Believe it or not, the college basketball season is less than twenty-five days away. Teams all across the country are back in the gym getting ready for their seasons. The same is true for teams in the America East Conference, where the fight for one bid to the big dance is as tough as it gets. The Vermont Catamounts are the defending regular-season champs, as well as the post-season champions.
There was only one coaching change in the league and that happened at Stony Brook. Geno Ford takes over for Jeff Boals who left in the spring to take the job at Ohio University. Ford is no stranger to the Seawolves program as he has been the Associate head coach for the past three years. Stony Brook will get plenty of air-time during the non-conference portion of their schedule. They will make six appearances on national/regional T.V. Vermont will show up on regional or national T.V. three times with their best match-up in December as they will journey to Cincinnati to play the Bearcats.
The defending champions, the Catamounts, return the Player of the Year from a season ago. Anthony Lamb is back for his senior year and is expected to be the pre-season Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season. In all, twenty-five players that were named to all-conference and all-rookie teams are back in the league. Plenty of good players to go and see.
The America East will play a nine-week schedule. It will comprise of seventy-two total games and for the 15th year, all teams will play a 16-game double round-robin schedule. The league season will begin on January 4 and will continue through the months of January, February and the first week of March. The season is set up this way to take advantage of T.V. opportunities. The top two teams from last year will meet for the first time on January 8 when Stony Brook travels to Vermont.
Being the highest seeds will be important once the post-season arrives as that team will get a chance to host games in the conference playoff. The Quarterfinals are set to take place on Saturday, March 7. The Semi-Finals will be played on Tuesday, March 10 and the Finals take place on Saturday, March 14 in the morning on ESPN.
This will be the sixth year of this format. Host teams are 30-5 (.857) in the playoffs with the number one seed winning five titles. The number two seed has won once. The higher you end up, the better your chances are of advancing all the way to the title.
On a side note, ESPNU will once again pick one of four games that are on tap for Thursday, Feb. 20 to air on their channel. The match-ups are Hartford vs UNH, Maryland-Baltimore County vs Albany, UMass Lowell at Binghamton, and Vermont at Stony Brook.
Stay with NGSC Sports for coverage of America East basketball all season long.
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