Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 4 Albany Great Danes

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

Welcome to 
Know Thy Foe, a new feature appearing twice daily this week in advance of the America East men’s basketball tournament. Know The Foe will help you, an undereducated fan of America East basketball, become an expert on every team in the conference. It's also possible you'll know less than when you began reading this. A 50-50 proposition, to be honest. 

What is the name of this school? University at Albany is the name listed on the top of its website, and I’m not about to suggest that is wrong. University at Albany seems to be shorthand for State University of New York at Albany, but the SUNY title is listed under University at Albany title on the website. This is all very confusing and it would be much easier if they simply changed the name to Albany University or the University of Albany. Is that too much to ask for? As the esteemed Chris Berman and Company say on far too many Monday nights throughout the fall, “C’mon, man.”

I can't believe I just wrote that ending.

Where is it located? Albany, the state capital of New York. There are technically five campuses, one of which is located across the Hudson River, but the majority of the school is in Albany. And really, the other campuses are down the street or across the highway from the main campus. 

How old is it? The University was founded in 1844, so that means it will celebrate its 168th birthday this year. It was originally called the “Normal School” and was a teaching school. More on the fascinating history of the school can be found on its brief History & Traditions page, where every fact for this section was found.

How many people go there? 12,959 undergrads and 4,656 graduate students. The Fast Facts page on their website also lists “155,000-plus living alumni.” Sadly, it does not list how many dead alumni there are, which is the number everyone really wants to know. 

How big is the campus? 586 acres is what U.S. News & Report says, and it’s probably best to side with them. You can find maps of the whole place here, with the main campus broken down into eight individual maps. I can almost guarantee you will never get lost at Albany with these maps. 

Who or what is their mascot? Albany has some sort of passion for Great Danes. I don’t know why they are the Great Danes, but it’s original enough. The best thing about the Great Danes is it allows them to name their student section  the DANEger Zone, which in turn allows me to post Kenny Loggins’ “Highway to the Danger Zone.” They should name a road to Albany after the song. 

Who is their coach?  Will Brown, who has held the post since 2001. According to his official university biography, he’s the longest tenured coach in America East, which I’m not really sure is a good thing or a bad thing. He also recently received an extension.  He also has his own website,, where you can get updates from him  and a look into his coaching philosophy. There’s no coachspeak on there, I swear.

Where do they play? The Great Danes play at SEFCU Arena, which seats 4,538. According to KenPom, it’s the 244th largest gym in Division-I, which makes it sound really small. Judging by the few photos I have seen of the place, it seems like the seats behind the baskets are steep. Just a random observation, you know? 

UAlbany is also normally home to the New York Giants Training Camp, though the NFL lockout kept the Giants from having their normal camp in Albany this past summer. Don’t worry about any sad Great Danes, however, because the Giants plan to be back next year, Eli Manning, his one facial expression, and all.

How did they do this year? 18-13, 9-7 in the America East

What would be their rank in the tournament?  No. 4. Albany will play No. 5 New Hampshire on Saturday. 

Who would be their basic statistical leaders? Junior guard Gerardo Suero (21.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game), junior guard Mike Black (4.2 assists per game), junior forward Blake Metcalf (0.7 blocks per game)

Do they have any notable wins? Vs. Navy, 69-62

Do they have any notable loses?  At Syracuse, 98-74; at Cornell, 85-82; vs. Vermont, 50-47.

How did they do against BU?  The Terriers easily won the first contest, 70-57, at Agganis Arena. In the second game, BU came back from a large first half deficit to win 81-78 at SEFCU. 

Did they play a token non-Division-I opponent?  Nope. Instead, Albany played the current No. 2 team in that nation, Syracuse, in its third game of the year. That is an effort to be rewarded. Nice work, Albany.

Do you have some statistic from KenPom presented without any context whatsoever? 75.0 free throw percentage 

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