Monday, March 23, 2009

Coaching search update: Tony Jones could be the guy

According to Mark Blaudschun at the Boston Globe, Tony Jones, the associate head coach at the University of Tennessee will be the next head coach at Boston University.

Here's the article:
BU's choice appears to be Jones

And here's more on Jones:
Jones interviews at Boston University
A look at Tony Jones

WNIT Live Blog: Boston University vs. Boston College

Monday, March 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: BU Associate head coach Orlando Vandross retained

Officials within the Athletics Department have confirmed that associate head coach Orlando Vandross -- who's been with Boston University for 12 years -- has been retained by the university. There was no comment made as to the role/title he will assume next season nor to whether or not his name is being considered in the pool of applicants for the open head coaching position.

BU takes firm approach

Pressures on coaches ease in hard times
Men's hoops coach Dennis Wolff fired
Boston University rumors...
Parker's latest pick at BU a head-scratcher

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Women's Basketball Live Blog: America East Tournament Championship

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Report: B.J. Bailey keeps commitment

According to the website BU's incoming recruit B.J. Bailey has decided to stay with the university after offering a verbal commitment early in the year, but reportedly being "distraught" after the university fired coach Dennis Wolff. Bailey, a 6-foot-4 senior at Holy Spirit High School, averaged 17.6 points this season and led his team to a 26-3 record.

The article also reported that the university has offered the associate head coach position to Orlando Vandross -- the only member of Wolff's staff the university did not let go.

Neither of these reports have been claimed by officials at BU. We hope to receive confirmation regarding one or both very soon.

Holy Spirit's B.J. Bailey keeps commitment to Boston Univ.

Women's Basketball Live Blog: America East Tournament (Semifinals)

Coaching search update and links

Here are some links to pass along that have been trickling in over the past few days regarding the recent firing of BU coach Dennis Wolff. There will be an article in Monday's edition of the Free Press as well as an extended feature piece that will be released at a later date. Please keep it here for everything regarding this ongoing situation.

Younger Pitino on BU list
BU axes head coach
Holy Spirit's B.J. Bailey upset over firing of Boston University coach

Friday, March 13, 2009

Women's Basketball Live Blog: America East Tournament (Quarterfinals)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Women's Basketball Tournament Preview: Quarterfinals

Despite the fact that the men's season has come to and end, Full Court Press has you covered with everything happening regarding BU women's basketball, which went 16-0 in conference and boasts AE Player of the Year Jesyka Burks-Wiley. Beat writer Scott McLaughlin will be live at the tournament to provide analysis and commentary on all the games. Here's a preview to get things started.

No. 1
Boston University vs. No. 8 University at Albany/No. 9 University of Maine

Friday, 2 p.m.

The Terriers (22-6, 16-0 AE), who captured their first regular-season crown since 1988, will begin their bid for an automatic NCAA Tournament berth against the winner of Thursday night’s play-in game.

There’s no reason to think BU should run into any obstacles in this first game. It has steamrolled the Great Danes (4-24, 3-13) by a combined 53 points in the team’s two meetings this year, including a 95-72 demolition in Boston in the regular-season finale on Saturday.

Although the Terriers’ two wins over the Black Bears (5-24, 3-13) have been tighter (15- and 14-point margins), Maine has never been closer than 12 points of BU in the second half of either game.

BU features the conference’s top offense, averaging 73.3 points per game. Seniors Jesyka Burks-Wiley (18.1 ppg), Kristi Dini (12.9 ppg), Christine Kinneary and Amarachi Umez-Eronini (11.3 ppg apiece) are second, seventh and tied for 13th, respectively, in scoring.

Terriers can be found up and down the rest of the league’s stats page as well. Burks-Wiley, a Player of the Year candidate who has collected five Player of the Week awards this season, ranks second in rebounding, pulling down 7.5 boards per game. Dini leads the conference in 3-pointers (3.3 per game), Kinneary is best in assists (5.3 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), and Umez-Eronini is the top thief with 2.6 steals per game.

The guard tandem of sophomore Janea Aiken and junior Britney McGee carry Albany, as they rank seventh and 11th in America East in scoring with 12.9 and 11.6 points per game, respectively. Junior forward Brittany Boser is Maine’s only double-digit scorer, averaging 10.2 ppg.

No. 2 University of Hartford vs. No. 7 Stony Brook University

Friday, 6 p.m.

The Hawks (19-10, 14-2), who have the benefit of defending their conference title on their home floor, swept the season series from the Seawolves (6-22, 4-12) with an 81-67 triumph in West Hartford and a 79-56 pounding on Long Island.

If Stony Brook is going to have any shot at quieting the home crowd, it will have to slow down freshman guard Ilicia Mathis, who led Hartford in scoring in each of the first two contests, including a career-high 20 points two Saturdays ago.

After coming off the bench in out-of-conference play, Mathis has emerged as one of the best young guards in America East. She leads the veteran-laden Hawks with 12.6 points per game in conference play.

Slow her down and the Seawolves will have to deal with the inside attack of junior forwards Erica Beverly (11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game) and Diana Delva (11.7 and 6.4), the best 1-2 post punch in America East.

Stony Brook will also need a big performance from sophomore forward Kirsten Jeter if the game is going to be close at the end. Jeter ranks ninth in the conference in scoring with 12.2 points per game and is tied for sixth in rebounding with 6.2 boards per game.

Complementing Jeter’s inside game is the play of Misha Horsey at the point. The sophomore is averaging 10.4 points and 3.5 assists per contest, and she rarely turns the ball over, ranking fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).

No. 3 University of Vermont vs. No. 6 University of New Hampshire

Friday, 8 p.m.

As is the case with a potential BU-Albany matchup, there’s nothing to suggest that this game should even be close. The Wildcats (8-22, 6-10) have found themselves on the receiving end of 21- and 22-point beatdowns courtesy of the Catamounts (18-11, 12-4) this year.

Senior guard Sy Janousek came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points for Vermont in the first meeting, and junior guard May Kotsopoulos led the way in the second clash with 21.

Although Janousek and fellow senior guard Amy Rosenkrantz are important contributors, it is the backcourt duo of juniors Kotsopoulos and defending Player of the Year Courtnay Pilypaitis that carries Vermont.

Pilypaitis and Kotsopoulos place fourth and fifth in America East with 14.4 and 13.8 points per game, respectively. In addition, Pilypaitis is third in the conference and first among guards with 7.3 rebounds per game and second in assists with 5.2 per game. Kotsopoulos comes in second in America East with 2.4 steals per game.

