America East Conference Tournament Preview
I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I just learned shortly before writing this that it’s the “America East” and not the “American East”. I’m not sure how it slipped through the cracks, but it did. This is a fun league with a pair of really good teams and last year’s cinderella UMBC. Vermont has been so solid over the past few seasons and continued that this year with their 3rd straight regular season title, while Stony Brook was right on their heels.
2018 Champion: UMBC
1-seed Vermont Catamounts 24-6 (14-2)
According to KenPom, Vermont is the best team in the America East and it literally isn’t close. The Catamounts are 74 spots higher than Stony Brook who is the next closest. Anthony Lamb is still at Vermont and he is still very good.
2-seed Stony Brook Seawolves 24-7 (12-4)
Stony Brook is a top-100 team defensively but doesn’t bring it consistently on the offensive end. They’ve got a really fun guard named Akwasi Yeboah who besides having a great name is a very good player. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding. The key for Stony Brook is the 3, they shoot it just 32.9% and need to be well above 35% to win this league.
3-seed UMBC Retrievers 19-12 (11-5)
I’m not sure you can really call the only 16 seed to ever beat a 1 a sleeper just one season removed from the accomplishment but here we are. Vermont and Stony Brook are just on another level, but as Rothstein says, THIS IS MARCH. And UMBC might be able to recreate that magic again this season. The problem is offense, the Retrievers are horribly inefficient and you need to score to win.
4-seed Hartford Hawks 17-14 (10-6)
This Hartford team is capable of winning the America East because they’re the best offensive team in the league. They have four players who average 13+ points per game. Getting to the foul line will be crucial for this team, they shoot it well at 74.5% and they can separate themselves by getting extra attempts.
5-seed UMass-Lowell River Hawks
Fast tempo, decent offense, and essentially no defense, welcome to low-to-mid-major basketball. UMass-Lowell is the epitome of this level. They score 77.6 points per game with Christian Lutete doing most of the work. They will need to play some sort of defense if they want to have a chance at the automatic bid.
6-seed Albany Great Danes 12-19 (7-9)
Albany has a good duo and not much else. The tandem of Cameron Healy and Ahmad Clark are solid and score the ball well. Healy is an efficient scorer while Clark is more volume, but they need these two to carry them.
7-seed Binghamton Bearcats 9-22 (5-11)
Sam Sessoms is a solid player that deserves some recognition but this team does not have a chance to win the America East title.
8-seed Maine Black Bears 5-26 (3-13)
Maine runs a slow tempo offense, they don’t score it very much, and they allow 71.3 points per game. They will need to become ultra efficient in order to have a chance and even that won’t be enough.
UMBC over Albany
Hartford over UMass-Lowell
Vermont over Maine
Stony Brook over Binghamton
Vermont over Hartford
Stony Brook over UMBC
Vermont over Stony Brook