Location: Albany, NY
Conference: America East
Mascot: Great Danes
Coach: Will Brown
Record: 24-8 (15-1)
Kenpom ranking: 131
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): @ Yale (74) Vermont x2 (115) Stony Brook x2 (128)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): @ Niagara (292) Holy Cross (243) @ St. Francis PA (221)
Tournament appearances: 5 (current streak: 3)
Best result: No tournament wins
NBA alumni: None
Best name: Dallas Ennema
Famous alumni: Harvey Milk
The Great Danes booked their ticket to the tourney on a game-winner -- trailing late against Stony Brook, Albany missed a game-tying attempt, but the rebound was tipped out to Peter Hooley, who drilled a cold-blooded three. It's the third straight year the Danes are going to the dance, but the first two came as a 4-seed in the conference tourney -- this time they blew away the America East with a 15-1 regular season mark.
Style of play: Row and Ready Rins the Race
Kinda like the big, clumsy, goofy dogs they're named after Albany plays pretty slowly -- 319th in tempo -- which could be helpful as they search for an upset, as the fewer possessions there are in a game, the less of a disadvantage they'll be at against a much better team. The Great Danes are solid rebounding, grabbing 74.5 percent of opposing misses, 12th-best in the nation.
Key player: The Aussie Shepherd
Sam Rowley is indicative of a strange pipeline from the land down under to upstate New York -- he's one of five Aussies on the Danes' roster, including his brother Mike. At 6'6, Sam is the shorter of the two, but the senior plays bigger than almost anybody in the conference -- he leads the Danes with 14 points and 7.7 boards per game, shooting 53 percent from inside the arc.
A win for mom
Peter Hooley found out his mother had colon cancer shortly before his freshman season at Albany, and nearly opted not to leave his native Australia. But she told him to go -- this year, she sent him off to school with a tracing of her hand, in case he needed one to hold. Sue Hooley passed away in January, and her son took time away from the team to return to Australia. But he returned -- and was there to drill the shot that got the Danes to the NCAA Tournament.