Unlike fellow underdogs Albany, Maine and Stony Brook, UNH has that one player who can step up and take over a game – junior forward Candace Williams. She is the conference’s best rebounder (8.2 per game), and her 16.0 points per game are good for third.

The Wildcats’ upset hopes could also be greatly aided by a lights-out shooting performance from junior guard Amy Simpson (11.5 ppg), who has attempted the most treys in the conference this season (244). Unfortunately for UNH, she’s only made 24.6 percent of them.

No. 4 Binghamton University vs. No. 5 University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Friday, 12 p.m.

Not surprisingly, the 4-5 matchup promises to be the most even first-round game. It’s the only quarterfinal showdown featuring a pair of teams that split their regular-season series. Oddly enough, though, neither contest was all that close. The Retrievers (14-15, 6-10) downed the Bearcats (13-16, 8-8) in Baltimore, 78-63, on Jan. 24. Binghamton returned the favor with a 70-50 trouncing at home two weeks ago.

In the first meeting, junior guard Carlee Cassidy, the conference’s leading scorer (20.8 points per game), led UMBC with a game-high 27 points. In the second encounter, senior center Laura Franceski paced the Bearcats with 15 points, 15 rebounds (a career high) and three blocks.

Cassidy and Franceski will be the key players in Friday’s tilt as well. Cassidy will shoot from anywhere at anytime, as evidenced by her conference-high 489 shot attempts. Her 2.8 trifectas per game are second most in the conference. Franceski is one of the most intimidating defensive presences in the league. Her 3.1 blocks per game peg her over a block a game better than anyone else in America East.

The Binghamton offense runs through the guard combo of junior Erica Carter (10.2 ppg) and freshman Andrea Holmes (9.9 ppg). Like Mathis for Hartford, Holmes has really matured in conference play, averaging 11.4 ppg since its commencement.

But when it comes to America East freshmen, the Retrievers take the cake. Rookies Michelle Kurowski (13.3 ppg), Katie Brooks (9.4 ppg) and Erin Brown (9.4 ppg) have garnered a combined eight America East Rookie of the Week awards. Kurowski, who ranks ninth in the nation in freshman scoring, leads the way with four.

BREAKING NEWS: Burks-Wiley earns BU’s first Player of the Year award, Terriers take over awards banquet

The women of Boston University continued their dominance of the America East Conference at Thursday’s awards banquet at the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

Senior forward Jesyka Burks-Wiley became the first Terrier in the conference’s 25-year history to garner Player of the Year honors. She led the America East with 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in conference play and won five Player of the Week awards.

Kelly Greenberg was named the Coach of the Year for the first time in her five years at the helm for BU. She becomes the first Terrier coach to earn the award since Christine Basile in 1987. Greenberg and the Terriers became the fifth team in America East history to complete an undefeated conference regular season. BU has won 22 games this season, a program record.

Senior guard Amarachi Umez-Eronini, who led the conference with 3.0 steals per game in conference play, won the Defensive Player of the Year award. She becomes the first BU player to win the award in its seven-year history.

Burks-Wiley, Umez-Eronini and senior point guard Christine Kinneary, who led the America East with 5.3 assists per game and a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, were all named to the America East All-Conference First Team. It marks the first time that three players from the same school were named to the First Team since Vermont’s 1992-93 squad.

In addition, senior guard Kristi Dini, who made a conference-high 92 3-pointers this season, was named to the All-Conference Third Team. Umez-Eronini and Kinneary were both named to the All-Defensive Team as well.

Below is the complete listing of the 2008-09 season awards.

Individual awards:

Player of the Year

Jesyka Burks-Wiley, Boston University

Coach of the Year

Kelly Greenberg, Boston University

Rookie of the Year

Andrea Holmes, Binghamton

Defensive Player of the Year

Amarachi Umez-Eronini, Boston University

All-Conference Awards:

First Team

Jesyka Burks-Wiley, Sr. F Boston University

Christine Kinneary, Sr. G Boston University

Amarachi Umez-Eronini, Sr. G Boston University

Erica Beverly, Jr. F Hartford

Courtnay Pilypaitis, Jr. G Vermont

Second Team

Diana Delva, Jr. F Hartford

Lisa Etienne, Sr. G Hartford

Carlee Cassidy, Jr. G UMBC

Candace Williams, Jr. F New Hampshire

May Kotsopoulos, Jr. G Vermont

Third Team

Laura Franceski, Sr. C Binghamton

Andrea Holmes, Fr. G Binghamton

Kristi Dini, Sr. G Boston University

Ilicia Mathis, Fr. G Hartford

Kirsten Jeter, So. F Stony Brook

All-Rookie Team

Andrea Holmes, Fr. G Binghamton

Viive Rebane, Fr. F Binghamton

Ilicia Mathis, Fr. G Hartford

Erin Brown, Fr. F UMBC

Michelle Kurowski, Fr. G UMBC

All-Defensive Team

Christine Kinneary, Sr. G Boston University

Amarachi Umez-Eronini, Sr. G Boston University

Erica Beverly, Jr. F Hartford

Lisa Etienne, Sr. G Hartford

May Kotsopoulos, Jr. G Vermont

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: BU head coach Dennis Wolff fired

In a statement made by the Boston University Athletics Department today, Director of Athletics Mike Lynch announced that men's basketball coach Dennis Wolff has been fired.

The 15-year coach of the Terriers had signed a 10-year contract extension in 2003, which meant that he would have been under contract through the 2013-2014 season.

"We greatly appreciate the contributions that Dennis has made during his 15 years at BU," Lynch said in a press release. "To a man, his student-athletes competed hard on the court, earned their degrees in the classroom and represented BU well in the community. We wish Dennis nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

"This decision was not made quickly or easily. However, after a thorough analysis, I believe that a change in leadership is in the best interests of our men's basketball program."

According to an article on, Wolff was in New York on a recruiting trip when he was asked to return to Boston to meet with the administration. The department asked Wolff to resign and when he refused, his contract was terminated. The article also stated that Wolff is currently negotiating a buyout for his contract, which had four years remaining.

In addition to Wolff, assistant coaches Sean Ryan and Will Seward were released as well as Director of Basketball Operation Thomas Joyce. Associate head coach Orlando Vandross, who's been with the team for 12 seasons, was not fired and could be among what is a "nationwide pool" of applicants to fill the open position. The press release states the search has already started, but no date has been set for its termination.

