A few weeks ago, the trees in New England were dancing in the breeze, ablaze in beautiful hues of red, orange, yellow and gold and the America East was coming off a fantastic 4-1 night. The sky seemed to be the limit.
Fast forward to today. The trees are barren and gray; their brown leaves lie strewn and soaked upon the ground. The league is in a much lower place, with only one team, Stony Brook, holding a winning record and only one other, Albany, sitting at .500 against Division I opponents.
The league’s cumulative Division I record sits at 13-36 — it’s probably safe to say that this will not be a banner year for the America East. Only New Hampshire, which went on the road and knocked off Duquesne of the Atlantic-10, has won a game that could be considered a true upset.
There’s also the rapidly unraveling scandal at Stony Brook involving deposed athletic director Jim Fiore, and strong accusations of inappropriate behavior, misappropriation of funds and power and a university dragging its feet while possibly covering it up.
We’re not going to touch that one with a 10-foot clown pole.
But, just like the scents of Thanksgiving – the smells of turkey, stuffing and a smorgasbord of desserts – that warm us against he frigid winter winds, there are reasons to feel good about the America East: Vermont and Albany are showing potential, New Hampshire is looking like a reinvented team, UMBC and Binghamton are suffering through growing pains that should pay big dividends down the road. And UMass Lowell – wow, what heart and hustle those kids have.
While this may be another in a long line “rebuilding years,” much of the league’s struggles can be attributed to poor recruiting classes four years ago. While this year’s class may be lacking the bona fide stars of last season’s stellar group (Jameel Warney, Maurice Watson, Jordan Reed, et. all), it does appear to have a great deal of depth.
Without further ado, here is the first of the 2013-2014 edition of our OBW Power Rankings, followed by our weekly awards for the week of Nov. 19-25:
1. Stony Brook Seawolves (4-2)
Season results: W 71-55 vs Marist; W 73-66 vs Northeastern; L 90-74 at Indiana; L 103-99 vs Toledo (neutral site); W 67-61 vs Florida Atlantic (neutral site); W 104-102 (3OT) at Detroit. Continue reading “OBW America East Power Rankings, v1”