@Binghamton 80, Maine 55

Looks like I overrated Maine in my preview this afternoon.

Maine sucks. They were turning the ball over left and right, especially in the first half, which got very ugly very quickly. Sure, they were missing a bunch of guys, but nothing they did today impressed me in the slightest.

Seriously, it's hard to come up with a single positive from the Black Bears' perspective -- if you saw this game, you'd be hard-pressed to disagree with me. They simply couldn't control the ball at all, which led to countless fast breaks. The Bearcats' crisp passing, especially on the interior, made Maine look like a mystified JV squad.

Can Dwayne Jackson get some love? This may be slight homerism, but I think the kid has emerged as a prospective All-AE third-teamer -- off the bench. 26 points for DJ today.

Troy Barnies accidentally crashed into one of our cheerleaders -- which was scary for a moment, to make sure that she was ok, but once we realized everyone was alright, we razzed him pretty good about it. It's too bad Maine will probably win the play-in game and play UMBC, and of course we'll have to root against the Retrievers in that 1-8 game to sustain any hope of playing a potential final at the Events Center -- I'd really love to get on Barnies about it again. (My favorite chant today: "Say you're sor-ry," clap, clap, clap clap clap)

And I have to say, after today's surprising events around the league, that's actually looking slightly more realistic. Vermont lost to Stony Brook (huh?), while Boston U. pushed UMBC to the limit in Maryland.

Bing sits in fourth now, with a pair of SUNY matchups left on the docket. A loss to SBU would obviously be devastating, but I can't see that happening. (Unless, of course, Laz is "f*ing soft" again this year -- doubt it.) Assuming a W there, that makes the Albany game -- on Senior Day -- even bigger. Here's why.

Let's give UMBC the 1-seed. Hartford sits alone in second and is likely to stay there. But the difference between 2 and 3 is moot for the Bearcats, as both semifinal games will be held at the EC. The difference between 3 and 4 is gigantic; although you'd be okay with playing UMBC in the semis in Vestal, you'd be pretty much guaranteed a final on the road against either Albany (ehhhh ...) or Hartford (yikes).

I'm certainly not counting out Vermont. They've shown in the recent past they can win games from the bottom half of the draw. But losing to SBU this late in the season is genuinely painful. I'd really hate to have to play UVM in the playoffs; they seem to have our number. So here's the ideal situation in my mind:

UNH checks in as the six seed and we play them in the early Saturday night game (7 p.m.); UMBC squashes Maine, Hartford beats Vermont (in a hell of a game) and fourth-seeded Albany beats no. 5 Boston U. (Let's face it -- Boston cannot win a tournament game against anyone not named Al Walker.) I legit think Albany could beat UMBC on our "neutral" court (although won't it be sickening to root for UA? Ugh!). That would set up a 2/3 Hartford/Binghamton semi to host the championship, and as I've reiterated several times -- I think with a third chance against Hartford, we beat them. Of all the games that I've seen this season, I'm convinced Hartford is not better than Binghamton. (For fairness sake, and to prove to you I'm not a complete homer, I'm convinced that no matter where they play, Vermont beats Binghamton 85 out of 100 times.)

That whole situation rides on Binghamton beating Albany on Senior Day. With a loss in that one, there's zero shot at a potential final in Vestal -- although it might actually increase the Bearcats' chances of making it to the final, because they'd (theoretically) play the Retrievers at the Events Center, where I think we'd have a better shot to beat them.

More musings tomorrow, perhaps.

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Edit: Can someone please tell the radio/TV guy that Laz's last name has a 'u' in it?

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