Tag: Stony Brook


America East announces new format for conference tournament

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One of the bigger upsets during conference tournament play last season was Albany’s win over regular season champion Stony Brook in the semifinals of the America East tournament. That contest drew added attention due to the fact that the Great Danes, who went on to represent the league in the NCAA tournament, hosted the first two rounds of the tournament. Even though the setup was known going into the season, the fact that a lower-seeded team could host a tournament game against a higher-seeded team didn’t sit well with many.

On Thursday the conference announced a change in its tournament format for the 2015 and 2016 editions, going to a model in which the higher-seeded team will host each game of the America East tournament. The tournament will also be re-seeded after the quarterfinal round, meaning that the highest remaining seed would host the lowest remaining seed in one semifinal game and the other two semifinalists playing in the other.

The last time the conference used this particular format was back in 1995.

“This is great for our league,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said in the release. “We have great home court venues and enthusiastic fan bases across the conference. To be rewarded for a great regular season and have an opportunity to play in front our fans and bring a piece of March Madness to multiple campuses is really exciting.”

While most would prefer a neutral site for conference tournaments, the fact of the matter is that not all leagues can do thanks to issues such as fan attendance. Playing a tournament on campus, in theory, addresses that issue but other problems can arise like the one Stony Brook faced last season. The new format does add weight to the regular season, rewarding the teams that perform well throughout the season with home-court advantage.

“Moving to this high-seed format and re-seeding the bracket enables us to protect our best teams, the teams that have shown their mettle over the course of a 16-game schedule,” Vermont director of athletics Robert Corran noted in the release. “This will put the conference in a better position to send its best representative forward to the NCAA tournament and obtain its best possible seed. We felt that was very important for the health of men’s basketball in our conference both in the short and long term.”

Last season Albany, seeded fourth, became the first team since the 1993 Delaware (now in the CAA) squad to win the league’s automatic bid despite not being one of the top two seeds in the event. Was this enough to change the way in which the conference determines its NCAA tournament representative? Apparently so.

America East content with nine teams in its league

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When the dust settled, for the time being, with teams jumping around from one conference to another during conference realignment, the America East lost Boston University to the Patriot League, but picked up Massachusetts Lowell, formerly a Division II school from the Northeast 10. One would think that the America East would have sought to add an additional team to have an even ten teams in the league, but that did not come to fruition. And, according to commissioner Amy Huchthausen, that’s okay.

Huchthausen told Ryan Restivo of Big Apple Buckets:

I feel like we’re in a good spot right now with our presidents, this branding campaign was their initiative and I’m really proud to see where it’s ended up as a result of that as we look ahead to the future, would it be better just from scheduling purposes to have an even number? of course it would, but the America East has been at nine for several years now and we’ve managed to make it pretty well with an odd number. You don’t want to add someone just to add someone.

The America East has been locked at nine teams since the 2005-06 season, and have been able to make it work. Prior to that year, Northeastern was in the league before heading off to the Colonial Athletic Association.

What is dangerous is if other schools from the America East begin to look for greener pastures. Earlier in August, Shades of 48, a blog about William & Mary athletics, released an investigative article with email dialogues from Tom Yeager, the commissioner of the CAA, to people associated with the other schools in the conference. The topic? Among several things, poaching Albany and Stony Brook from the America East.

Both of these schools became associate members of the CAA over the summer as they are set to embark on their first year in the league for football. Stony Brook, in particular, is a school that has made a serious commitment to athletics and is on the rise. One would think that the CAA presents them more opportunities to elevate their program than the America East, but they maintain they are content in the nine team league.

“There’s always concern that someone will leave, in this fluid environment that we’ve had for the last few years, there’s very few commissioners in the country who aren’t thinking about that, but at the same time that’s where you really have to focus on the relationships that you have with existing schools,” Huchthausen said. “Make sure that they’re open and transparent, you’re working with them so they are being honest and upfront with you, but at the end of the day a school’s going to decide what they want to decide so no commissioner can control that.”

2013 America East Conference Tournament Preview

Tommy Brenton
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Stony Brook has separated itself from the rest of the pack in the America East, but can they power through the conference tournament and grab the automatic bid? Check out the preview below:

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

Where: Quarterfinals and Semifinals at SEFCU Arena, University at Albany | Championship game at higher seed

When: March 8-10, 16

Final: March 16, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Favorite: Stony Brook
Led by freshman Jameel Warney and do-it-all forward Tommy Brenton, the Seawolves are looking to finally break through and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. Stony Brook has won the last three regular season titles, but has lost in the America East tournament and missed out on the NCAAs.

And if they lose? Vermont

Boston University would have been another team to keep an eye on, but the Terriers are barred from the tournament because they will be moving to the Patriot League for the start of the 2013-14 season. For that reason, Vermont and its defense effort are likely to win if Stony Brook falls.

Sleeper: Albany

Playing at home in the quartfinal and semifinal rounds could prove to be helpful for the Great Danes. They will be leaning heavily in the senior backcourt combo of Mike Black and Jacob Iati, who combine to average over 27 points per game.


– Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook: Brenton fills up the box score for the Seawolves with 8.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He is one of the versatile players at the mid-major level.

– Mark Nwakamma, Hartford: The native Texan is the conference’s leading scorer during conference play and the player at the center of Hartford’s offensive attack. He is averaging 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game

– Justin Edwards, Maine: The sophomore is averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He is a volume shooter, but can score in bunches when he gets hot.

CBT Prediction: Warney and Brenton will be too much and the Seawolves will march through the tournament to earn an NCAA berth.

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