Summer School in the America East

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 26th, 2010

Matt McKillip is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Around The America East:

  • A Carousel for Two: Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz jumped ship after his program took a sharp decline following a 2008 run to the AE title; he will join Penn as an assistant coach. Taking the reins is former Hartford assistant John Gallagher…who served last season as a Penn assistant.
  • Just a Fling: Binghamton‘s All-America East performer Greer Wright filed for a transfer waiver and flirted with the idea of attending Connecticut or Cincinnati before deciding to return to Binghamton for his senior season.
  • The Departed: Binghamton was less fortunate with last season’s AE Rookie of the Year, Dylan Talley, who decided to take his services elsewhere. Other notable transfers are Vermont’s All-Defensive team player Garvey Young and UMBC leading scorer Chauncey Gilliam, who packed his bags for Akron.
  • Big Haul: After having only three players left on Boston University‘s roster at the end of last season’s AE runner-up finish, second-year head coach Patrick Chambers hauled in a seven-man recruiting class to surround the league’s premier player, John Holland.
  • Break Out the Vegemite: Coach Will Brown and his Albany Great Danes have welcomed freshman Luke Devlin from Australia to campus. The 6’8 Aussie has three-point range and should quickly become a favorite among a fan base eager for something to cheer about.
  • Catching On With the Clippers: Vermont standout Marqus Blakely received a two-year, partially guaranteed contract with the LA Clippers and has angled himself towards a spot on the roster.

Star swingman John Holland is a powerful weapon for BU, but will he be able to power the Terriers into the Big Dance?

Power Rankings:

  1. Boston University: The Terriers’ hopes revolve around two-time all-conference star John Holland, the heir apparent to the AE POY title. An NCAA trip is hardly guaranteed – an exodus of senior guards leaves BU with only three returning players (none of whom are guards) and many question marks. The loss of Corey Lowe especially hurts; the four-year starter carried the Terriers to last year’s title game when teams cued in on Holland, the league leader in scoring. During the AE tournament, Holland was held to an eFG of 38% and 10.3 PPG, well below his season averages of 52% and 19.9, respectively. Alongside Holland, BU returns 2009 AE ROY Jake O’Brien, who can score in volume, and hard-nosed center Jeff Pelage, who is a banger inside. Former Marquette swingman Patrick Hazel should make his presence felt immediately, but the most pressing question is which of the four incoming freshman and two transfer guards will land the role of primary ball handler.
  2. Maine: Maine’s defense propelled them to a surprising 11-5 conference record last year, but the Black Bears were promptly upset by New Hampshire in the first round of the conference tournament. Despite the setback, they are well-positioned to build on last year’s success. They graduated Junior Bernal, an all-league defender, but the core of their lineup returns. Central to the offense is all-league guard Gerald McLemore, the league leader in three-point field goals. Last season, the offense exhibited a tendency to stall if opponents could take McLemore’s shot away (as UNH did in the tournament). Help could be on the way for the offense in the form of juco transfer Raheem Singleton, a point guard whose game and appearance is eerily reminiscent of former Pittsburgh floor general Levance Fields. Maine fans are also excited about incoming forward Alasdair Fraser, who has had a stellar summer playing for Scotland in the European under-18 championships, and could form a formidable frontcourt alongside Sean McNally.
  3. Stony Brook: Stony Brook won the conference regular season title, but will have to defend that title without conference POY Muhammed El-Amin, who graduated in the spring. What was a very effective supporting cast will be forced into a starring role. The identity of the team will likely flow from Tommy Brenton, the best defensive big man in the league at only 6’5.  Brenton personifies hustle and is a rebounding machine – he averaged nearly ten boards per game last season. The x-factor for the Seawolves is speedy guard Chris Martin. He was one of the best in the nation in drawing fouls and should continue to frustrate opposing guards, especially if he can improve his jump shot (44% from the floor last year). The emergence of Martin is essential to keeping the defense from focusing on marksman Bryan Dougher, who led the AE in three-point shooting percentage. Read the rest of this entry »
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First Round Game Analysis: Friday Evening

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2010

Over the next two days in a series of separate posts, RTC will break down all 32 of the first round games using our best analytical efforts to understand these teams, the matchups and their individual strengths and weaknesses.  Our hope is that you’ll let us know in the comments where you agree, disagree or otherwise think we’ve lost our collective minds.  Here are the Friday evening games.

