Here’s the thing that I love about college basketball: you may only end the season with one win, but that one win is going to matter.
On February 21st, Binghamton hosted America East co-leader Vermont. The Bearcats were 0-26 on the season and at the point in the year where respectable losses were seemingly the only “wins” they were going to get. You may not like moral victories, but when you aren’t winning games, they are all you got.
But Binghamton beat Vermont on that night. They won 57-53, knocking the Catamounts from their first-place perch and throwing a wrench into the America East standings. Why? Because UVM would have had the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. Because the Cats swept Boston U. this season — the third place team that Stony Brook split with — they had the right to the tiebreaker. and what that tiebreaker would have meant is that, should Vermont have made the tournament final, they would be hosting it.
And instead of playing 12-4 Boston University in the semis, they would play the winner of the New Hampshire and Albany.
With the loss, Stony Brook earned the top seed and, should the top two teams in the conference make the title game, will host it. UVM lost at Stony Brook this season. They won by 19 at home. And you say every game doesn’t matter …
Where: Campus sites
When: March 1st-March 10th
Final: March 10th, 11:00 a.m., ESPN2
Favorite: Stony Brook
Stony Brook wins games with its defense. They are as stout as any team in the league on that end of the floor. Stony Brook is also, pound-for-pound, one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Like we’ve said about Pitt so many times over the years, there are times where the Seawolves best offense is a missed shot. Brian Dougher is a 6’1″ guard and leads the way offensively, but its Dallis Joyner and Tommy Brenton who do the most work on the boards.
And if they lose?: Vermont
The Catamounts have one of the most interesting players in college basketball on their roster. Brian Voelkel stands 6’6″. He is UVM’s leading rebounder (8.3 rpg) while also leading the team in assists (5.0 apg). Unique, but not unheard of. But he also leads the team in steals (1.7 spg). The wildest part? Voelkel averages just 4.9 ppg and shoots 34.0% from the floor. Its like he’s trying to punt the ball into the basket when he shoots, but he’s such a vital piece to the puzzle for the Cats.
Sleepers: BU is an interesting team to keep an eye on. They are one of the two teams to actually beat Stony Brook this season and have a star in guard Darryl Partin. He may not be the most dangerous player in the league, however. That awards belongs to Gerardo Suero, who plays for Albany and averages 21.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg.
– Gerardo Suero, Albany: He’s the conference’s leading scorer and capable of going for 30 on a given tonight.
– Darryl Partin, Boston U: If anyone in this league is going to pull a Gerry McNamara and hit shot after shot is a run through the league tournament, it is Partin.
– Chase Plummer, UMBC: Plummer is the only player in the league that is in the top five in rebounding and scoring.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.