Friday, March 2, 2007

America East Conference Tournament Preview

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The America East came down to the two teams that were the projected 1-2 in the preseason—Vermont and Albany. Once Vermont completed the season sweep with a road win at Albany, though, the Catamounts had essentially clinched the title. They finished 15-1, while the Great Danes came in second at 13-3. No other team finished above .500 in America East play.

Favorite: Vermont has to be considered the favorite. They have won eleven in a row heading into the conference tournament, and knocked off Albany twice. The Catamounts are the best shooting team in the conference and are also efficient on the offensive end. VT also leads the country in rebounding margin. They are led by point guard Mike Trimboli, a very good all-around player, and center Chris Holm, a double-double lock and one of the best rebounders in the nation. Joe Trapani’s production has dropped off since missing seven games, but he is a good scorer on the wing.

Contender: As the only other team that was within striking distance of Vermont in the standings, Albany is the main threat. The Great Danes reached the NCAA Tournament last season before falling to Connecticut in the first round. They shoot the ball well, and have good offense-defense balance. Jamar Wilson is an extremely quick point guard who can create his own shot, while Jason Siggers is another scorer in the backcourt. Brent Wilson anchors the frontcourt.

Sleepers: Binghamton comes into the tournament having won two straight to finish 6-10. They had lost 9 of 12 prior to the winning streak. They have four double-figure scorers on offense, led by the perimeter trio of Richard Forbes and Steve Proctor on the wings, and Mike Gordon at the point. Lazar Trifunovic is the main up front. Maine has lost six of eight but knocked off Vermont on the road earlier in the season. Kevin Reed is one of the best players in the conference, and he is joined on the perimeter by double-figure scorers Chris Bruff and Jon Sheets. They do lack size, though. Don’t count out New Hampshire because of their 10-18 record. The Wildcats own one of the better inside-outside combos in the conference in guard Jermaine Anderson and forward Blagoj Janev.

Prediction: There are only two teams truly capable of winning the automatic bid from the America East—Vermont and Albany. VT won both of the regular-season match-ups between the two teams, and will get to play the championship game on their home-court should they get there. It is very difficult to beat a team three times in one season, but the Catamounts have the momentum heading into the conference tournament. Albany also might not have anyone to match-up inside with Vermont’s Chris Holm. Vermont gets back to the NCAA Tournament.


  1. This is a minor point but vermont's abbreviation is UVM, not VT.

  2. I knew it didn't look right--thanks.