7:10 pm – #8 Gonzaga vs. #9 Florida State  (Buffalo pod)

This is a very tough game to call, so let’s start with what we know about it.  The Zags, no stranger to cross-country travel, come into Buffalo after an 11-day layoff where St. Mary’s took Mark Few’s team behind the woodshed and beat them handily in the WCC Tournament championship.  Florida State comes in having dropped its quarterfinal game against NC State in an effort that had their fans shaking their heads in disgust.  So needless to say, both teams are looking for a fresh start here.  The Zags are always dangerous, and this year’s squad led by Matt Bouldin and Elias Harris has the offensive firepower to score with just about anyone in America.  Merely an ok three-point shooting team, they tend to rely on the drives of Harris and mid-range game of Bouldin to create offense.  However, they don’t tend to respond well to teams that crowd and push them around, but unfortunately, FSU is just such a team.  The Seminoles enjoy the nation’s top defensive efficiency, and while they have the opposite problem of finding points, they should have no problem putting the clamps down on the Zag scoring options.  The question here comes down to whether the FSU defense, anchored by 7’1 Solomon Alabi and 6’9 Chris Singleton’s combined four blocks per game, is better than the Gonzaga offense, and we think that it is.  And as up/down as the Seminoles were in the ACC, they never came close to losing to the likes of Loyola Marymount and San Francisco, as Gonzaga did this year.

The Skinny:  The Zags this year aren’t quite as good as they usually are, and they’re facing a team that will shut down their biggest strength.  FSU wins this one by eight points to get a date with Syracuse.

7:15 pm – #7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Georgia Tech  (Milwaukee pod)

Here’s another one that’s got people confused.  For good reason, too.  All year long we’ve been waiting on Georgia Tech to do something with all that talent, and now they’re playing better basketball, just in time.  Oklahoma State’s showing against Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament will cost them some support, but we’re going to excuse that performance.  That was a tired basketball team, playing their third game in a six day span with K-State at the end of it — and the Wildcats were coming off of a five-day rest.  Georgia Tech is going to go inside to Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal like crazy, but when the Yellow Jackets actually shoot the three, they shoot it well.  Defending the three is a glaring OSU weakness, so it will be interesting to see how often Georgia Tech eschews their big men in favor of launching it from the arc, because those shots will be there.  So…good outside shooting, great inside players…sounds pretty good for Tech, right?  The question will be whether or not they can get to that point in their offense.  Georgia Tech ranks in the bottom twenty of Division I teams in terms of turning the ball over.  Can the Jackets, then, find a way to keep James Anderson from shredding them or Keiton Page from raining threes?

The Skinny: Oklahoma State won’t have to exert too much energy guarding the three, since Tech’s propensity to turn the ball over will take care of some of that.  The Cowboys have been getting more and more help from their role players, and we feel 9-7 in the Big 12 is better than 7-9 in the ACC this year.  It’ll be a great first round game, but we like Oklahoma State in a close one.

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Checking in on… the America East

Posted by jstevrtc on January 28th, 2010

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

America East Standings (conf/over):

  1. Maine                                                 5-1       13-6
  2. Stony Brook                                   6-2       14-7
  3. Boston University                     6-2       11-9
  4. Vermont                                          5-2       14-7
  5. Binghamton                                  3-3       8-13
  6. Hartford                                           3-4       5-15
  7. New Hampshire                          2-4       7-10
  8. Albany                                               1-6       6-16
  9. UMBC                                                 0-7       1-19

Hottest Team — Maine

Maine has won five straight since the loss at Vermont. The Black Bears now have sole possession of first place.

Stud Player- Gerald McLemore, soph. G – 24 PPG in two wins away from home.  McLemore is really coming into his own including a 7-11 night from downtown against Hartford. He is helping Maine get off to a great start.

Thoughts on the AE

Two teams received votes in the most recent mid-major top 25 poll, while another is off to their best start since joining the league in 2001-02. There is still one team looking for their first victory.

Team Notes

Maine is playing their best ball in years. They have won five straight, eight out of their last nine, and ten out of their last 12. Sophomore Gerald McLemore shined in the most recent game out finishing with a career high 27. McLemore shot 7-11 from downtown in helping the Black Bears beat Hartford. Terrance Mitchell played great off the bench, scoring 17 points. As a team the Black Bears shot 12-18 from three-point range. McLemore is starting to heat up — in the previous game at Albany he scored 21 points. Mitchell has also developed a scoring touch, hitting double-digits in points in his last six games.

