Friday, January 2, 2009

Around the League: 1.02.09

Friday's games:
None (except Holy Cross-Boston University).

Saturday's games:
Saturday marks the beginning of conference play for six teams in America East. Here are the first inner-conference matchups of the season:

Binghamton (7-4) vs. Maine (5-8), 1:00 p.m.
The other BU, the Bearcats have gone in the opposite direction of the Terriers as the season's progressed, winning their last three games, including a one-point victory over Tulane. Given BU's recent downfall, Binghamton could be considered one of the top three or four teams in America East and have perhaps the easiest opening draw for conference play against the Black Bears, who have lost their last four and eight of their last 10 games.

Albany (8-5) vs. Hartford (4-9), 2:00 p.m.
Much like Binghamton, the Great Dane are relatively hot entering conference play (despite a recent, yet expected loss to Kansas) as they won their last three before that loss. Hartford was dreadful to start the year, but has performed admirably in its last two games against tough teams in Baylor and Stanford, albeit without arguably its best player in Joe Zeglinski, who's sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Stony Brook (7-5) vs. Maryland-Baltimore County (6-6), 7:05 p.m.
Well this game is significantly more intriguing that many probably though it'd be at the start of the season. Stony Brook is easily the biggest surprise in the conference and could give the defending conference champions a run for their money. In UMBC's favor is that fact that the game's at the RAC Center, where the Retrievers went 12-1 last year and are 3-2 this season. Stony Brook has won it's last two and is off to its best start since becoming a Division I team in 1999.

If these three games are any indication, the conference is as balanced as its been in a number of years, and it should make for a very interesting few months prior to the America East tournament.

Also in non-conference action, win-less NJIT visits Vermont (fresh off its trip to Hawaii) at 1:00 p.m.

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