Wolff, the longest-tenured and winningest coach in BU history, led the Terriers to their first winning season in three years in 2008-09. The team compiled a 17-12 regular-season record before being ousted in the first round of the America East Tournament in a 79-75 overtime loss to the No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Under Wolff, BU won three consecutive regular-season conference titles (2002-04) and made four straight postseason appearances (2002-05). During the course of his coaching career with the Terriers, he led the team to two NCAA Tournament appearances and three NIT appearances.

Wolff was named the America East Coach of the Year in 1997, 2003, 2004, the NABC District I Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2004 and the New England Division I Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2004.

He finished his coaching career at BU with a 247-197 record.

Please continue checking the blog and as more information becomes available.

Men's basketball coach Dennis Wolff fired
A shocking firing at Boston University
Boston University fires coach Wolff
BU Fires Wolff
Boston U. fires all-time winningest coach
Boston University fires coach after 15 seasons

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Day After: (No. 6 UMBC 79, No. 3 BU 75, OT)

Boston University men’s basketball coach Dennis Wolff said before the 2009 America East Tournament that he though, unfortunately, his team would be judged on how they performed in the postseason. He threw in the unfortunately qualifier thrown in because, despite what may have seemed like an underachieving regular season given that the Terriers were pegged to finish first in the conference for the second-straight year and ended up in third, Wolff and his players managed to recover from the midseason loss of two of the team’s top five scorers (Tyler Morris and Carlos Strong) and record their first winning campaign in three years. BU’s 17 wins, eight of which came consecutively in one of the best stretches of basketball at BU since the early 2000s, were a success, but the failure to attain an 18th win is, as Wolff said, a bitter disappointment for the program.

Over three years ago, when Corey Lowe, Tyler Morris, Scott Brittain and Sherrod Smith took the court as wide-eyed freshman starters against George Washington University at Agganis Arena (and rookie Carlos Strong scored 19 off the bench) games like Saturday’s were what was on everyone’s mind afterward. The unbridled talent of this collection of players only needed experience to reach another level — a level that many hoped would produce the team’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002. But after another one of what has been far too many late-game collapses by the Terriers over the last three seasons at the worst-possible time, those visions remain on the horizon. Lowe delivered a career-defining performance only to see it matched by Darryl Proctor’s 33 points and No. 6 UMBC’s 79-75 overtime victory.

For the first time in two seasons, the Terriers were ousted in the first round. And in a year in which so much history was made — the 100th season of BU basketball, Lowe’s 1,000th point, the program’s 1,000th win, the 200th win at Case Gymnasium, John Holland’s 543-point season, Lowe’s shattering of the all-time 3-point record — the ultimate symbol of a school’s immediate and historical success proved unattainable. Similar to his performance against Hartford, Holland appeared in-and-out of the contest. He was unstoppable at times, especially when he hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half and at others was relegated to a virtual non-factor player on the court. The same could be said about Rookie of the Year Jake O’Brien, who scored a career-high 25 points against defending champion UMBC at the RAC in late February, but was never really able to find his stroke.

Ultimately, it was Wolff’s necessary divergence from his gameplan and Proctor’s amazing effort — UMBC coach Randy Monroe called him a “willer” because he’s willed the Retrievers to victory so many times in the two years he’s played for them — that did the Terriers in. Wolff planned on pounding the ball in the post, but given how ineffective the forwards looked, that strategy quickly went by the wayside. With the offense not running through the post (as it had the majority of the time once BU lost Morris and Strong) the Terriers were a bit out of their element and if it weren’t for Lowe’s performance, they would have appeared completely out of sync.

It was the final game of Matt Wolff, Marques Johnson and Sam Tully’s careers. Next season will provide a much longer list of seniors in this paragraph, and the defeat for this talented team would be no less devastating.

UMBC will play top-seeded Binghamton at the Events Center on Saturday to decide who will get the conference’s automatic bid. The game is at 11:00 a.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.

Corey Lowe: Not only did he deliver on the biggest stage of his career, but he slung the Terriers on his back and carried them through the game. After all the ankle injuries (and really, a career full of injuries) he appeared in top form knocking down runners, jumpers, deep treys and contested layups. His emotions at the end of the game told the whole story. Lowe will only have one more chance to play in an NCAA Tournament game. If you thought his effort in Albany was inspired, there’s no telling what fans could be in store for next season in Hartford.
-- Holland
’s second half: Holland scoring 20 points is a testament to how effective he can be when he’s completely “in” the game. In the inaudible mumbles he offered after the contest, the only thing that was really English was, “I didn’t do what I was supposed to do,” in regard to his three points in the first half. Holland is an elite offensive superstar when he wants to be; the challenge for Wolff and his assistants is getting him to show that every night. He did for most of the season, but when he doesn’t, it becomes blatantly obvious and really hurts the Terriers.
Matt Wolff’s effort: In what ended up being his final game in a BU uniform and being coached by his father, Matt turned in a commendable performance, grabbing nine boards and dishing out six assists. He played all 45 minutes after suffering a concussion six days prior, but showed no ill-effects.

BU’s forwards: Dennis Wolff is always cautious about calling his players out in a public forum, but following BU’s first-round exit, he showed no hesitation to mention how disappointed he was in the “4 and 5” positions. While he didn’t name names, it was evident that he was unhappy with the effort put forth by Scott Brittain and Jeff Pelage. Brittain has been stuck in Wolff’s dog house all season, constantly being pleaded with to show more aggression on the court and, as Wolff says, play off two feet. He didn’t Saturday. Combined with Pelage’s five turnovers and no assists as well as both Brittain and Jake O’Brien fouling out in regulation, the Terriers’ fate might have been sealed even before Proctor tied the game.
Defense of Proctor: Understand that this does not include the final minutes of the game after Brittain and O’Brien fouled out, because the shot Proctor made shows why he was a leading candidate for the Player of the Year award. Before that, however, he was scoring at will against BU’s zone and man-to-man, hitting mid-range jumpers and making strong cuts along the baseline.
-- First-round exit: It seems obvious, but this team hadn’t lost in the first round in two seasons. And given that the University at Albany upset UVM in overtime just before BU tipped off, the Terriers’ path to a championship game appearance for the first time since 2002-03 looked bright. It wasn’t to be, however, and BU will have an entire offseason to think about the loss and prepare for next year.