Stony Brook is sitting in second place in the league at 6-2. They are the only team to knock off both Boston University and Vermont, and did so on the road in both games. At UVM last week Bryan Dougher scored 20 points to help the Seawolves win. Stony Brook followed that up with a win over Albany. Freshman Marcus Rouse led the way with 17 points while Tommy Brenton added 14.  Their combined 31 points came on a combined 13-for-15 shooting.

Boston University has won seven of eight, with the only blemish at Vermont. They fell behind early by a lot against the Catamounts and were never able to cut into the lead very much at all, losing 78-58. The Terriers have followed that up with two big wins. They beat Albany by 21, then followed it up with an 18 point win over UMBC. John Holland scored 25 points and had 12 rebounds while sophomore Jake O’Brien added 18 points. It was the first team BU had swept this year. Holland and O’Brien had big games in that one, too, with 21 and 19 points, respectively. Carlos Strong also added six three-pointers for 18 points. The team as a whole hit 16 long balls setting a school record. The offense is clicking and averaging over 70 PPG, good for first in the league.

Vermont started off the conference schedule with five straight wins, all with margins of eight or more. The Catamounts were beating their America East foes by an average of 14+ points a game. They have since hit a wall in losses to Stony Brook and Binghamton. In the loss to Binghamton, Vermont was led by guard Maurice Joseph, who scored 29 points. Marqus Blakely had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Binghamton is the ultimate surprise so far halfway through the year. They lost at Hartford by one, 64-63, then bounced  back well with a win over Vermont. Eight of the Bearcats’ 22 games have had differentials of five points or less this year.  Vermont had no answer for Binghamton’s Greer Wright in the game. Wright scored 30 points and pulled down ten rebounds for the Bearcats. The Bearcats should also be proud of hitting 10-for-12 from the foul line.

Hartford is only 3-4 in league play this year including, most recently, a 77-69 loss at home against Maine last week. Charles White and Joe Zeglinski led the way with 18 points and Morgan Sabia added 16 points.

New Hampshire played four of their first six league games on the road and were only victorious in one of them. The last game was against winless UMBC and the Wildcats managed to come out on top by a slim margin, 62-58. Alvin Abreu played especially well, scoring 22 points for New Hampshire.

Albany is lucky that UMBC is in the league or else they would be sitting at the bottom. The Great Danes’ lone victory came at the hands of UMBC. They have lost their last three to Boston University, Maine, and Stony Brook, admittedly the top three teams in the league. Luckily they are playing Hartford at home on Wednesday. Hartford and UMBC are the only teams who are worse on the road than Albany (Hartford is 1-10 currently on the road). Tim Ambrose and Will Harris are still the only players who can score for the Great Danes. Both players are averaging over 14 PPG, while not a single other player is averaging even six points a game.

UMBC still is looking for their second victory on the season and their first in conference. They are currently in the midst of a ten-game losing streak. It seems their best shot will be when they host Albany in the second weekend of February. They did come within four points in that loss against UNH last week.

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Checking in on… the America East

Posted by jstevrtc on January 8th, 2010

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

2009-10 America East  (Conf/Overall)

  1. Vermont                                   1-0       10-5
  2. Stony Brook                             1-0       9-5
  3. Maine                                          0-0       8-5
  4. New Hampshire                    0-0       5-6
  5. Albany                                        0-0       5-10
  6. Binghamton                            0-0       5-10
  7. Hartford                                    0-0       2-11
  8. Boston University              0-1       5-8
  9. UMBC                                          0-1       1-13

Hottest Team- Maine

Even with the roll Vermont is on, it is hard to ignore the three-game winning streak that Maine have put together. The win over Columbia in New York was expected, but no one could have predicted the win at BC, and the Black Bears finished it off by snapping Princeton’s six-game winning streak.

Stud Player- Marqus Blakely- Sr. F, Vermont, 22 PPG/12 RPG

It seems Blakely may have taken offense to the most recent nomination of classmate Maurice Joseph as Stud Player of the week. In the last three games Blakely has recorded a double-double in each, reminding us who makes Vermont go.

