@Hartford 80, Binghamton 79 | Binghamton @ Albany, 2 p.m.

Lots to catch up on today.

Binghamton dropped a "heartbreaker," 80-79, Wednesday night at Hartford. The Bearcats were led by Dwayne Jackson's 24 points off of the bench, but Mike Gordon was unable to sink a half-court prayer at the buzzer that probably would've given Dan Leibowitz nightmares for the remainder of his career.

(And by the way, if you think these buzzer-beaters never go down, do yourself a favor: click this link and watch the last 9 seconds of the Hartford @ Boston women's game from last Saturday. Keep in mind that Hartford's women are like the 2002, 2003, 2004 Vermont men's teams that were basically unbeatable ... it's moments like that that make basketball a great sport.)

Anyway, the prediction was a close game at Hartford and it came true. Wednesday night was a back-and-forth contest that featured a little too much 'back' and not quite enough 'forth' for the Bearcats; it's not the end of the world, of course, but stupid losses like this one are what end up really stinging when the conference tournament rolls around in March, and you're jockeying for a better seed.

The Bearcats' 0-8 mark on the road is, I have to admit, a bit tough to stomach, especially considering it will most likely become 0-9 at about 3:55 p.m. today. It's nice to remember that the conference tournament will be held at the Events Center, and, much like our men's soccer team, if we can just "protect this house" throughout the conference season, the home-court advantage will be especially strong. However, good teams learn how to win on the road, and the Bearcats did not deserve to win on Wednesday night. It took a heroic comeback to get within striking distance in the final moments, and that shouldn't happen against a poor team like Hartford.

Perhaps my goals are too lofty for a man in his first season as a head coach, but I like to think we're talented enough to go to Hartford - hardly a very difficult road trip - and put up a convincing win. Regardless, I still think that the Bearcats will improve (there's that buzzword again) throughout conference play and earn one of the top four seeds in the AE tournament.

That said, today's going to be a tough day. The Bearcats always struggle at Albany, and I don't see that changing today. A loss today makes Wednesday's loss seem much tougher; 2-2 sounds much, much nicer than 1-3, and while I'm not completely counting out the 'Cats today -- especially with a poor turnout anticipated during Albany's winter break -- I don't think that this game's going to turn out well. In fact, I'm predicting it could get ugly ... fast.

The pick? Great Danes by 17, in what will amount to an early-season "wake-up call" for an 0-9-on-the-road Kevin Broadus.

(I'm also thinking about checking out today's women's conference opener at the Events Center, as Boston comes to town to face Laine Kurpniece and co. I'm not expecting good things in that one, either. Although I want to go, and I certainly could, the prospect of watching today's men's game on live video appears to be just too tempting ...)

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