Proctor, UMBC knock of Terriers in AE Tourney
Lowe's 33 point effort not enough in crushing loss
BU, UVM knocked out

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Live Blog: No. 1 Binghamton University vs. No. 4 University of New Hampshire

Hello and welcome to this afternoon's live blog of the second semifinal of the day to see who will face No. 6 UMBC in the America East Championship game. The top-seeded Binghamton University Bearcats (21-8) will face the No. 4 University of New Hampshire Wildcats (14-15).

Here are the starting lineups:

No. 1 Binghamton University Bearcats
02 D.J. Rivera
03 Malik Alvin
25 Reggie Fuller
32 Emanuel Mayben
34 Chretien Lukusa

No. 4 University of New Hampshire Wildcats
01 Dane DiLiegro
04 Tyrece Gibbs
21 Tyrone Conley
23 Eric Gilchrese
32 Radar Onguetou

Final Score: No. 1 University of Binghamton 72, No. 4 University of New Hampshire 67

Leading scorers:
UNH -- Tyrece Gibbs, 18
BING -- D.J. Rivera, 26

Leading rebounders:
UNH -- Radar Onguetou, 8
BING -- D.J. Rivera, 8

Leading assists:
UNH -- Two tied at 5
BING -- Malik Alvin, 3

Binghamton will host UMBC at the Events Center on Saturday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Live Blog: No. 7 University at Albany vs. No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Hello and welcome to this afternoon's live blog of the first semifinal game of the America East Tournament between the No. 7 University at Albany Great Danes (15-15) and the No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County (14-16).

Here are the starting lineups:

No. 7 University at Albany Great Danes
03 Will Harris
21 Mike Johnson
23 Tim Ambrose
33 Brian Connelly
54 Brett Gifford

No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County
02 Jay Greene
21 Matt Spadafora
23 Chauncey Gilliam
30 Justin Fry
32 Darryl Proctor

Final Score: No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County 64, No. 7 University at Albany 58

Leading scorers:
UA -- Tim Ambrose, 21
UMBC -- Jay Greene, 29

Leading rebounders:
UA -- Brett Gifford, 9
UMBC -- Darryl Proctor, 8

Leading assists:
UA -- Mike Johnson, 6
UMBC -- Jay Greene, 6

GAMEDAY: America East Championship, Semifinals Preview

Five of the America East Championship's eight games are already in the books after the conclusion of an eventful quarterfinal round, but there are still three remaining, including two today. Yesterday determined which teams are truly in position to make a run at the title, but today's games set the stage for next week's ultimate battle. Without further ado, let's get to the matchups.

Sunday, March 8:
No. 6 Maryland-Baltimore County (14-16, 8-9) vs. No. 7 Albany (15-15, 7-10), 2:07 p.m.

Two quarterfinal upset winners meet in the semifinals for an unlikely pairing. Albany burst out of the gates in its quarterfinal matchup but had to survive a serious comeback attempt by Vermont and took 45 minutes before securing the victory. Not to be outdone in the drama department, the Retrievers needed all of Darryl Proctor's 33 points, including a game-tying shot with 2.5 seconds remaining, to force overtime and ultimately defeat Boston University. Two more different teams could not be found. UMBC makes the most of its possessions by relying on its senior leaders for major point production, protects the basketball, and suffers from rebounding woes. The Great Danes, in contrast, are not efficient in the traditional sense on offense but crash the boards to get second chance opportunities for an offense built around a junior and a sophomore. These teams' two previous meetings produced a split, with the home team winning each contest. Albany looks to improve to 11-3 at home, while UMBC is looking for a repeat trip to the finals.

Projected starting lineups:


No. 1 Binghamton (21-8) vs. No. 4 New Hampshire (14-16), 5:07 p.m.

The early game may feature two upset winners, but today's second game matches chalk against chalk. The Bearcats have won nine straight and have a head of steam, but don't be so quick to discount the Wildcats' chances. UNH gave Binghamton a real scare during its visit to Vestal, leading by six with three minutes to go in regulation before the Bearcats managed to sneak away with a one-point overtime win. Nobody in the conference can match Binghamton's speed and athleticism, so New Hampshire will need its shotmakers to create and convert open looks in order to keep pace. No high seeds on the other side of the bracket guarantees this game's winner will host the final.

Projected starting lineups:


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Post-game Audio: (UMBC 79, BU 75, OT)

Audio from BU's 79-75 loss to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County:

BU coach Dennis Wolff's opening statement

Wolff was disappointed with BU's interior play

Wolff is looking for more maturity from his team

Wolff praises Corey Lowe's performance in a losing effort

Corey Lowe and Matt Wolff on trying to contain Darryl Proctor

Lowe talks about playing yet another overtime game

Matt Wolff looks back on his career as a Terrier

UMBC coach Randy Monroe's opening statement

Monroe offers plaudits for BU's players

Darryl Proctor on his thoughts before the last shot in regulation

Proctor on not wanting his UMBC career to end

Jay Greene on Proctor's value to the Retrievers

Post-game Audio: (America East Quarterfinals)

Post-game audio from the University at Albany's 56-52 overtime win against the University of Vermont:

Albany coach Will Brown's opening statement

Brown on finding ways to score despite poor shooting

Brown discusses the loose ball Marqus Blakely lost out of bounds

Tim Ambrose talks about trying to stay loose down the stretch

Will Harris on Albany's confidence heading into the tournament

Mike Johnson credits his coaches for improved free-throw shooting

Johnson talks about his first half and Albany's group dynamic

Check back again later for more audio!

Live Blog: No. 4 University of New Hampshire vs. No. 5 Stony Brook University

Hello and welcome to our final live blog of the evening. The No. 4 University of New Hampshire Wildcats (13-15, 8-8) take on the No. 5 Stony Brook University Seawolves (16-13, 8-8).

Here are the starting lineups:

No. 5 Stony Brook University Seawolves
10 Bryan Dougher
11 Marques Cox
23 Dallis Joyner
24 Tommy Brenton
35 Muhammad El-Amin

No. 4 University of New Hampshire Wildcats
01 Dane DiLiegro
04 Tyrece Gibbs
21 Tyrone Conley
25 Alvin Abreu
32 Radar Onguetou

Final Score: No. 4 University of New Hampshire 76, No. 5 Stony Brook University 73

Leading scorers:
SBU -- Muhammad El-Amin, 23
UNH -- Tyrece Gibbs, 18

Leading rebounders:
SBU -- Tommy Brenton, 8
UNH -- Tyrece Gibbs, 8

Leading assists:
SBU -- Tommy Brenton, 4
UNH -- Tyrone Conley, 6

Live Blog: No. 1 Binghamton University vs. No. 9 University of Hartford

Hello and welcome to the first game of the afternoon session between the play-in game winner, the No. 9 University of Hartford (7-25, 3-14) and top-seeded Binghamton University (20-8, 13-3). Tip-off is set for 6:07 p.m.

