AMERICA EAST NOTES AND RAMBLINGS
-Either Vermont or Albany has won the conference championship every year since 2003, and the two have met for the league championship the last two years. Boston U was the last team other than Vermont or Albany to win the league title.
-Vermont, Albany and Boston U are the only teams currently in the conference who have made the NCAA Tournament. Vermont advanced to the second round in 2005, and that was the first time anyone from the league had won an NCAA Tournament game since Boston U did it in 1954. AMERICA EAST TEAMS
-BOSTON UNIVERSITY had a very young team last year and actually started four freshmen. They really pulled it together, though, and finished third in the league after getting off to a rough start. Three starters are back, including sophomore guard Tyler Morris, who is a terrific shooter and passer. The team is young again this year, but they are also experienced and are good enough to contend for the league title. As young as they are and as good as they are, it appears as though the immediate future is bright.
-VERMONT only returns two starters, but they still appear to have a very solid team and can once again contend for the league title. Theyve fallen to Albany in the championship game the last two seasons and missed the NCAA Tournament, but theyve made it a goal to get there this season. Guard Mike Trimboli is one of the most complete players in the league. He is an excellent defender, passer and shooter who averaged just under 16ppg a season ago.
-ALBANY will have seven new players on the team this year, which is a big change from the team that won back to back conference championships. Three starters are back, but they are without Jamar Wilson
, who was player of the year in the conference last season. Forward Brent Wilson is a great outside shooter and is the leading scorer among all the players who are returning. Hell need to step it up this year if Albany is to repeat.
-STONY BROOK has finished in last place for the past two years, but they appear to be much improved this season. Four starters are back, including guard Ricky Lucas, who averaged over 15ppg last year, and was a great defender as well. They also shoot the ball well from the outside and will play an up-tempo style of play this year. It isnt likely theyll contend for the league title, but they could finish in the middle of the standings, or higher, which would be a huge improvement.
-UMBC has had one struggling season after another, but it looks like the program is finally moving in the right direction. Three transfer players become eligible this year, and all should be able to contribute. They were just 12-19 a season ago, but this year could be their best year since they joined the America East. Brian Hodges is a big time player who averaged over 14ppg last season. Its hard to imagine that theyll compete for the league title, but they should surprise some people and do better than we are used to seeing them do.
-BINGHAMTON has a new head coach in former Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus. They will likely run the Princeton offense this season, which is somewhat of a change for them. Three starters are back, and the team should be improved from last season. One area where they struggle is on defense, and that is definitely an area that needs to improve.
-HARTFORD was a good defensive team last year, but really struggled on the offensive end and were a terrible shooting team. Three starters are back, including Joe Zenglinski, who was the second leading scorer and a good defender last season. They also have five newcomers that could see significant minutes right away. The biggest thing that needs to improve is their shooting. Its hard to win games if you cant hit your shots.
-Just one starter is back for MAINE, who lost their top three scorers. It doesnt look like the Black Bears have a lot of experience and it could end up being a very long year for them. They were 12-18 last season, and they could end up with even fewer wins this year.
-NEW HAMPSHIRE has three starters coming back, but lost their two best players. They won just ten games last season and were a really poor shooting team. Lots of newcomers join the team this year and its hard to say how good theyll turn out to be. I dont see them competing for the league title, but they may be able to win more games than they did a season ago and continue to improve.