America East Women's Basketball Predictions

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America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby MaineBBFan99 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:33 am

With the non-conference schedule completed and most teams with one conference game under their belts, I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on how the women's regular season is going to shape up. With UNH's lackluster performance during its non-conference schedule and its near loss against UMBC, and with Hartford's blowout win against perennial powerhouse Albany, it appears that the conference is wide open. Realistically, I think five teams have the ability to rattle off three straight victories in March and earn the conference's lone bid to the NCAA tournament. Through Wednesday's games, I would rank the teams as follows (ranking in the preseason poll is shown in parentheses):

1. Albany (2) - Lost at Hartford by 15 on Wednesday. However, I need to see a bit more from the four teams below to convince me that the six-time defending America East champion (ugh) should be removed from the top spot.

2. Hartford (4) - Defeated Albany by 15 on Wednesday. Ranking them this high after one conference regular season game, some may accuse me of falling victim to the recency effect. However, led by Abed, Harrison, Lee, and DaCosta, Hartford's convincing win against Albany proved it can hang with the cream of the America East crop. Let's not forget that, after blowing out #3 seed UMBC, Hartford was a missed three point shot away from shocking Albany and advancing to the America East championship last year. This is a team on the rise and one that could very well make some noise during the regular season and come tournament time.

3. Maine (6) - Defeated Stony Brook by 8 on Wednesday. Not Maine's finest performance with an uncharacteristic 21 turnovers. One of the big X factors for this team is whether or not Taneesha Sutton can avoid foul trouble. Maine needs her offensive presence in the post, outstanding rebounding ability, and tenacious defense for 35-40 minutes per game...otherwise, it will struggle against the top teams in this conference. Possibly some Maine bias here, but the preseason ranking of #6 seems laughable at this point. Strong non-conference play against Ohio State, Toledo, Boston College, and Dartmouth persuaded me to move Maine up a few spots relative to its preseason ranking.

4. UNH (1) - Defeated UMBC by five on Wednesday. This may be perceived as a low ranking as a result of anti-UNH bias from a self-proclaimed Maine fan. Yes, they were an impressive 15-1 in the conference regular season, and yes, they only lost one starter in Anderson. However, I really think last year's squad overachieved. Of its 18 conference games last season (16 regular season + 2 postseason), 10 games were single-digit victories; 2 were losses; and 2 were wins against UMass Lowell...not exactly a resume of dominance against a weak conference. This year, UNH's losses against Dartmouth and BC did not exactly convince me that it deserved the preseason #1 spot. All that having been said, it does return the reigning conference MVP in Pogue and three other starters who currently average double digits.

5. Binghamton (3) - Bye on Wednesday. The margin between the top five teams in the conference is razor thin, and Binghamton's positioning would change if it knocks off Maine tomorrow (I mean today, ugh I need to go to bed!). With Moon, Sina, and conference player of the year front-runner Imani Watkins in the front court and defensive stalwart Alyssa James in the post, this squad has a legit shot at the big dance. It hung up 80 on Dartmouth in its 16-point victory over the Big Green.

6. Stony Brook (8) - Put forth a strong effort on the road against Maine on Wednesday. Johnson's shooting range and overall quickness were very impressive; she helps Stony Brook to the top spot among the bottom of the America East barrel.

7. Vermont (7) - Beat UMass Lowell by 8 on Wednesday, though wins against Umass Lowell have not exactly been hard to come by for this conference.

8. UMBC (5) - Gave UNH a run for its money Wednesday morning, and for that reason alone, it avoids the bottom spot. Its 1-12 record out of conference makes it hard to justify its #5 preseason ranking.

9. UMass Lowell (9) - Lost to Vermont by 8 on Wednesday. Not sure what else to say about this team, but I do predict they avoid another 0-16 conference regular season campaign.

I know it's early, but I would love to hear from the MBR faithful regarding their thoughts on how the conference regular season will shape up. Please try and keep references to the following to a minimum: living by the three and dying by the three; percentage of three-pointers taken; and the padding of stats through non D-1 opponents. :D
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby mainah57 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:39 pm

Really interesting post, 99. Nice change of pace from some of the same ol' topics.

My ranking (it's tough, because there's definitely a cluster at the top):

1. Albany
2. Hartford
3. UNH
4. Maine
5. Binghamton
6. Stonybrook

Gap..

7. UMBC
8. VT
9. Lowell

Off to watch the Maine game, will add more later!
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby MaineBBFan99 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:46 pm

Stats are one thing. Actually viewing a team in person is something else.

The teams that have the most talent usually win games.

Maine's talent level doesn't match up with the teams mentioned


Maine19fan, regarding talent level, are you referring to the women's team?
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby Maine19Fan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:16 am

MaineBBFan99: Regarding talent level, and I think my comment about this was in a different thread. But, yes, It matters at every level.

There are games when, for whatever reason, a better team has an off night whether from fatigue, injury, overlooking an opponent, an opposing player has a career night or the better team's best player/players have off shooting nights, etc.
Witness the Maine men's victory at Binghamton. Bingo has more overall talent up and down its roster, but for one game ...

One game, though, is not a true measurement. Talent almost always lifts teams to the top of league standings over the course of a full season.

There are no Einstein's coaching college basketball. Some might be a little better than others, but everyone basically knows the same about the sport as everyone else. I know that's a general statement. Yes, some coaches are indeed better than others. But, not so much so to win league championships, etc., with inferior talent.

