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Rider was probably the most disappointing of the 3 losses that really gnaw at me- mostly because we were up by 12 at halftime and put in a truly poor performance to give that game away.

UNCG is a quality team and that was super frustrating because I thought we played great D and looked like we were going to pull away but just didn’t execute down the stretch. Lamb also was hit on his final 3 attempt and while it wasn’t the last shot we wanted, a foul is a foul and that should have been called.

Yale game was a total abortion from start to finish. Just didn’t come to play, went down 12-0 to start..Stef was non-existent. Yale is a quality team and this was on road this year and we sometimes have one of those no-shows a year, so can somewhat live with it.

Sure, Cincy was tough for a long stretch but team showed a lot of grit/heart/toughness and finished strong and that goes a long way in my book. To lose by 9 at Cincy w/out Giddens and Shungu is a pretty solid outcome.

Virginia game was amazing. If we had Benny Shungu to stop Kihei Clark from taking over at the end, maybe the outcome is different.
 

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These conversations can get circular and repetitive quickly but FWIW I’m still not sure why this team was quite so hyped in the media and elsewhere. Other than people know who Lamb is and know the team has been consistently good over time. But those people don't watch this league enough to understand that the roster outside of Lamb is just a good solid mid-major roster in a not very good league. We’ve had a few rosters with better players on average than this one and never been higher than a 13, so it kind of is what it is.
Factors for me thinking team could be better than last year are the following:

* I anticipated Shungu taking a big step up into starting PG role. I think Benny is capable of averaging 9ppg-12ppg for this team. He’s clearly battling an injury but even playing through it he’s still averaging 7ppg and 6 rebounds and our best perimeter defender.

*Powell. I thought Powell, despite some flaws, was still the most ready/productive freshman from last year. He had 11/7 against Brown in exhibition then 6pts/9boards/6 assists against St. Mike’s. Like, that’s great stuff, but now he’s red shirting.

*I expected Giddens to be improved over Dingba, and this has been the case thus far. Averaging about 5pts and 5 boards a game and I expect that to continue to rise as we head into AE play. The all-conference talk was pretty irrational, but Giddens presence defensively has been huge.

*Stef to make a step up. Save for like two games, Stef has been superb this year. Easily best offensive player after Lamb, and really turning into a killer. He single-handily destroyed Dartmouth.

So, net of it all I really wasn’t expecting Shungu to miss 10 games and Powell to miss every game. But here we are, my Hope is Shungu gets healthy because we are a much better team with him. Robin keeps playing well, Davis keeps getting better-his 3pt shot much better, etc...all things considered, we’re fine.
 

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These conversations can get circular and repetitive quickly but FWIW I’m still not sure why this team was quite so hyped in the media and elsewhere.
I think it was pretty obvious why UVM was so hyped in the media- Lamb first and foremost but it was the two BCS transfer additions from Alabama and Oklahoma State that was the headline news all off-season. Never mind Stef Smith was returning and he’s a better basketball player than both, or Shungu was returning and is more important than both, but nobody in the media really knows this team/conference. Just assumed Giddens and Demuth would come in and average double figures probably from BCS power conference schools. The reality is, Giddens averaging 5/5 and Bailey Patella a more productive player than Demuth is right now.
 

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I just want to bring up UMBC playing 4 sub-D1s in its regular season and hammer that for a second. I’ve noticed a few other schools are routinely scheduling two of these games each year now and there’s just been general creep where these games are concerned. I hope the conference puts an eye on this and discourages so many of these games, or tries to put in some reasonable max limit that doesn’t exceed...2 per regular season.

I know the conference used to have an RPI scheduling mandate in its bylaws which it did away with b/c there were too many difficulties because one scheduling is already hard to begin with, also the volatility between existing RPI and prior year RPI was too much as well. Plus, RPI isn’t used now so would need to be something else.
 

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I just want to bring up UMBC playing 4 sub-D1s in its regular season and hammer that for a second. I’ve noticed a few other schools are routinely scheduling two of these games each year now and there’s just been general creep where these games are concerned. I hope the conference puts an eye on this and discourages so many of these games, or tries to put in some reasonable max limit that doesn’t exceed...2 per regular season.

I know the conference used to have an RPI scheduling mandate in its bylaws which it did away with b/c there were too many difficulties because one scheduling is already hard to begin with, also the volatility between existing RPI and prior year RPI was too much as well. Plus, RPI isn’t used now so would need to be something else.
In UMBC's defense on one of the games, I believe a D1 team bailed on them late and they couldn't find a replacement. But, the Retrievers are the most egregeious offenders of scheduling non-D1 teams since Odom got there and that's not because "people don't want to play us" it's because they don't want to give up home games. No sympathy from a UVM fan...just get used to going on the road, fellas.

The RPI thing was hard to enforce, and it ruined a lot of other leagues that had it, like the MAAC. All of a sudden when you can't put Maine or CCSU on the schedule even your best teams are coming into league play with 4-8 records and then when the league doesn't have a dominant team, you get a 4th place team with an 11-7 record in league winning the conference tournament and to Dayton and the play-in game they go. Whether it's RPI or NET, you're not going to see a league like the AE do something like that because they can point to the MAAC and frankly, the coaches and ADs are cool with getting the easy wins on the schedule now. Yes, there should be a cap on how many you can do, but I have a feeling that nobody in the room wants to try and put rules on one another because everyone could just as easily be in the situation where they want that to prove either they need a contract extension or to the fan base they've made "progress"

Feels like it's time to re-think the idea behind the BracketBuster. It lost its appeal, but the purpose of getting the return game helped I think. Timing of it during the year was dumb however, and the dog-eat-dog nature of it rightfully mid-major coaches spoke out against that because the common goal is getting more of them in the NCAAs. Maybe a format change like Champions League/Euroleague? More conferences putting egos aside and banding together to do scheduling agreements and mini tournaments that pits their champions all the way down to respective last place teams against one another year over year? There should be a mid-major Champions League and this is how it would work
 

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I'm not going to defend our multiple non-D1 games (for the record, it was Manhattan that bailed on us late so they could schedule Albany, a game the Jaspers won late), but when it comes to ours, or any, level, RPI isn't something you can predict early. What conferences should do is put a cap on non-D1 games, because having that many at the low major can really confuse fans and students who really wonder if this is a D1 school.