Thoughts on the AE

In the last two weeks we have seen two teams riding three-game winning streaks before facing off in their conference opener. One had beaten a team for the first time since 1924-25. It was the America East’s third victory against a BCS conference school this year. The other had been riding one of the greatest players this league has seen in winning eight out of their last nine. All the while the preseason favorite fell in their first game to the Seawolves who demonstrated their dominance over the state of Massachusetts.

Team Notes

Marqus Blakely has led the way for the Catamounts recently. Vermont has won three straight and eight of their last nine. The only loss in the streak was to Delaware, 56-50. The most recent victory was a 73-58 win over UMBC in Vermont’s first conference game. In the victory, Blakely registered 17 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. It was his third straight double-double and eighth on the season (the school record is 17). In the previous two victories he recorded 26 points and 11 rebounds at St. Mary’s and 23 points and 11 rebounds at Marist. The victory over St. Mary’s was the Catamounts’ 14th straight over NEC teams. Senior guard Maurice Joseph added 15 points, including 12 from behind the arc.

Check out Blakely’s current stat line on the year: 18.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.9 APG, 3.0 SPG, and 2.3 BPG. He is first in the America East in points steals, blocks, second in rebounds, and fourth in assists per game. No player in the history of the America East has finished in the top ten for every category let alone the top five. It was known coming into the season that he is one of the most versatile players in history of the league and it looks like he is putting it all together to statistically put together the best all around season in the history of the America East.  Blakely broke the 1500-point barrier last week and is currently 29th with 1,547 points. He also is 14th with 858 rebounds and is among the top ten with 222 blocks.  There are only seven players in history of the league who’ve hit the same plateaus in points and rebounds that Blakely has. When he is done this season, he may be one of three with 1700 points and 1000 rebounds.

Maine managed to record three victories in a row including a huge victory at BC. The Black Bears rallied from eight down with six minutes left. Sean McNally made the deciding free throws with just over a minute left to give Maine a 52-51 advantage that secure the win. McNally played a great all-around game with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Gerald McLemore chipped in with 14 points. Maine’s 52-51 victory over BC is the America East’s third victory this year over a BCS-conference school. Previously, BU beat Indiana and Vermont won at Rutgers. It was the first victory over an ACC school for an America East team since Vermont downed the Eagles 77-63, on November 14, 2006.

After losing back to back games against Sacred Heart and Saint Peter’s, Stony Brook won a couple of games to push their record to 9-5. There was a victory over Holy Cross on New Year’s Eve at home followed by a win in the conference opener against preseason favorite Boston University. Against BU sophomore Bryan Dougher shot 8-10 from three-point range. He was the first player to score 30+ points for Stony Brook in almost two full years and the eight treys tied the school record. Dougher is shooting 17-24 in the past three games. Tommy Brenton added 15 points and 11 rebounds against BU. It was his third double-double of the season.

New Hampshire beat Colgate, 63-55, before heading west and dropping the game against Santa Clara, 71-68. Tyrone Conley did all he could in California, scoring a career-high 28 points for UNH. The Wildcats took a 68-67 lead with 14 seconds left on a jumper from Chandler Rhoads, but Ray Cowels hit two free throws for Santa Clara to give them the lead back. Cowels followed it up with two more to finish off the game. To start off the conference slate they face Boston University at home where they have won eight straight dating back to last year.

Albany managed to snap a four-game losing streak with a 21-point victory over Yale. Albany turned a six-point lead at half into a blowout in the second period. Tim Ambrose led the way with 22 points and Billy Allen finished with 21 on 8-9 shooting including 5-6 from three-point range. The game against North Carolina was the second straight year they have faced the defending champions. Even in losing Albany can find bright spots though. The Great Danes were down by 38 with less than eight minutes to go and managed to cut it to a final deficit of 17. It was the fourth-highest ranked opponent Albany has faced. Billy Allen’s (at the time) career-high 16 points seemed to have set the stage for his big game against Yale.