No. 9 University of Hartford Hawks
01 Jaret von Rosenberg
03 Michael Turner
11 Andres Torres
23 Morgan Sabia
25 Anthony Minor

No. 1 Binghamton University Bearcats
02 D.J. Rivera
03 Malik Alvin
25 Reggie Fuller
32 Emmanuel Mayen
34 Chretien Lukusa

Final Score: No. 1 University of Binghamton 73, No. 9 University of Hartford 65

Leading scorers:
UH -- Michael Turner, 20
BING -- Malik Alvin, 29

Leading rebounds:
UH -- Morgan Sabia, 8
BING -- D.J. Rivera, 11

Leading assists:
UH -- Andres Torres, 8
BING -- Emanuel Mayben, 5

Live Blog: No. 3 Boston University vs. No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Hello and welcome to the live blog of this afternoon's game between the No. 3 Boston University Terriers (17-12, 11-5 AE) and the No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers (13-16, 7-9). Tip-off is set for roughly 2:30, approximately a half hour after the conclusion of the Albany-Vermont game.

Here are the starting lineups:

No. 3 Boston University Terriers
02 Matt Wolff
13 Corey Lowe
21 Jake O'Brien
23 John Holland
31 Scott Brittain

No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers
02 Jay Greene
21 Matt Spadafora
23 Chauncey Gilliam
30 Justin Fry
32 Darryl Proctor

Final Score: No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County 79, No. 3 Boston University 75 (OT)

Leading scorers:
UMBC -- Darryl Proctor, 33
BU -- Corey Lowe, 33

Leading rebounders:
UMBC -- Darryl Proctor, 11
BU -- Matt Wolff, 9

Leading assists:
UMBC -- Jay Greene, 8
BU -- Matt Wolff, 6

Women's Basketball Live Blog: University at Albany vs. Boston University

Women’s Basketball Live Blog: University at Albany vs. Boston University

BU has already clinched the America East regular-season title and the top seed in next weekend’s conference tournament. Albany (5-23, 3-12 AE) is already locked into Thursday’s 8 vs. 9 play-in game against Maine. Despite those truths, today’s game is anything but meaningless.

The Terriers (21-6, 15-0) have a chance to complete the fifth perfect regular season in the 25-year history of America East, and the first since Maine in 2002-03. BU is one of just five teams in the country still unbeaten in its respective conference.

It’s also Senior Day at The Roof, where the four members of the winningest class in program history will be playing for the last time. Not only are Jesyka Burks-Wiley, Kristi Dini, Christine Kinneary and Amarachi Umez-Eronini arguably the greatest group of seniors the team has ever seen, they are also the pistons that drive BU’s engine.

Each member of the Terriers’ fearsome foursome has her own specialty, and they can all make a claim to be the best in the conference in their respective areas of expertise.

Burks-Wiley is the inside presence, the go-to scorer and topic number one in every opponent’s team meetings. She has been named the conference Player of the Week five times and ranks second in scoring (18.1 points per game), rebounding (7.5 per game) and defensive rebounding (5.2 per game). There is no more complete forward in the conference, and possibly no better candidate for the Player of the Year award.

Dini is the sharp-shooting 3-point specialist that will decimate any defense that has the brazenness to leave her open. She places first in the conference and third in the country in treys per game (3.2) and is BU’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers.

If BU’s seniors are the pistons to the team’s engine, Kinneary is the crankshaft that makes everything turn. The all-time BU assists leader’s 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio is good for first in America East and ninth in the nation, and her 5.1 assists per game peg her second in the conference.

Umez-Eronini is the tenacious defender who refuses to stop moving and whose energy radiates throughout the team. Her 2.6 steals per game are tops in the conference, and her habit of shutting down the opposition’s best offensive player may just land her Defensive Player of the Year honors.

If this quartet can combine its four different playing styles in the same way it has all season, it will be able to pass an 18-game home winning streak in conference play onto next year’s team in its last will.

Live Blog: No. 2 University of Vermont vs. No. 7 University at Albany

Hello and welcome to the first game of what promises to be an eventful Saturday at SEFCU Arena on the campus of the University at Albany for the quarterfinal round of the America East Tournament. The Catamounts (23-7, 13-3) face the host Great Danes (14-15, 6-10) for a 12:07 tip-off.

Here are the starting lineups:

No. 7 University at Albany Great Danes
03 Will Harris
21 Mike Johnson
23 Tim Ambrose
33 Brian Connelly
54 Brett Gifford

No. 2 University of Vermont Catamounts
12 Nick Vier
13 Mike Trimboli (we're going to assume he's playing for now and as soon as the official lineups are announced we'll let you know here and in the live blog)
21 Garvey Young
23 Marqus Blakely
40 Colin McIntosh

Final Score: No. 7 University at Albany 56, No. 2 University of Vermont 52 (OT)

Leading scorers:
UA -- Will Harris, 18
UVM -- Marqus Blakely, 22

Leading rebounders:
UA -- Two tied with 10
UVM -- Marqus Blakely, 9

Leading assists:
UA -- Mike Johnson, 5
UVM -- Three tied with two

GAMEDAY: No. 3 Boston University vs. No. 6 University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Saturday afternoon's game between the sixth-seeded University of Maryland-Baltimore County will mark the first time the two teams have faced each other in the conference tournament and the third time the teams play this season. The Retrievers are the defending America East Champions and they boast two of the most talented players int he conference in senior point guard Jay Greene and senior forward Darryl Proctor -- a daunting task in the first round to say the least.

The biggest focus for the Terriers will be on seizing the momentum of their three-game winning streak and somehow summoning the play of the same BU squad that reeled off eight-straight games in the middle of the season. For BU, the offense revolves around Corey Lowe and John Holland. Often, as Lowe goes, so go the Terriers and he'll need to perform well on the biggest stage of the season if BU has hopes of advancing. Lowe has combined for 37 points against the Retrievers and is beginning to play better basketball after being benched in the second half against Stony Brook. That game was the middle contest of a three-game stretch during which Lowe scored a combined 17 points on 6-of-27 shooting. He burst out of his career-worst shooting slump in BU's final two games of the season, however, and appears back to for just in time for the tournament. Still, he'll need to not only shoot well for the Terriers offense to be effective, but also be an efficient facilitator.

