Conference Tourney Primers: America East

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 4th, 2015

It’s the start of Championship Fortnight, so let’s gear up for the next 13 days of games by breaking down each of the Other 26’s conference tournaments as they get under way.

America East Tournament

Dates: March 4, 8, 14

Site: Campus sites (higher-seeded teams host)

ameast

What to expect: Albany looks to go dancing for a third straight year after pulling off conference tournament upsets in back-to-back seasons. The only difference this time around is that the Great Danes enter as the top seed, while Vermont and Stony Brook – favorites of seasons past – attempt to play spoiler. The Catamounts are the America East’s best defensive unit and the Seawolves boast its most dominant player, 6’8’’ forward Jameel Warney. Both teams are good enough to threaten for the title. Still, Albany went 8-1 against league opponents in SEFCU Arena this season and won’t have to leave its friendly confines during this event. The regular season champs are in a good spot.

Favorite: Albany. After hosting the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds in both 2013 and 2014 – and taking full advantage – the Great Danes find themselves in similar position this year despite the conference’s format change. The road to Selection Sunday likely travels through Albany, one way or another. That leg-up, along with their veteran head coach and Australian inside-out duo (big man Sam Rowley and guard Peter Hooley) that combines for 28.0 PPG, is enough to make them favorites.

Darkhorse: New Hampshire. If it weren’t for Albany’s Will Brown, New Hampshire head man Bill Herrion would probably be the America East Coach of the Year. The Wildcats finished 11-5 in conference play this season after going 4-12 in 2013-14, beating Stony Brook by 15 once and twice coming within a possession of defeating Albany. Taking down the Great Danes (and likely Vermont or Stony Brook) on the road would be a tall task – especially for such an inexperienced team – but crazier things have happened.

Who wins: Albany. It’s hard to envision Albany faltering this week, especially at home. The Great Danes went 15-1 in conference play and have a head coach, Will Brown, who gets it done in March. Expect another NCAA Tournament appearance for the America East regular season champs.

Player to watch: Jameel Warney – Stony Brook. Warney (16.3 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.4 BPG) is an imposing physical presence with a refined post game, capable of single-handedly dominating opponents. His 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks on February 17 helped the Seawolves deliver Albany its only America East loss, a performance that suggests Stony Brook might be the next-best bet to go dancing.

Tommy Lemoine (206 Posts)


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