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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

First look at the bracket matchups

Yes, the official bracket came out two days ago, and if you follow the America East enough to actually visit this blog, then this is probably not your "first look" at the bracket. But here it is anyway.

What you haven't seen yet is the BU Hoops Blog's thoughts on the first-round match-ups NOT involving BU (I know, it's outside of our area of expertise, but humor us). The parity in the league this year give this weekend the potential to be the most entertaining conference tournament in the nation.

The Stony Brook Invitational
#8 Stony Brook vs. #9 Maine

Jan. 6: @ Stony Brook 75, Maine 59
Feb. 23: Stony Brook 56, @ Maine 51

Stony Brook is wearing the home whites in the America East tournament, possibly for the first time ever. And they dominated Maine during the regular season, so things look good for the Mighty Seawolves. We make a point of driving to the Stony Brook Invitational Play-In Game every year to see what the Seawolves have in store for us. Last year, they rewarded us handsomely with buzzer-beating loss to Hartford after blowing a 20-point lead. Since the so-called "winner" of the SBIPIG goes on to get destroyed by #1 (except of course for that year when Stony Brook used their momentum from the game to beat one of the best BU squads ever...grrr), the REAL winner of the SBIPIG is whoever gets the drunkest. Let's see if we can defend our title.

Side note: This is the first tourney in 5 years we won't have the chance to heckle Popoko. Sad times indeed. Please read the High Roller's farewell letter to Popoko from last year's tournament. We will be on the lookout for new Stony Brook freshman who can fill Popoko's shoes for the next 4 years.

#1 UMBC vs. #8 Stony Brook/#9 Maine

Jan. 3: UMBC 76, @ Stony Brook 62
Feb. 6: @ UMBC 75, Stony Brook 63
Jan. 12: Maine 77, @ UMBC 74
Feb. 28: UMBC 85, @ Maine 68

Based on regular season performance, we might expect to see Stony Brook sitting in this position, barely 12 hours removed from a SBIPIG victory. But it was MAINE that somehow beat UMBC at home this year! NASA scientists are still trying to figure that one out. You can bet that with all their weapons, UMBC will be ready for either one of them this time though.

Side note: I think it's kind of unfair that the winner of the SBIPIG has to face #1 so soon after that game. Let's break it down: The game ends at 9:00, and the next game starts at 12:00. That's 15 hours. You can take out:
  • 30 mins getting dressed after the game.
  • 1 hour traveling to and from the arena.
  • 2 hours for dinner, breakfast and lunch.
  • 45 mins for sex with team groupies.
  • 1 hour for team showers (with or without groupies).
  • 15 mins because someone is always late to the bus.
  • 2 hours looking at film and preparing for a game against the toughest team in the league.
  • 1.5 hours to warm up for the next game.
    That leaves a grand total of six hours to rest and sleep and recover from a grueling 40 minute basketball game. I mean, I know #1 is supposed to get an advantage, but come on. I think it was Will Brown who was complaining last year about scheduling games too close together. Well, Willy B. never had to play with 6 hours of rest, did he?

    #4 Vermont vs. #5 Binghamton

    Jan. 3: @ Vermont 71, Binghamton 60
    Feb. 6: Vermont 83, @ Binghamton 78

    In my mind, this will be the most entertaining game of the day. On the Binghamton side, you've got coach Kevin Broadus coming off his hilarious 1-game suspension for fighting another coach - we'll see if he can keep his emotions in check. And on the Vermont side, you've got the best and most exciting player in the league in Marqus Blakely, who is more than happy to serve John Holland's only competition for the AE's best dunker. Unfortunately, Vermont is also the whiniest bunch of cry-babies since Jose Juan Barea. So get ready to see Mike Trimboli break out the water-works every time he gets called for a hand check on one of the Binghamton guards.

    Side note: The cry-baby thing makes me thing of the game several years ago at The Roof when we bought a few packages of diapers and painted the No. 5 on them, and we waved them around and cried like babies every time Barea had a hissy-fit. Those were good times.

    If the BU "Zoo" is reading this, you would be wise to take advantage of such a tactic. But please get rid of the pizza boxes. My god, those pizza boxes. Lame. Oh, and no storming the court on Saturday - you're in the #4/#5 game, and it's only the Quarterfinals.

    #2 Hartford vs. #7 New Hampshire

    Jan. 27: @ New Hampshire 74, Hartford 59
    Feb. 17: @ Hartford 82, New Hampshire 63

    This feels like a big opportunity for a nice upset. I kind of feel like Hartford is pretty weak for a #2 seed, and UNH has already shown that they can blow out the Hawks. Plus all the Albany and BU fans will be rooting for New Hampshire. Both of these teams will be chucking up 3's at an alarming rate - so depending on whether they go in the basket or not, this could be a really exciting game or an excruciating one.

    Side note: It's hard to hate either one of these teams. Both have been hard luck losers for pretty much their entire time in the conference. They also always have among the least fans in attendance at the tournament (so get ready to hear a pin drop at this game). In past tournaments I have adopted these teams to root for since BU got knocked out so quickly. But I'm going to try my hardest to hate whichever one BU will face if we get by Albany.

    We'll also get to see the 2nd and 3rd place finishers for Rookie of the Year (UNH's Alvin Abreu and Hartford's Morgan Sabia) face off, since John Holland wrapped up #1 last week with his fifth consecutive weekly award.

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    At 6:29 PM, Blogger The Hot Dog said...

    Stony Brook has groupies?

    At 9:50 AM, Blogger Tall-boy said...



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