With three weeks left in the regular season, America East is making changes to the upcoming tournament for both the men and women. A blizzard hit the conference back in the middle of January and games were postponed because of it. Those games will now be made up on March 3, which is the new end date for the regular season. The conference tournament will now begin for the men on Sunday, March 6 with the quarterfinals, semifinals taking place on March 9. The championship game for the men’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament to be played on Saturday, March 12 at 11 AM. On the men’s side as well as the women’s side, the top eight teams will make the draw. Since nine are available to make the event, the team that finished in last place will be left out. On the men’s side, there was a two-and-a-half-game difference between the team in second place, UMBC (7-5), and the team in last place Maine (2-11). There are still plenty of games left to be played, so here is what else is happening in the league.
Monday night could be the night that the number one seed is decided in America East. That’s because the top team in the league the Vermont Catamounts (12-0) will take their 14-game overall winning streak to the court to battle last year’s conference tournament winner the Hartford Hawks (4-6). Vermont’s season continues to be one for the ages. Their win streak is now the longest in the nation. They received a vote in this week’s AP Top-25 poll, and in the latest Mid-Major Top-25 poll the Catamounts are ranked at #11.
There was one other game played on Monday, Maryland-Baltimore County took on UNH in a makeup game from the virus. The Wildcats came away with a 68-62 win. UNH and UMBC are now tied with Binghamton for second place with 7-6 league records. The Wildcats shot 45% (10-22) from 3-point range in a game that featured six ties and nine lead changes. UNH had four in double-figures. For UMBC, it was a tough shooting game for them as they shot 37% from the field (21-57) and 32% from three-point territory (7-22). For the Retrievers, this was their second loss in a row after beginning the weekend on a six-game win streak.
If there is one team that the stats model does not quite fit for, it is the Albany Great Danes (6-7). Their offense is next to last in the league at 62 points a game. They are last in 3-point FG percentage at 31% (141-of-452) and the 141 makes is also last in the league averaging 5.6 per game. They are also next to last in team defensive rebounding at 23.3 a game. It just goes to show that stats only tell part of the story.
The Player of the Week is Stony Brook’s, Anthony Roberts. Last week in three games he averaged 23 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Roberts was at his best last Wednesday night against UMass Lowell. He torched the River Hawks for 28 points, including the game-winner on an end-to-end rush through the River Hawk defense to lay it in with 2.1 seconds left. Then on Sunday at Maine, Roberts went for 40 against the Black Bears going 14-for-25 from the field, including 9-of-12 from 3-point land.
The Rookie of the Week is Justin Neely of Albany. This is his sixth weekly award so far this season. He scored a career-high 26 in a loss to Vermont on Saturday. In the two games played by the Great Danes last week, Neely averaged 18 points and five rebounds. He is a big reason why the Great Danes are in the thick of the race in America East.
Next week we will be back with more from #AEHoops.
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