As expected, Vermont sits atop the America East three games in with a perfect record. What few saw coming, however, was what the rest of the conference looks like. UMBC seems to have rebuilt its program and is also 3-0, while perennial power Albany is still looking for its first win.
There’s a long way to go in conference play, of course, but here are a few things we learned from a full Wednesday night slate of games.
UMBC is the Real Deal
Ask anyone who’s been a fan of the America East — especially anyone who has followed the conference closely in the past few years — what they thought of UMBC coming into this season. Their answer would most definitely not be “topping the standings and shooting threes.”
The UMBC Retrievers clobbered Hartford in their 84-68 win, making them now 12-4. They hit 17 of their 33 shots from beyond the arc with Will Daley making seven of his 12. I had a lot of concern about their standing being inflated from their lack of weak schedule compared to some of their conference opponents, but they’re proving that it could take a decade to rebuild a program back to tip-top shape.
Albany Starts Conference Play at 0-3
To make this twilight-zone feeling even weirder, the Albany Great Danes — a team not long removed from three-straight conference championships and a memorable battle with Florida in the NCAA Tournament — has managed to start off the season losing their first three games. That’s something the Albany players are definitely not used to.
Despite having a dynamic duo of players in Joe Cremo and David Nichols, their efforts haven’t been enough to carry the team to where they want to be. All three of their losses, however, have been by eight points or fewer.
Jalen Ross Can’t Carry Hartford
Speaking of carrying the team on your back, Jalen Ross, the current top scorer in the America East with an average of 21.4 points, hasn’t been able to spark the fire that the Hartford Hawks need to get anywhere. Their first game was ugly enough: a 31-point defeat to conference favorite Vermont. Then, with a chance at home to bounce back against UMBC, the Hawks were again blown out. Looking at the America East schedule, it’s hard to find too many wins for Hartford, especially if Ross doesn’t get some help.
New Hampshire 75 Albany 67
Vermont 67 Binghamton 50
Maine 73 UMass Lowell 71
UMBC 84 Hartford 68