Additionally, John Holland (who scored 25 points against the University at Albany in SEFCU earlier this year without Lowe on the floor and combined for 40 in two games against UMBC) must rebound for a poor showing in last years' tournament, which came to a point when the sophomore forward didn't play in the second half of BU's loss to Hartford. Holland's the most talented scorer on the team and this could be his tournament to impress in given his extreme amount of consistency (18 points per game) scoring the basketball.

Also pivotal to BU's success will be the post players, especially Scott Brittain and Jeff Pelage, who have been accosted all year by the Terriers' coaching staff and have shown flashes of brilliance. Still, with both having eFG percentages of under 50, BU hasn't been as efficient in the post as coach Dennis Wolff would like. Pelage's play of late has been aggressive and powerful and he could be a "secret weapon" of sorts in the tournament as teams probably didn't see this Pelage during the regular season. Brittain's play will be another x-factor as his post efficiency could make the difference if the game is close.

Senior Matt Wolff, after suffering a severe concussion against Hartford last Sunday, began practicing with the Terriers on Wednesday and will play against UMBC. Another, and much more unexpected source of playing time will come from Sherrod Smith. Smith performed well against Hartford in the season finale after virtually not playing all season. Because of his performance, Wolff said he earned the right to get some minutes in the tourney.

Rookie of the Year, Jake O'Brien, set his career-high scoring total against UMBC on February 2, with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting. While UMBC coach Randy Monroe certainly knows his capabilities, he still has the ability to shoot over people basically any time he wants and if his confidence against the Retrievers continues, he could have a major impact on the game.

As poorly as the Terriers played against last-place Hartford on Sunday, the Terriers were able to accomplish a feat that escaped them all season -- win a game when trailing with 5:00 to go in the game. BU's overtime win put them at 1-8 on the year when trailing with 5:00 left and the Terriers are 0-3 when tied at the 5:00 mark.

BU will most likely implement a matchup zone against the Retrievers, but don't be surprised if Wolff uses a little more man-to-man than usual, as it worked well in BU's 80-77 double overtime victory at Case Gymnasium this year, especially with Matt Wolff guarding Proctor effectively. UMBC is healthy (yet still not very deep, much like BU) and the draw is one of the most evenly-matched first-round games.

As far as the history aspect of the macthup is concerned, The Terriers haven't lost a quarterfinal game in the America East Tournament in two years as the current junior class roared back to beat Binghamton in 2006-07 and upset No. 3 Albany in the first round at Binghamton. As a No. 3 seed, the Terriers are 7-7 all-time and are 7-2 all-time against six seeds.

Terriers' season faces judgment this weekend in AE tourney

Projected Starting Lineups

Friday, March 6, 2009

Post-game Audio: (No. 9 Hartford 65, No. 8 Maine 56)

Here's audio clips from the press conference following No. 9 Hartford's 65-56 victory over No. 8 University of Maine. The Hawks will face top-seeded Binghamton University tomorrow at 6:07 p.m. at the start of the second session.

Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz's opening statement

Leibovitz discusses his team's guarding of Maine's Sean McNally

Jaret von Rosenberg talks about the boost Genesis Maciel gave the team

Leibovitz reflects on his teams' second-half defensive switch

Michael Turner feels his team's effort has remained constant all season

Von Rosenberg looks ahead to Saturday's matchup against Binghamton

Maine coach Ted Woodward's opening statement

Maine's Gerald McLemore and Sean McNally talk about Andres Torres' 3-pointer

McLemore attributes the game's choppiness to turnovers

Woodward attempts to rationalize the loss

Woodward speaks about stumbling upon McLemore while recruiting

Woodward wishes he had more time with this group of players and looks forward

Live Blog: No. 8 University of Maine vs. No. 9 University of Hartford

Hello and welcome to your live coverage of the America East Conference Tournament. The tournament kicks off tonight with the play-in game between the No. 8 University of Maine and the No. 9 University of Hartford. The winner will face top-seeded Binghamton tomorrow evening in the first game of the afternoon session (6:07 p.m.).

For a preview of the game, check the post below.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight's game:

No. 8 University of Maine Black Bears
12 Junior Bernal
22 Mark Socoby
32 Gerald McLemore
03 Troy Barnies
21 Sean McNally

No. 9 University of Hartford Hawks
01 Jaret von Rosenberg
03 Michael Turner
11 Andres Torres
23 Morgan Sabia
25 Anthony Minor

Final Score: No. 9 University of Hartford 65, No. 8 University of Maine 56
Box Score

Leading Scorers
UH -- Jaret von Rosenberg, 21
UM -- Gerald McLemore, 13

Leading Rebounders:
UH -- Two tied at two
UM -- Sean McNally, 7

Leading Assists:
UH -- Andres Torres, 4
UM -- Sean McNally, 4

GAMEDAY: America East Championship, Play-In and Quarterfinals Preview

The weekend that defines the America East Conference is finally here. The tournament kicks off Friday night at 7:05 p.m. between the No. 8 University of Maine and the No. 9 University of Hartford. Then Saturday features eight teams in the most exciting day of the conference's season. One NCAA bid is on the line so without wasting too much of your time, let's get right to the previews.

Friday, March 6:
No. 8 Maine (9-20, 4-12) vs. No. 9 Hartford (6-25, 2-14), 7:05 p.m.

The Hawks are coming off an emotional loss to Boston University in which they came extremely close to ending their dismal 14-game losing streak. While Hartford deserved to win the game, they couldn't make enough plays and/or 3-pointers at the end to pull it out. Maine, on the other hand, lost to Vermont sans Mike Trimboli and is probably playing the worst basketball in the conference. Troy Barnies and Gerald McLemore have been a diamonds in the rough for the Black Bears, but when Mark Socoby's not scoring, it makes things difficult. McLemore could be a difference-maker as the most athletic player on the court in the play-in game, but Hartford's newfound energy could be enough to propel them forward. The winner doesn't get much of a reward, however, as they have to take on top-seeded Binghamton on Saturday. Hartford and Maine split the season series.

Projected starting lineups

Saturday, March 7
No. 2 Vermont (23-7, 13-3) vs. No. 7 Albany (14-15, 6-10), 12:07 p.m.