Surprisingly enough, Binghamton has won two out of their last four after starting out 3-8, with only two wins against Division I opponents. In the Bearcats’ last game they took down A-10 foe LaSalle. The game included a big comeback by the Bearcats in the second half; they were down ten going into halftime. Greer Wright finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Hartford is currently in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. The last two losses were to undefeated #3 Kentucky and St. Francis of Pennsylvania. The Hawks were destroyed 104-61 at Kentucky. The biggest loss of the game though was point guard Andres Torres who tore the PCL in his right knee. Torres is not expected to return for 4 to 6 weeks. Against St. Francis, Joe Zeglinski’s 17 points were not enough for Hartford. The Hawks shot 6-26 from three-point range compared to the Red Flash, who shot 6-12.

After it seemed Boston University might be turning the corner before Christmas with three straight wins, they dropped their first two after Christmas. They lost by 14 to a good Dayton squad. The loss that hurt, though, was the league opener to Stony Brook. In the past 30 years the America East champion has only lost it’s opener twice, so BU is already starting from behind. The Terriers had no answer for Stony Brook’s deep range. They allowed the Seawolves to shoot 12-20 from three-point land. Sophomore Jake O’Brien led the way with a career-high 27 points in the losing effort.

UMBC finally did get their first victory before Christmas over American, but have since continued their losing ways with four straight losses. The closest they got to a victory since the holiday was against Central Connecticut State. UMBC took CCSU to double overtime before losing, 89-86. Chris De La Rosa had 25 points in the loss.

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Checking in on… the America East

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2009

checkinginon

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Standings

  1. Stony Brook    5-2
  2. Vermont     4-4
  3. Maine    3-3
  4. New Hampshire    2-3
  5. Albany     3-5
  6. Binghamton     3-5
  7. Hartford     2-6
  8. Boston University   2-6
  9. UMBC     0-6

Hottest Team. Stony Brook

We still have to see what the Seawolves do once they start playing better competition, but they have beaten the teams they should have and lost the games we expected. Regardless, they are the only team in the conference with a winning record, and what more can you ask from a team other than that.

Stud PlayerMaurice Joseph (G) Vermont – 14.8 ppg, 40% three-point.  Joseph has taken the step. Vermont needed a scorer this year that could take over if Marqus Blakely was taken out of the game by the opposing team. Joseph became that and more in the past couple games. It will be interesting to see if Joseph can continue this throughout the year.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #21 – America East

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2009

seasonpreview

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League and America East Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Boston University  (13-3)
  2. Stony Brook  (11-5)
  3. Vermont  (10-6)
  4. Albany  (10-6)
  5. New Hampshire  (8-8)
  6. UMBC  (7-9)
  7. Hartford  (6-10)
  8. Maine  (5-11)
  9. Binghamton  (2-14)

All-Conference Team:

  • Corey Lowe (G), Sr., Boston U.
  • Joe Zeglinski (G), Jr., Hartford
  • Marqus Blakely (F), Sr., Vermont
  • John Holland (F), Jr., Boston U.
  • Will Harris (F), Sr., Albany

6th Man. Muhammad El-Amin (G), Sr., Stony Brook

Impact Newcomer. Luke Apfeld (F), Fr., Vermont

am east logo

What You Need to Know.  This offseason has been a rocky one for reigning America East champion Binghamton to say the least.  The Bearcats went through one of the biggest roster changeovers due to disciplinary reasons in history of NCAA basketball.  They are returning only four players as nine from last year are now gone. Out of those nine players, six were dismissed for disciplinary reasons including three starters and two all conference selections. Talk about a rough offseason for Binghamton fans. The latest blow (probably not a blow after how much trouble he got this program into) is that Coach Kevin Broadus has been placed on paid leave and assistant coach Mark Macon will take over in the interim. My humble opinion is that Coach Broadus will never be back.  The school will try to work out some type of settlement and they will ultimately part ways. It is crazy to think that Broadus could stay with the program after all the public relations damage already inflicted. Mark Macon is going to have a tough first season to say the least. This team should not be expected to win more than two or three conference games, which is even a stretch.  In other news, Boston University fired Coach Dennis Wolff, the all time leader in wins for the BU program, after 15 years. They hired Villanova assistant Patrick Chambers to lead the Terriers back to the top. With the roster he walked into, Chambers has it easier than most first time coaches. This season Vermont’s Marqus Blakely is going for his third consecutive America East Player of the Year award which would put him in the select company of only two others in history, Reggie Lewis of Northeastern and Taylor Coppenrath of Vermont. Blakely also has a shot at his third straight America East Defensive Player of the Year, which would be unprecedented.

