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America East Notebook

March 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

America East Conference Notebook

by Adam Reich

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, it is the event
you have all been waiting for: The America East Tournament. For two days,
some of the best and brightest athletes in New England and surrounding
hotbeds such as upstate New York and Long Island will compete for the chance
to dance in late March.

I am so excited I can barely control myself. Oh, wait, that must be because
I just finished my “Great One” with extra sugar. Instead, let’s just say I
am primed for the battles that will take place Sunday and Monday at Case
Gymnasium in Boston, Massachusetts. Heck, I am even going to skip my coed
flag football game to be there live and in person.

So, are you ready to breakdown the match-ups? I said, are you ready? Now
that you’re with me, let’s dive into the tournament, check out the seeds and
see who will be the beast of the America East.

Quarterfinals, Sunday March 9th

No. 1 Boston University vs. No. 8 New Hampshire

Regular season meetings: BU 94-64 (1/22/03), BU 76-62 (2/26/03)

Analysis: The Terriers are too deep and talented for the Wildcats to handle.
UNH has no one who can match-up with the athleticism of Rashad Bell and
Billy Collins up front. In addition, UNH will also have to face the BU home
crowd. To have a chance, UNH needs to get off to a quick start to build
their confidence. However, if BU knocks down shots early, this one could get
real ugly. The Terriers should have no problem dismissing the Wildcats.

Prediction: Boston U 85, New Hampshire 65

No. 2 Vermont vs. No. 7 Albany

Regular season meetings: UVM 63-53 (1/15/03), UVM 69-60 (3/2/03)

Analysis: Albany is quick enough to beat any team in the league. However,
they lack the size inside to compete with a tough Vermont squad. The
Catamounts lead the league in rebounding margin (+ 7.9) and rotate five
frontcourt players at 6’7″ or taller. The Great Danes, on the other hand,
are last in the conference in rebounding (-11.8). Expect UVM to control the
glass and cruise to an easy win.

Prediction: Vermont 71, Albany 60

No. 3 Hartford vs. No. 6 Stony Brook

Regular season meetings: UH 68-61 (1/8/03), UH 72-64 (2/19/03)

Analysis: Although Hartford took the first two meetings this season, this is
a very even match-up. Both teams have terrific backcourts and good enough
frontcourts to stay close on the boards. However, the Hawks are streaking,
having won four of their last five games, while the Seawolves have
struggled, losing four of five. For Hartford, Jerell Parker and Pierre
Johnson are playing their best basketball. They will continue to shine as
Hartford earns a well-deserved victory.

Prediction: Hartford 69, Stony Brook 65

No. 4 Maine vs. No. 5 Northeastern

Regular season meetings: UM 90-76 (1/15/03), UM 75-55 (2/12/03)

Analysis: Maine has easily handled Northeastern twice this season. And if
you look closely at the statistics, Maine has shot a combined 60 percent
(55-for-91) and Northeastern a combined 39 percent (51-for-130) in their
regular season match-ups. Maine leads the conference in field goal
percentage (.488), however, Northeastern usually shoots the ball a lot
better. In a high-scoring battle Northeastern will prevail in front of the
Boston faithful.

Prediction: Northeastern 77, Maine 74

The action will be fierce at Case Gymnasium Sunday, and you won’t want to
miss it. Stay tuned for continuing coverage of the America East tournament
right here at Hoopville. For more on America East Tournament action check
out Phil Kasiecki’s latest, as he features some of the conference’s best
individual talents.


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