UMBC vs. Maine/SBU 12 p.m.; Hartford vs. UNH, 6 p.m.; Albany vs. Boston, 8:30 p.m.

Upsets aren't unheard of in the America East tournament. In fact, No. 1 seeds aren't completely untouchable, as Stony Brook, of all teams, actually pulled off a shocking first-round upset of Boston University in 2004.

That will not happen Saturday. UMBC is really, really good. Stony Brook and Maine are very, very bad. Of course, nothing is impossible, but UMBC has five very, very solid players. It would take a disaster for the Retrievers to stage such a monumental collapse, especially if it's somehow the Seawolves they'll take on. Not to mention the fact that the 8/9 team will be playing its second game in about 16 hours; the "transfer trio" is not the group of guys they'll want to see.

A PIG win for either Maine might be enough to keep Ted Woodward around. Maybe the Black Bears will realize that.

And boy, is Stony Brook terrible.

I'll be in the stands heckling Troy Barnies. But Maine will win the game.

Maine 71, Stony Brook 64 ... UMBC 87, Maine 67.

- - - - -

My feelings about Hartford are well-documented. I wish we were playing them because even though they've shown a surprising amount of resilience to stay near the top of the standings all season long, I still believe they show some weaknesses -- specifically, from what I've seen, some interesting shot selection. I don't think their style of play suits the tough-nosed nature of the postseason, and UNH is not the type of team they appear to match up well with. The home team won each game this season by at least 15 points, but this is not Connecticut, it's Vestal. Despite their win here this season, the Hawks are not historically a great team at the EC, and they don't have their unquestioned leader from last season, Bo Taylor.

I also have a thing against picking all chalk on Saturday. Hartford loses, and I don't get to see a smiling Christine, the adorable Hartford cheerleader I blogged about last year.

(Middle -- ain't she adorable?)

UNH 68, Hartford 64.

- - - - -

UA vs. Boston should be, in my estimation, the best game of the day. The teams just squared off last week, and although Boston faded down the stretch, a lot of people are raving about Boston as a popular upset pick.

I disagree. UA is the defending champs and they won't go down easy. As much as I hate Brian Lillis, he's been great this year, and good players win big games.

Boston has had its own set of troubles in the postseason. Basically, they're bad. Dennis Wolff is a bad postseason coach. They made a run to the finals in 2003, only to lose by a point to Taylor Coppenrath and co. in Boston. Since then, they were:

--Upset as the 1 seed by SBU in 2004
--Upset as the 3 seed by Maine (!) in 2005
--Upset as the 3 seed by Vermont in 2006
--Handed a victory by the departing coach Walker in 2007, followed by a spanking, in Boston, by Albany.

Wolffie's a fixture in Boston, and he ain't going anywhere. But with another first-round departure on Saturday, there will be some calling for his head in Beantown.

You suck, Will Brown. But ...

Albany 78, Boston 71.

- - - - -

I'm sort of bummed about not being able to write anything for either Pipe Dream or the Press & Sun this weekend. I'll have a guest column on the Web for PD, and of course I've got Bearcat Country, but in 11 years, through junior high school, The Dispatch in high school, PD in college and now the Press & Sun-Bulletin, I've never had as much fun as I had sitting at the 2005 tournament in Vestal. That could all be wiped out with a pair of Bing victories this weekend, (and I will say this: I think if we somehow -- somehow -- make it through this weekend, we'll win next weekend) ... but with that being incredibly unlikely, I'm pretty disappointed.

(I do have to give a quick thanks to Eric Coker, Adrienne Wise and Chris Feaver for allowing me to take off from work this weekend, and Eric, as well as Al Vieira, for permitting me to write the column that will appear on Pipe Dream's Web site.)

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