How did John Wooden win all those titles at UCLA? Lew Alcindor/Bill Walton/Sidney Wicks and supporting casts of future NBA standouts certainly didn't hurt.
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby Maine19Fan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:44 am

99: Nice to see someone cares about women's basketball in this forum, and has a pretty good handle on it.

It's also nice to get into a discussion without having to put up with the ridiculous and tiresome unsubstantiated theories about living by the three and dying by the three; percentage of three-pointers taken; and the padding of stats through non D-1 opponents!

I definitely agree with many of your sharp observations. Top five teams all pretty close.

I've been fortunate enough to have seen all five of the top teams in person at least once, some more than once.

I'll contend that New Hampshire will win the league. Balanced scoring, very talented individuals. Its best players are seniors. Magarity is a terrific coach, might be the best, or one of the top two, in the league.

Albany, which has just dominated the league over the past six seasons, is a little down in terms of talent compared to recent years but still pretty good.

Binghamton has Imani Watkins, who is far and away the best player in the league and has a solid supporting cast. Cimino is a terrific young coach who has really turned around what was a struggling program a few years ago.

Hartford is a little on the small size, but it has some nice pieces including Lindsey Abed, who is the best pure point guard in the league. She makes all the right plays in key situations. Just a pleasure to watch her play.

Maine certainly is in the mix, although its relative youth is a little bit of a concern. When your top four scorers are one junior and three sophomores, that usually means a team is a year away. I know that Sutton is a fourth-year junior, but I believe the three are true sophomores. Only one senior on the roster, and she doesn't play much. Only 3 juniors. The other nine are sophs (four) and freshmen (five). Likely to be a very good season for Maine, with better to come a year from now.

It's very rare that a "finished" product player comes to the low-major level and is an instant success. Mostly, players at this level need to improve/develop over a couple of yearsand their contributions increase incrementally.

Maine certainly has a very bright future, and is most definitely in the mix right now as one of the top five teams.
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby TAL1957 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:01 pm

Great Post to Start. And NOW is when we UMaine Homers get excited.

UAlbany loss to Hartford is very weird !

UAlbany still remains as the team ya gotta beat, but are they finally vulnerable to other AE teams ???
Thinking so this year. but ... ???

UMaine WBB ? Still trying to figure out if they are as good as hoped for, or just good enuf to play-up in some games, and then not-so-much in others. ????? AE has opened up, MBB and WBB, totally wtf. ???

I still expect/predict UAlbany to win the AE Reg. Season and be in the Championship Game, probably against Hartford, but I'm always gonna think them UMaine Black Bears just might be there !!
Last edited by TAL1957 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby Blind Zebra » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:27 pm

I have seen the UM Women play several games. They can be very good when Sutton is on her game. She can exploit mismatches in the post and can be an X factor. There are games she gets into foul trouble and disappears. When Sutton, Brosseau and Milan are all in sync, Maine is very difficult to guard. The fatal flaws as I see them are: suspect depth and inconsistent point guard play.
Maine doesn't have a lot of size, but they have enough for AE play.
Waddling has potential for more production. Johnson is experienced and can help on the boards. Maeve Carroll is starting to show some flashes. Rossignol has been the only dependable back court sub. Saar has struggled to guard her position and hasn't provided much offensively. Would like to see Vachon play with more pace at times. Very deliberate style of play.
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby TAL1957 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:30 pm

Blind Zebra wrote:I have seen the UM Women play several games. They can be very good when Sutton is on her game. She can exploit mismatches in the post and can be an X factor. There are games she gets into foul trouble and disappears. When Sutton, Brosseau and Milan are all in sync, Maine is very difficult to guard. The fatal flaws as I see them are: suspect depth and inconsistent point guard play.
Maine doesn't have a lot of size, but they have enough for AE play.
Waddling has potential for more production. Johnson is experienced and can help on the boards. Maeve Carroll is starting to show some flashes. Rossignol has been the only dependable back court sub. Saar has struggled to guard her position and hasn't provided much offensively. Would like to see Vachon play with more pace at times. Very deliberate style of play.
And your "America East Women's Basketball Prediction" is ... ?????
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby Blind Zebra » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:45 pm

1. UNH
2. Hartford
3. Albany
4. Maine
5. Binghamton
6. Stony Brook
7. Vermont
8. UMBC
9. UMass Lowell
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Re: America East Women's Basketball Predictions

Postby Maine19Fan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:13 pm

Good stuff all around, particularly without discussion of the ridiculous and tiresome unsubstantiated theories about living and dying by the three, percentage of three-pointers taken, and padding of stats through non-D1 opponents!!!

AE women's league does look like a toss up among any of the top 5 teams.
I don't think Albany is any kind of shoe-in for yet another NCAA berth.
But, I don't think Maine is ready this season to get to the NCAA's either, although playing the tournament's first two rounds in Portland doesn't hurt.
I still think NH.
But, any team with the best PG (Hartford) or the best player (Bingo) is dangerous, too.
Hartford's victory over Albany is the indication that on a given night. Abed really controlled that game.
Hartford has four very good AE-level players, and two other decent players. But, not much else. So, depth will be an issue.
And, then, a couple of nights later Albany thumps NH.
Yes, on any given night.
Albany has more depth than NH, and used it well to wear down NH.

bcbc55 wouldn't like Albany. It goes legitimately nine players deep and, often, uses 11 in games.
Depth has been an Albany constant for the past six trips to the NCAA's.
Maybe some day they'll get it right and only use 8 players.
After all, they've only gone to the NCAA's for the past six seasons!!!
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