Will Brown Albany

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Albany

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: America East

Coach: Will Brown

Record: 24-10 (9-7 America East)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 152
– RPI: 142
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen did not have Albany in his brand new bracket projection Sunday. They will likely fall where many small-conference fall, which would be either a 15 or 16 seed.

Names you need to know: Mike Black (15.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Sam Rowley (9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Peter Hooley (7.8 ppg, 3.0 apg)

Stats you need to know: The Great Danes surrender just 60.9 points per game, ranking 36th in the country. They rely on that defense because they don’t score many points.

Tendencies: It’s all about pace for Albany. The Great Danes want to slow teams down and grind it out. It’s not always the prettiest brand of basketball, but it won them 24 games this season. With fewer possessions, Albany will need to limit its turnovers if it wants a chance in the NCAA tournament.

Big wins, bad losses: Albany beat Washington, Wagner, and Stony Brook. It lost to Quinnipiac and Maine.

How’d they get here?: Albany won the America East title Saturday by beating Vermont, 53-49.

Outlook: It’s always difficult for a 15- or 16-seed to win in the NCAA tournament, especially when the team relies so heavily on controlling the pace. Against bigger, more athletic teams, they’ll likely have trouble.

How do I know you?: The Great Danes went on the road to Washington early in the season and upset the Huskies on a last-second layup by Mike Black. Albany last won the America East tournament in 2007 and has made two NCAA tournament appearances under coach Will Brown.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.