to a knee injury, but he’s returned with a vengeance and put up eight points and nine points against Vermont and then did even better against Binghamton as he went off for 17 points and 13 boards. Brenton is the glue of the Seawolves’ offense, which is finally starting to show some signs of life. While a six-point win over the Bearcats isn’t impressive, it’s just one you have to survive and move on from.
- Albany (10-6, 2-0) – The Great Danes have a heck of a lot of firepower and a coach on the hot seat. Will Brown is in the final year of his contract at Albany. What he needs to teach his team in order to finish near the top of America East and possibly go to the NCAA tournament is defense. The Great Danes have more than enough offense. Logan Aronhalt, Mike Black and Gerardo Suero each scored 22 points against UMBC on Thursday as the UA romped to an 89-72 win.
- Vermont (7-9, 1-1) – The Catamounts have played the toughest conference schedule of any America East team thus far. They had to travel to Stony Brook and then take on Boston University. The victory over the Terriers should pay long-lasting dividends.
- Boston University (4-11, 0-1) – Following their loss to Vermont, the Terriers haven’t won a game since December 3. It’s not a Towson streak, but it has to be the cause of some concern in Boston. Getting D.J. Irving back is a key for this team, because he’s an all-league talent. Injuries have really derailed Joe Jones’ first season on the bench at BU.
- UMBC (2-12, 1-1) – Where’s the offense going to come from? Outside of Chase Plummer there’s no true scoring threat. Through a lot of hard work, Division II transfer Brian Cook has made himself into the Retrievers’ next best option. He’s averaging 13 points per game. For at least one night this season UMBC was tied for first after upsetting New Hampshire on the road in its conference opener.
- New Hampshire (5-8, 0-2) – This was supposed to be a season in which Bill Herrion’s squad could compete for a conference title, but through the first two games there’s just a lot of questions. UNH’s offense is just miserable right now. Against previously winless Hartford the Wildcats shot 15-51 from the field, turned the ball over 13 times and scored just 49 points. That’s not good enough.
- Hartford (1-13, 1-1) – The Hawks beat New Hampshire on Thursday and even got a tweet from Pat Forde. Andres Torres scored 27 points for Hartford in the win. He didn’t play last season due to injury and is now the Hawks’ best shot at getting some wins during conference play. Coming into the game Hartford had attempted a higher percentages of threes than almost any team in the country, but toned it back a little bit against UNH while shooting just 1-14 from distance.
- Binghamton (0-14, 0-2) – The Bearcats closest loss this season was in the season opener against Colgate. They’re in big trouble. Ken Pomeroy gives Binghamton a 9.7 percent chance of going winless. The Bearcats did show some signs of life in a six-point home loss to Stony Brook. Sophomore Robert Mansell scored 22 in the loss. Binghamton seems to play its best when he’s scoring a lot, so maybe they should give Mansell more touches over Ben Dickinson.
- Sunday, Jan. 8 – Stony Brook vs. Albany – Two of the top teams in America East meet for an important home battle on Long Island.
- Saturday, Jan. 14 – Boston University vs. Stony Brook – The Seawolves get their first real road test during conference play. Yes, SBU will have already played at Binghamton and UMBC, but that’s nothing like going to BU.
- Saturday, Jan. 14 – Albany vs. Maine – Another critical conference battle as the Great Danes welcome surprising Maine into SEFCU Arena for an important conference tilt. Justin Edwards and Gerald McLemore versus the Albany backcourt should be a great treat.
- Saturday, Jan. 14 – New Hampshire vs. Vermont – It’s the first leg of the border battle between the Catamounts and Wildcats. This is going to be a tough task for the UNH, but if they want to be a serious contender they’ll need to hold serve in this tough contest after losing to UMBC in their AE opener.
- Sunday, Jan. 15 – Binghamton vs. Hartford – As of now neither of these teams has managed to win a game. According to Ken Pomeroy this is the Bearcats’ best remaining chance. (Incidentally, Hartford’s comes on Feb. 12 when Binghamton comes to visit Chase Arena.)
Player of the Year Race
- G Gerardo Suero (Albany) – 22.1 PPG, 2.8 APG, 9.1 FTA
- G Justin Edwards (Maine) – 16.0 PPG, 2.0 SPG, 50.7 FG%
- G Darryl Partin (Boston University) – 20.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG
- G Gerald McLemore (Maine) – 19.7 PPG, 47.1 FG%, 88.5 FT%
- F Chase Plummer (UMBC) – 13.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG
The surprising competitiveness of UMBC gets Plummer a nod to the top five for now. Like Maine, Albany has a number of players that could be up for this award in the future. Also lurking on the periphery is Tommy Brenton of Stony Brook. He’s going to put up great rebounding numbers in conference play.