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Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2009

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

Two weeks ago the America East Conference looked to be wide open.  Everybody was beating everybody and the bottom team was just two games away from the top of the conference.  But in the past two weeks the conference has started to even out.  Boston U, Vermont and Binghamton have started to separate themselves from the rest of the pack and very surprisingly the two teams in the conference championship last season, UMBC and Hartford, look to be at the bottom for good along with Maine.

Team    Overall Record    Conference Record

  1. Boston U    13-9    8-2
  2. Vermont    16-7    7-3
  3. Binghamton    14-8    7-3
  4. Albany    13-9    5-4
  5. Stony Brook    13-10    5-5
  6. New Hampshire    9-12    4-5
  7. UMBC    9-13    3-7
  8. Maine    8-15    3-7
  9. Hartford    6-18    2-8

Projected Awards

First Team All-Conference

  • D.J. Rivera, G, Binghamton- (20.4ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.6spg, 49.1% FG)
  • Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC- (19.6ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3spg, 48.9% FG)
  • John Holland, F, Boston U- (18.5ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.9spg, 47.3% FG)
  • Corey Lowe, G, Boston U- (17.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg, 44.3% FG))
  • Marques Blakely, F, Vermont- (15.5ppg, 8.6rpg, 3.0bpg, 60.1% FG)

Player of the Year

  • Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC- (19.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 22 games in double figures)

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Marqus Blakely, F, Vermont- (8.6rpg, 3.0bpg, 2.1spg)

Freshman of the Year

  • Bryan Dougher, G, Stony Brook- (11.7ppg, 1.8apg, 1.5rpg, 40.6% three pointers)

Coach of the Year

  • Dennis Wolff, Boston U- (13-9, 8-3)

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Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on January 25th, 2009

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

Everybody is beating everybody in the America East this year.  It’s a good thing to show how deep the conference is but it’s a bad thing for the NCAA tournament.  When everybody has multiple conference losses, that 14-15 seed teams in this conference hopes for can drop to a 16-play-in game.  But what it does mean right now is nobody is safe, and everybody has a chance to win, shown by the bottom teams being just two conference wins away from the top at this point.

Standings

  1. Binghamton    12-7 (5-2)
  2. Vermont    13-6 (4-2)
  3. Boston U    9-9 (4-2)
  4. Albany    11-8 (3-3)
  5. Maine    8-11 (3-3)
  6. New Hampshire    10-9 (2-4)
  7. Stony Brook    10-9 (2-4)
  8. UMBC    8-10 (2-4)
  9. Hartford    6-14 (2-4)

The Contenders

Vermont- The Catamounts have hit their stride as of late and definitely look like they are the top team in the conference having now won four straight (three on the road).  Mike Trimboli (15.8ppg, 4.7apg), Marqus Blakely (15.2ppg, 8.5rpg), and Colin McIntosh (13.2ppg, 5.6rpg) are a great trio of scorers that have been consistent all season.  The reason Vermont is hot right now though is Michigan state transfer Maurice Joseph has finally become the scoring threat they expected in Vermont.  In the past four games he’s averaged 10.8ppg.  With four guys scoring in double figures on a team, it’s hard to beat them.  But there biggest strength is their bench.  Vermont has been running a six man bench for significant minutes lately, allowing them to play full court press more often and really shutting down teams offenses.

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Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on December 14th, 2008

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

Two weeks ago when I last posted, Marquis Blakely tore it up in the paint, Boston U had played great all around, and Hartford had been the disappointment.  Well not much has changed except although Boston U is still atop the conference, they had a down two weeks.

Standings

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

The Contenders:

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Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

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

If it was anything it was an average week for the America East.  They did go a combined 24-20 and play close against some top teams, but they only beat the teams they were supposed to beat and didn’t have many really impressive wins.  So far the conference is going as expected with just one surprise: Hartford is at the bottom.  Last year the Hawks were in the conference finals and returned all but one key player but have been struggling inside the paint and coming up short in close games.

Standings:

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

The Contenders:

Boston U: As expected forward John Holland and guard Corey Lowe have been the catalyst for success this year.  Last year Holland won the America East Rookie of the Year and now leads his team with 19.2 ppg with highs of 27 against St. Peter’s and 22 against George Washington.  As for Lowe, he was second in the conference last year in points and is off to a great start with 17.5 ppg to go with his 4.2 apg.  The big surprise for the Terriers is freshman forward Jake O’Brien who is averaging 13.0 points.  Their lone loss was against George Washington in the season opener, but since then they’ve won three straight highlighted by an 83-75 win at Northeastern who is currently second in the CAA.