Almost all the talk surrounding this game has been centered on Mike Trimboli's mysterious "illness/serious viral infection" and whether or not the first-team senior guard will play on Saturday. According to the Burlington Free Press, he's already returned to practice and made the trip to Albany. It would be a complete shock to see him held out of the lineup, especially in his senior year. How effective he'll be, however, remains to be see. Even if Trimboli doesn't play, UVM still has AE Player of the Year Marqus Blakely and a great supporting cast. The Great Danes are in rough shape as their rookie point guard Anthony Raffa and Louis Barraza will likely miss the game with injuries and not even a home-court advantage can help cure that. With a severe lack of depth and being losers of seven of their last eight -- as well as history (a No. 7 seed has never topped a No. 2 seed in the America East Tournament) -- things aren't looking good for the Danes. One glimmer of hope could be that Albany has beaten UVM this season, 82-77 at Patrick Gymnasium.

Projected Starting Lineups

No. 3
Boston U. (17-12, 11-5) vs. No. 6 UMBC (13-16, 7-9), 2:30 p.m.
*See Gameday post above for detailed information.

No. 1 Binghamton (20-8, 13-3) vs. Winner of No. 8/No. 9 play-in game, 6:07 p.m.

Obviously we won't know who Binghamton's playing until the play-in game is over, but it's a safe bet that the Bearcats will match up well against their opponent. Binghamton is the most athletic team in the conference and is on an eight-game winning streak (though some have been by the thinnest of margins) entering the tournament. We'll have more info on this matchup once it's determined.

(Edit: Hartford, by virtue of winning the play-in game, has advanced to the quarterfinals and will be Binghamton's opponent. The Hawks will have to improve on their regular season results against the Bearcats (two losses by seven and 18 points, respectively) while dealing with the effects of playing on short rest with a relatively short bench. Hartford's victory puts the Hawks on their first winning streak since mid-January and nine of the Bearcats' 13 conference wins were by single digits, so don't be surprised if this one stays close.)

Projected Starting Lineup

No. 4
New Hampshire (13-15, 8-8) vs. No. 5 Stony Brook (16-13, 8-8), 8:30 p.m.

These two teams faced each other in a thriller at the end of the season with UNH capturing the higher seed on the strength of a 58-57 overtime victory. The Wildcats have beaten the Seawolves twice this season and have won four of their last five games, with the one loss coming to Binghamton by one point in overtime. The Seawolves have been one of the most surprising teams in the conference given their youth and inexperience, but with Tommy Brenton (second in the conference in rebounding) and Muhammad El-Amin does the bulk of the scoring. SBU presents a nice balanced scoring attack and is the best defensive team in the conference. If, however, the Wildcats begin to light it up from beyond the arc -- combined with the in-game coaching of Bill Herrion -- the Wildcats could move on. Given the matchup and the fact they just played one another, this game could turn into a first-round gem.

Projected Starting Lineups

BREAKING NEWS: Jake O'Brien wins Rookie of the Year, Holland and Lowe on First Team, Wolff All-Defensive

The America East announced its end-of-the-season award winners Friday morning. BU sophomore forward John Holland (18.0 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game) and junior guard Corey Lowe (16.6 points per game, 4.1 assists per game) were both selected as members of the All-Conference First Team while freshman Jake O'Brien (12.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game) becomes the third consecutive Terrier to win the Rookie of the Year award. Tyler Morris won the award in 2006-07 and Holland won last year. It's the second time in conference history one school has featured three-consecutive ROY's (Siena: Steve McCoy (1985-86), Dwight Walton (1986-87), Marc Brown (1987-88)). Senior forward Matt Wolff also earned a spot on the all-defensive team.

Below are the full awards for the America East 2008-09 season or you can click here for the full release.

Major Awards:

Kevin Roberson Player of the Year
Marqus Blakely, Vermont

Coach of the Year
Kevin Broadus, Binghamton

Rookie of the Year
Jake O’Brien, Boston University

Defensive Player of the Year
Marqus Blakely, Vermont

All-Conference Awards:

First Team

John Holland So. G/F Boston University
Corey Lowe Jr. G Boston University
Darryl Proctor Sr. F UMBC
Marqus Blakely Jr. F Vermont
Mike Trimboli Sr. G Vermont

Second Team
Emanuel Mayben Jr. G Binghamton
D.J. Rivera Jr. F Binghamton
Jay Greene Sr. G UMBC
Tyrece Gibbs Sr. G New Hampshire
Muhammad El-Amin Jr. G Stony Brook

Third Team
Tim Ambrose So. G Albany
Will Harris Jr. F Albany
Reggie Fuller Sr. F Binghamton
Jaret von Rosenberg Sr. G Hartford
Colin McIntosh Sr. F Vermont

All-Rookie Team
Jake O’Brien Fr. F Boston University
Gerald McLemore Fr. G Maine
Tommy Brenton Fr. F Stony Brook
Bryan Dougher Fr. G Stony Brook
Garvey Young Fr. G Vermont

All-Defensive Team
Jerel Hastings Sr. F Albany
Reggie Fuller Sr. F Binghamton
Matt Wolff Sr. F Boston University
Marques Cox Sr. G Stony Brook
Marqus Blakely Jr. F Vermont

Check back later tonight for previews of this weekend's games as well as a live blog of the play-in game between No. 8 Maine and No. 9 Hartford.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: John Holland garners two awards

Boston University sophomore John Holland (18.0 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game) was selected as a member of the District I first team in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District poll.

Here are the full results for District I:

First Team:
Kenny Hasbrouck -- Siena
Edwin Ubiles -- Siena
Ryan Thompson -- Rider
John Holland -- Boston U.
Marqus Blakely -- Vermont

Second Team:
Tyrone Lewis -- Niagara
Bilal Benn -- Niagara
D.J. Rivera -- Binghamton
Darryl Proctor -- UMBC
Alex Franklin -- Siena

Holland was also selected as America East's 2009 "Player of the Game" for garnering the most Player of the Game awards during the regular season. The America East conference will release all of its end of the season awards on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. It's expected that Holland (among other Terriers) will garner awards in that ceremony as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

State of America East: Tournament Edition

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, America East's "second season" is about to begin. We've seen non-conference play, where some teams showcased their strengths while others realized their shortcomings. We've also seen conference play, with every team meeting each opponent twice. March, however, is an altogether separate entity.

Cynics will tell you the regular season doesn't really matter, that the season begins now, that nobody ever won a championship in January or February (a statement Binghamton no doubt disagrees with). Such statements are factually based but don't tell the whole story. Nearly four months after the season's first games, we can say plenty about America East's nine teams. We know who the stars are, who lives and dies by the 3, who misses free throws in crunch time, who can't take care of the ball, and all the other details. Most of the surprises -- a Dennis Wolff team relying on zone defenses? Really? -- aren't surprises anymore.

