If you've ever played the game Rock Band, you'll understand why even though this is the most important week of the year for the Bearcats, I haven't been able to put down the guitar since Sunday night, when I discovered that my apartment-mate had bought a copy of the greatest Xbox 360 game ever made. (Yes, I'm blaming my posting impotence on a video game.)

I also have to blame my lack of motivation on how upset I am at the draw. No joke, we're royally screwed this weekend, and if somehow we made it through, we're still screwed. (I guess I'd also put at least a little bit of blame on work-related stress and Sean Tainsch, the AE communications guy, who is no doubt ignoring my ill-fated credential request for this weekend ... considering I started this blog several months ago with the intention of getting a credential and blogging through the tournament and now it's not going to happen ... but anyway ...)

Vermont is built for the playoffs, if only on the backs of their two stars. Mike Trimboli's late-game struggles this season worry some UVM fans, but like Andy Pettitte, or Robert Horry, or Peter Forsberg, or (insert your favorite post-season specialist here), he's been a star in the playoffs, especially against the Bearcats. You can make a great case for Blakely as player of the year, and there's really noone on Binghamton who can match up with this developing big man.

Vermont knows how to win in the playoffs, and it's obvious that Binghamton does not. Be it skill or karma, or a mixture of both, the Bearcats' quarterfinal loss to Boston -- a team that sucks in the postseason -- was, well ... I mean, it was enough to get Al axed. (Say what you will, but in retrospect, if they get through BU, I think they win the Albany game and probably save Al's job.)

I said all along we'd be alright in the playoffs as long as we avoided UVM. And now, we're playing UVM. In the afternoon session, which I project is likely to attract less students. And when Bing loses, the night session will resemble a women's game, crowd-wise. Don't even think about 2,500 folks for Sunday without the Bearcats around. Basically, from a Vestal, N.Y. standpoint, the whole tournament is screwed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the staff will do a great job hosting. John Hartrick, Dave O'Brian and company do a terrific job coordinating interviews and everything, and I'm sure on their third try, the tournament will be the best yet. (But please give me a media pass!)

But. Friday will be a bomb, as usual. The first session on Saturday will likely sell out, although the crowd would be bigger if Albany -- which I expect to bring the biggest contingent of traveling fans, aside from UVM -- were in that session as well. But Saturday night, when the Bearcats are long gone, when Moritz is trying to hammer out a positive spin for Sunday's cover, the crowd will be dead. Sunday will be dead.

And the Bearcats will have, once again, failed to get out of the first round; an obvious disappointment, even for a first-year coach just getting his feet wet in the Southern Tier.

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In other news, and I'll write more about this soon (no, I actually will this time), I fully expect UMBC to get through and host next weekend. I also expect Albany to take care of Boston, and I'm going to take UNH to upset Hartford as my only upset pick. Of course, Maine will beat Stony Brook, but that's not an upset because SBU doesn't really count as a team, in my eyes. So in short, here's the picks:

Maine d. SBU
UMBC d. Maine
UVM d. Bing
UNH d. Hartford (Christine will not be happy to read that)
Albany d. Boston
Albany d. UNH
UMBC d. Albany

I'll come up with scores next time.

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Might have some news about my prospective PSB blog later in the week; also, I'm probably going to write a guest column for PD's Friday issue, assuming Eric (my supervisor) OK's it. (He might actually be reading this blog before he checks his e-mail; in that case -- hey Eric, is it ok if I write a guest column for Friday's Pipe Dream? Thanks, Skippy.)

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If any AE fans coming from out of town want to come hang out and do something on Friday night after the PIG, leave a comment or something. There's not a ton of stuff to do in Vestal, but I live around the corner from the bar scene and took two nights off from work ... leave a comment and I'll get you my number or something.


Joseph Curtin said...

Hi Chris- I'm a Bing. grad - 05 and 06, and am a big fan of the bearcats and have been keeping up with the blog all season. Nice job.
I plan to go to the PIG and, of course, the afternoon games on Sat. Let me know if you need an additional guy in the Zoo.
-Joe C

Chris Strub said...

hey dude, thanks for the comment -- we can always use an additional guy in the zoo! vermont's going to be real tough, and we need every guy we can find. (i even facebooked andre heard last night with a request lol)

thanks for the support!

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