UMBC: All-conference point guard Jay Greene is showing he is more than just the game manager he was last year when he averaged 7.2 apg.  This year he’s not only passing the ball (7.8apg), he is scoring (14.2 ppg).  Helping Greene is Darryl Proctor, who was also a first team all-conference player last year.  He has been, well, Darryl Proctor, leading the team with 19.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, and 1.8 spg.  Sophomore transfer from Fairfield Richard Flemming has burst onto the scene as a much needed big man on a team with just one big bench player who is just a freshman.  Flemming has scored double figures each time he’s been on the floor and has been getting key rebounds, but the problem with him, as well as center Justin Fry, is that they are getting into foul trouble.  On multiple occasions either one of both had three fouls or more on them early in the second half, which really takes away the depth, despite UMBC using a six man rotation for the most part.

Vermont: Two teams may be ahead of them in the standings but Vermont’s losses were a one point loss to George Mason and a 15 point loss in overtime against Maryland.  Reigning player of the year and defensive player of the year Marquis Blakely is off to a very strong start averaging a team high 17.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 steals, and 3.0 blocks.  Against Maryland he carried the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds and was the only reason the game went into overtime.  As expected Mike Trimboli has been a solid offensive threat for the team getting 15.2 ppg with his 6.0 assists, but Colin McIntosh was a semi-question mark coming into the season even after starting last year.  He’s been a delight for the Catamounts and has helped to make one of the best groups of forwards with Blakely.  He’s improved his numbers from last year in just about every area.  He’s shooting 13% better from the floor (63.6%), though that number will definitely fall, while averaging 16.8 points and 6 rebounds, both doubling last year’s averages.  Vermont has a very good chance of winning the conference this year if he can stay at the level he is at and the highly touted Michigan State transfer, Maurice Joseph, can increase his offensive output.  He’s averaging 9.5 ppg which isn’t bad but the rest of his numbers are average at best.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #27 – America East

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2008

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

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Boston U (13-3)
  2. Vermont (12-4)
  3. UMBC (12-4)
  4. Hartford (9-7)
  5. Binghamton (8-8)
  6. Albany (8-8)
  7. New Hampshire (5-11)
  8. Maine (2-14)
  9. Stony Brook (2-14)

What You Need to Know (WYN2K).  Last year nobody could predict what happened in this conference.  One of the pre-season favorites, Vermont, had a new star in Marquis Blakely but still couldn’t crack the top two in the league, while the other preseason favorite, Boston U., didn’t even finish in the top half of the league.  UMBC and Hartford shocked everybody by being the two top teams.  Both built their team in different ways: UMBC through transfers, Hartford through the tremendous improvement of returning players (along with a freshman and one transfer).  But this year don’t expect Vermont and Boston U. to disappoint – they should be ready to regain their spots on top of the conference.

Predicted Champion.  Boston U. (NCAA #15 Seed) This is truly a toss up between Boston U. and Vermont.  Both teams are similar – Vermont has one of the top forward/guard tandems in the conference in Marquis Blakely and Mike Trimboli, and BU has John Holland and Corey Lowe.  Last year BU’s Holland won the freshman of the year award and was a major reason for their turnaround at the end.  After a horrid 5-14 start to the season, the Terriers put it together and finished 9-3 to advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament.  BU returns every significant player from last year’s team, including second team all conference point guard Corey Lowe (Am East #2 scorer – 18.8 ppg).  But what truly sets Boston U. above Vermont is that head coach Dennis Wolff runs a very good defense on his team.  They gave up the least amount of points per game in the conference last year (64.8 ppg) and if the offense picks up they should win the title.

Others Considered.  Vermont has a lot of talent on their team and can certainly put together a run for another conference championship (three titles from 2003-05).  Marquis Blakely and Mike Trimboli are a great one-two punch but the Catamounts added another factor with Maurice Joseph, a transfer from Michigan State who averaged 6.2 ppg there as a freshman.  The only thing that might hurt them is they lose two starters including Kyle Cieplicki, the lone member on the team last year who was on the 2005 team that upset #4 seed Syracuse in the NCAA tournament.

