Tag: Vermont


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.

Illinois State will spend Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco

Illinois State v Louisville
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Originally scheduled to play in a tournament that included a pair of games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico over Thanksgiving weekend, the Illinois State basketball program needed to adjust their plans due to the tournament organizer’s inability to fill out the event. On Wednesday the school announced that they’d found a new event to play in that weekend, as the Redbirds will be one of four teams playing in the USF Battle in the Bay.

The games, which will be hosted by the University of San Francisco, will be played on November 27, 29 and 30. The event will be of the round-robin variety, with the host Dons, Illinois State and Vermont currently committed to play. The fourth team will be announced at a later date.

“After a long and frustrating process, I am thrilled about our games in San Francisco,” Illinois State head coach Muller said in the release. “The opportunity to play three quality teams in four days will be very valuable for my team.

“Trips and experiences like these can help bring teams together, and we certainly hope the Battle in the Bay can do that for us.”

Illinois State finished the 2012-13 season with an 18-15 record, going 8-10 in Missouri Valley Conference play in Muller’s debut campaign at the helm. The Redbirds lost their top four scorers from last season, including guard Tyler Brown (18.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and power forward Jackie Carmichael (17.4, 9.3).

Of the three teams committed to the event Vermont looks to be the one most capable of going on to win their conference title (America East) in 2013-14. Six of John Becker’s top seven scorers from last season return, including forwards Clancy Rugg (11.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Luke Apfeld (10.7, 4.4). And while he isn’t much of a scorer, forward Brian Voelkel led UVM in both rebounding (8.6 rpg) and assists (4.9 apg) in 2012-13.

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_