One suggestion I have is similar to catpower's suggestion of the Bracketbuster, but have conference-wide scheduling agreements similar to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge that ESPN has. For example, the America East has nine teams; so does the Atlantic Sun and WAC (the Big West and Summit do as well, but next year the Big West will be at 11, and the Summit will be at 10). The four leagues could work out a scheduling deal similar to the NFL's balanced schedule where if you finish first in your league's regular season, next year, you play the first place team from one of the other league. Example, if all ASun schools visited AE teams this year, then Vermont would've hosted Liberty, Stony Brook would've hosted Lipscomb, etc. Next year, AE would visit ASun schools based off this season's records. Throw the WAC in the mix so AE schools can be on the road and ASun can get home games (Vermont @ New Mexico St, New Mexico St. @ Liberty), and all of a sudden, there are two games we don't have to scramble to find and fill with non-D1 schools.

TBH, this really should be discussed in the OOC thread.
 

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Stony Brook had 5 home noncon games this year and last year. It's not ideal but I'll take the more challenging SOS ten times out of ten (especially since we played all of our hard opponents on the road close this year).

Truth is it actually is that hard to schedule good home games. We hosted an unranked Villanova back in 2006 (the year after Lowry left), but that's the exception I gather. Shawn Heilbron has publicly called out schools like St. John and UConn for being difficult to schedule. Still, four sub-D1 games shouldn't be allowed at this level.
 

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I was a big fan of the Bracket Buster. That return game the next year was a nice benefit. Have to think some iteration of that format could be useful now.
 

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I think it was pretty obvious why UVM was so hyped in the media- Lamb first and foremost but it was the two BCS transfer additions from Alabama and Oklahoma State that was the headline news all off-season. Never mind Stef Smith was returning and he’s a better basketball player than both, or Shungu was returning and is more important than both, but nobody in the media really knows this team/conference. Just assumed Giddens and Demuth would come in and average double figures probably from BCS power conference schools. The reality is, Giddens averaging 5/5 and Bailey Patella a more productive player than Demuth is right now.
With Giddens and Demuth, I think there was a bit of irrational exuberance. That being said, I think Giddens due to his size and mobility will be a productive player in the AE. Kind of what I thought he'd be in that he'll get some cleanup buckets around the rim but his biggest contribution would be on the defense end. I think it's largely played out that way. As far as Demuth, he's going to need a year or two if he's to find himself on this program. He really doesn't have any exceptional skill, doesn't know the system, has no defined role...I think his ceiling is a solid bench contributor in a year or two. Both should be cautionary tale on expecting big things simply by virtue of the program they left.
 

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I just want to bring up UMBC playing 4 sub-D1s in its regular season and hammer that for a second. I’ve noticed a few other schools are routinely scheduling two of these games each year now and there’s just been general creep where these games are concerned. I hope the conference puts an eye on this and discourages so many of these games, or tries to put in some reasonable max limit that doesn’t exceed...2 per regular season.

I know the conference used to have an RPI scheduling mandate in its bylaws which it did away with b/c there were too many difficulties because one scheduling is already hard to begin with, also the volatility between existing RPI and prior year RPI was too much as well. Plus, RPI isn’t used now so would need to be something else.
I just got my head wrapped around Albany playing one...and here we have UMBC with FOUR. Please don't give me Manhattan bailed...fine, what about the other 3? Absolute disgrace...cap this at most to 1.
 

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Well, in a tepid defense of sub-DI games:

They really are a zero for RPI purposes. Not a minus, not a plus. Just not counted. Probably better for UVM for Maine to play Maine Maritime than go on the road and lose to some crappy MEAC team.

Also I stand by my whole theory on how much NET and RPI matter to America East teams: not a lot.

If the best team in the league is dominant in conference play (like 16-0 or 15-1), and plays a competitive non-conference schedule (as UVM did), and wins a fair number of those games (which UVM kinda did?), that team could get a 13 seed. Or a 12 if they win like 90% of the non-conference.

If the best team in the league does only 2 of 3 (dominant in conference, tough OOC schedule, middling OOC performance), that team is a 14.

If the best team in the league has a crap OOC, they'll go to a geographically convenient 15 or 16.

And if the tournament champ isn't the regular season champ? Dayton.
 

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These conversations can get circular and repetitive quickly but FWIW I’m still not sure why this team was quite so hyped in the media and elsewhere. Other than people know who Lamb is and know the team has been consistently good over time. But those people don't watch this league enough to understand that the roster outside of Lamb is just a good solid mid-major roster in a not very good league. We’ve had a few rosters with better players on average than this one and never been higher than a 13, so it kind of is what it is.

I do agree that Rider and Yale were frustrating because of the lack of intensity, especially Rider. But the overall results so far have been within scope.
I know I was a bit over optimistic when we got Giddens and Demuth as they were from good conferences and Giddens had been hyped coming out of high school. I guess the lesson is don't always buy the hype and look deeper. Look at Kpedi. I was excited about him and it didn't pan out. On the other hand Giddens and Demuth should keep improving with experience with this team . The question is how much.
 
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