The only thing we don't know is how each of these teams' stories will end. We can forecast, though, and this week we will, seed by seed. Starting at the bottom, it's the...

America East Power Rankings, in reverse
(records versus D-I opponents)

9. Hartford Hawks
6-25 (2-14 AE), RPI 303, SOS 162
Results against Maine: W 76-71 (home), L 68-63 (away)

Even considering the devastating loss of Joe Zeglinski to season-ending injury, the Hawks' season has been a disappointment. While it's difficult to find a positive outlook for a team losing 14 straight games heading into the conference tournament, Hartford's overtime loss at BU suggests the Hawks will be able to put up a good fight against Maine. Hartford split with the Black Bears during the regular season. If Dan Leibovitz's team can get significant offensive contributions from multiple players, the Hawks will stand a good chance. However, even if the nine-seed manages to reach the quarterfinals, it's unlikely this team will be able to cope with Binghamton's athleticism and depth for 40 minutes.

8. Maine Black Bears
8-20 (4-12 AE), RPI 270, SOS 181
Results against Hartford: L 76-71 (away), W 68-63 (away)

Toss out the benefit of playing Hartford at home and the Black Bears haven't won a game since their double-overtime victory versus New Hampshire on January 19th. For a long time, Maine teased observers by playing competitive games against better teams, but as the season progressed it became clear Maine wasn't going to win any of those games. If the Black Bears have an advantage Friday night, it's the relative comfort of not carrying around a double-digit losing streak. Maine hasn't won a tournament game since 2005; if the Black Bears win one this year, they almost certainly won't win a second.

7. Albany Great Danes
14-15 (6-10 AE), RPI 178, SOS 190
Results against Vermont: W 82-77 (away), L 79-70 (home)

A month ago the Great Danes were 5-3 in conference play, in the middle of the league's regular season title race, and playing excellent basketball. Since then? They've gone 1-7. Anthony Raffa hasn't scored in double figures since January and hasn't played since mid-February; without him, Albany's major sources of offense number just two (Tim Ambrose and Will Harris). The Great Danes are at their best when imposing their will on opponents in the rebounding department. If Albany owns the boards, don't count the home team out against anyone.

6. Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers
12-16 (7-9 AE), RPI 191, SOS 155
Results against Boston University: L 80-77 (2OT) (away), L 82-65 (home)

Last year Randy Monroe relied on his starters by choice. This year he's done so out of necessity. UMBC has a bench in name only, so Jay Greene and Darryl Proctor have had to play an enormous amount of minutes. What the Retrievers lack in quantity they make up for in quality, but Greene and Proctor will be hard-pressed to repeat last year's tournament results. The Retrievers' perimeter defense has been porous all year and doesn't figure to improve now. Given the number of guard-oriented teams in America East, another championship doesn't appear to be in the cards.

5. Stony Brook Seawolves
15-13 (8-8 AE), RPI 184, SOS 236
Results against New Hampshire: L 70-61 (home), L 58-57 (OT) (away)

Stony Brook could suffer a blowout loss in the quarterfinals and this season would still be a success. A massive defeat is unlikely, though: the Seawolves' biggest loss against a conference opponent this year had just an 11-point margin. Stony Brook can make a run this year, but Bryan Dougher needs to be productive at the point guard position. The Seawolves are 13-6 when Dougher scores in double figures and 12-5 when winning the turnover battle; if those two things don't happen, Stony Brook is just 2-7 and 3-8, respectively.

4. New Hampshire Wildcats
13-15 (8-8 AE), RPI 216, SOS 217
Results against Stony Brook: W 70-61 (away), W 58-57 (OT) (home)

Of the teams outside the top three, New Hampshire has the most momentum, winning four of five to pull level with Stony Brook and bring the home jerseys to Albany. The Wildcats enjoyed a season sweep of their quarterfinal opponent and performed well against the Bearcats in their second meeting, so New Hampshire's chances of making a deep run in this year's tournament are much better than one would have guessed a few weeks ago. The Wildcats' defense has done an excellent job contesting shots in recent weeks, so the offense hasn't had to be overly efficient. This weekend we'll see just how far defense can carry UNH.

3. Boston University Terriers
17-12 (11-5 AE), RPI 149, SOS 193
Results against Maryland-Baltimore County: W 80-77 (2OT) (home), W 82-65 (road)

The Terriers' chances for a regular season title were swept away by a mid-February slump, but BU carries plenty of momentum into this weekend's games. A potential semifinal meeting with Vermont looms in the distance, but the Terriers' first opponent is a legitimate threat. Never discount the six seed -- BU beat Albany as a six-seed just last year. Luckily for the Terriers, this year's offensive strengths match up quite nicely with their opponent's weaknesses. If Corey Lowe, John Holland, and Jake O'Brien aren't hitting their shots, the Terriers are quite beatable, but with an eFG% ranking second in the conference, the odds of poor marksmanship are rather low.

2. Vermont Catamounts
23-7 (13-3), RPI 85, SOS 221
Results against Albany: L 82-77 (home), W 79-70 (away)

Despite missing out on the top seed, Vermont appeared to be in top form heading into the tournament -- except for one Mike Trimboli, that is. The Catamounts' star guard is out with an undisclosed illness and may not be available for the tournament. Trimboli isn't Vermont's undisputed best player (that would be Marqus Blakely), but he is their on-court leader and a major source of offensive production. All of a sudden the Catamounts appear vulnerable. It's not impossible for Vermont to win the tournament without Trimboli, but if he isn't available or isn't playing at full speed, the chances of a Catamount NCAA bid become much worse.

1. Binghamton Bearcats
19-8 (13-3 AE), RPI 92, SOS 222
Results against Maine: W 70-62 (road), W 83-77 (home)
Results against Hartford: W 66-59 (home), W 62-44 (road)

After all the bad press, legal issues, and general uncertainty surrounding this year's Bearcats basketball team, it's Binghamton standing alone at the top of the standings. Well, not alone -- the Catamounts are co-champions -- but certainly on top. The Bearcats are this year's favorites in March and have everything necessary to win it all. A deep and talented backcourt? Check. An athletic, hard-working frontcourt? Check. Desire? Check. Perhaps most importantly, Binghamton finds ways to win close games, either coming from behind at the end or holding off rallying opponents just long enough to hear the final buzzer. Binghamton isn't likely to win the tournament going away, but it will take an incredible effort to knock them out.