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A look at the men's America East Tournament

Tournament favorite

No. 1 Stony Brook (21-8, 13-3) won 10 straight games to clinch the America East title before losing the meaningless regular-season finale at New Hampshire. The Seawolves have exceptional balance on offense, led by Muhammad El-Amin (16.8 points), Bryan Dougher (13.6) and Chris Martin (10.5). Tommy Brenton is the leading rebounder in the conference (9.6) and Dallis Joyner (8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds) is a force on the inside. In conference play, the Seawolves were first in scoring margin (5.7), first in rebound margin (3.3), first in three-point shooting percentage (35.4), second in steals (7.2) and second in turnover margin (1.59)

Contender

Second-seeded Vermont (22-9, 12-4) is a perennial America East power and advanced to the second round of the NIT last year. Marqus Blakely (17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 54.1 FG pct.) is a two-time Conference Player of the Year, and he has support from Maurice Joseph (14.3 points) and Evan Fjeld (10.6 points, 55.1 FG pct.). The Catamounts won eight of their last nine games, losing only at Stony Brook, and recorded an early-season win over Rutgers of the Big East.

Contender

Fourth-seeded Boston University (17-12, 11-5) finished the regular season by winning six of its last seven games, ending with a 20-point blowout of third-seeded Maine. The Terriers' only loss in that span was by one point to Vermont. BU features five double-figures scorers: John Holland (19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds), Corey Lowe (14.0), Jake O'Brien (13.1), Carlos Strong (10.1) and Tyler Morris (10.0). The Terriers defeated Indiana of the Big Ten and the Colonial Athletic Association's Northeastern and Delaware.

Dark horse

No. 3 Maine (19-10, 11-5) - which owns wins over Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Ivy League power Princeton - got off to a 6-1 start in league play but faded down the stretch, winning only five of its last nine games. But the Black Bears were one of three teams to defeat Stony Brook. They are a balanced team led by Gerald McLemore (14.9 points) and Sean McNally (10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds).

1 Defending tournament champion Binghamton (13-18, 8-8) withdraws.

After the release of the SUNY board of trustees' investigation - which cost nearly $1 million - into the Bearcats' basketball program, Binghamton withdrew from the conference tournament. The announcement by school president Lois DeFluer said the move was voluntary, but an America East source said a group of league schools threatened to kick Binghamton out of the conference if it didn't withdraw. Earlier this season, athletic director Joel Thirer resigned, coach Kevin Broadus was put on paid administrative leave, assistants Mark Hsu and Julius Allen were reassigned and six players were thrown off the team. Obviously, the conference was worried that a Binghamton tournament victory would embarrass the conference.

2 Stony Brook

makes history.

The Seawolves struggled after moving to Division I in 1999, but this is their second straight winning season under coach Steve Pikiell and the first conference championship. They have clinched an NIT bid even if they don't win the NCAA berth that goes to the tournament champion.

3 America East denies use of SBU's Pritchard Gymnasium for conference title game March 13.

If Stony Brook reaches the tournament final, it has the right to host the title game, which will be televised by ESPN. But Pritchard's 1,500-seat capacity is only half the minimum requirement, so Stony Brook is working to refurbish 4,000-seat Stony Brook Arena - which has been dormant for two years awaiting renovations - to host either the tournament final or a possible NIT game.

Saturday-Sunday at Hartford University's Chase Arena

Saturday

Game 1: Stony Brook vs. Albany, 12 p.m.

Game 2: Boston University vs. Hartford University, 2:15 p.m.

Game 3: Vermont vs. UMBC,

6 p.m.

Game 4: Maine vs. New Hampshire, 8:15 p.m.

Sunday

Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m.; Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 13

Championship game at home of highest-seeded finalist, 12 p.m.

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