The Rest of the Conference.  UMBC took major losses by graduating three all-conference players from last season, but they return and add plenty to remain competitive.  Jay Greene and Darryl Proctor were both first team all-conference players last year and possibly the best at their positions.  Greene was second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio and was fourth in the nation with 7.2 assist per game.  One thing about Greene is he can be one of the best scorers in the conference if he chooses to shot the ball.  He only averaged 8.8 ppg but when he needed to score had games of 26, 21, and 17. Hartford is another team that still has enough to make an impact with four starters back, led by Joe Zeglinski and Jaret Von Rosenberg. The big issue that could keep the Hawks out of the conference championship game is their lack of rebounding.  Last season they were last in the conference in that category and lost their best rebounder and major inside presence.  If they can develop another big body to take control of the paint then they may still have hope.  Binghamton and Albany will be relying on the development of transfers, combining for eight between the two teams.  Transfers did wonders for UMBC last season but it is always a gamble in terms of team chemistry.  Both teams lost three of their top players but if the transfers can have an impact right away then both teams can be dangerous.  New Hampshire has been one of the bottom dwellers for a while but can move up if Dane DiLiegro steps up at center and inproves the team’s rebounding.  With a lack of quality big men they might end up starting four guards including Tyrece Gibbs, who is one of the premier scorers in the conference, and Alvin Abreu, who was the top freshman guard a year ago. As for Maine and Stony Brook they will likely finish in the bottom two spots again.

Games to Watch.  As a one-bid league, only one game will matter to most people.

  • America East Championship Game (03.14.09) ESPN2.

RPI Boosters.  The America East in one of the conferences where if you don’t win it, you don’t get in the NCAA Tournament.  Two years ago Vermont went 15-1 in conference play but lost in the conference finals and took a nice consolation trip to the NIT.  With the win-or-go-home aspect of the conference the teams also know they have to do everything they can in OOC games to get higher than a #15 or #16 seed, which is tough to do.  UMBC won 24 games last year, beating American and almost beating Ohio State but still ended up with a 15th seed.  This year four of the top Am East schools all scheduled games against big-time opponents where an upset wouldn’t be out of the question and they all could have a major bearing on where the winner of the conference is seeded.

  • Albany @ DePaul (11.17.08)
  • Hartford @ Penn State (11.20.08)
  • Vermont @ Maryland (11.21.08)
  • Boston U. @ Notre Dame (12.13.08)
  • UMBC @ Nebraska (12.13.08)
  • Hartford @ Baylor (12.22.08)
  • Boston U. @ Cornell (12.29.08)

Impact Transfers. The America East might soon get the nickname “The Conference of Transfers.”  Between the nine teams in the conference there are 17 eligible transfers either cleared from sitting their transfer year or coming from junior college.  Last year transfers did wonders for UMBC and other teams hope for the same this year.  This year the transfer list is headlined by Vermont’s Maurice Joseph, a transfer from Michigan State who averaged 5.9 ppg in 16.8 minutes per game as a sophomore (get a look at Joseph in HS below).  Other key guys include Binghamton’s quartet of transfers, Tiki Mayben, Malik Alvin, Sean Watson, and Theo Davis (eligible in the second semester), Albany’s Louis Barraza (20.1ppg at the JuCo level), and UMBC’s 6’7” Ricky Flemming, a transfer from Fairfield.

Neat-o-Stat.  Since 1980 when the conference started, the champion has repeated 44% of the time while the regular season champion has won the conference championship 75% of the time.  The lowest seed to ever win the conference tournament was a #3 seed which happened once in 1993 when Delaware beat the #1 seed Drexel (67-64).

65-Team Era. The America East is 3-23 (.115) since the field moved up to 65, with three first-round victories from 1989 (#14 Siena over #3 Stanford), 1996 (#12 Drexel over #5 Memphis), and 2005 (#13 Vermont over #4 Syracuse). But the America East is surprisingly the only mid-major conference in the northeast that has never been apart of the play-in game. 

Final Thought. Usually two or three teams have a chokehold on the top of the conference, but this year the conference remains top heavy but it is still anybody’s league.  Vermont and Boston U. are projected to be the top teams this year but Hartford, UMBC, Albany, and Binghamton all can make some noise and should make the year very interesting.

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