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America East Tournament 2013: Can Stony Brook get over the hump?

Stony Brook is once again considered the favorites to win the America East. Will they finally make it to the Big Dance?

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The America East 2013 tournament kicks off on Saturday, March 9. The Stony Brook Seawolves stormed to the regular season title with a 23-6 record and are considered the favorites to take the automatic bid. However, they were also considered the favorites the past two years, and lost both times. They are still looking for their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. Will it happen this year?

Oh, there's also some other teams playing, I think.

Who, What, When

The America East tournament takes place from March 9-16, at the University of Albany. The championship game will be played at the highest seed's campus. All early rounds will be streamed online at ESPN3, with the title game being aired on ESPN2.

Format

Eight out of the nine conference teams will be participating in the tourney (Boston University is ineligible for postseason play). This year it will play out like a standard 8-team tournament, with no byes awarded.

Saturday: No. 2 Vermont Catamounts vs. No. 7 New Hampshire Wildcats (Game 1), No. 3 Hartford Hawks vs. No. 6 UMBC Retrievers (Game 2), No. 1 Stony Brook Seawolves vs. No. 8 Binghamton Bearcats (Game 3), No. 4 Albany Great Danes vs. No. 5 Maine Black Bears (Game 4)

Sunday: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Saturday, March 16: Championship Game

The Favorite

By all rights, this should be Stony Brook's tournament to lose. They're one of the best rebounding teams in the nation and rank 56th overall in KenPom. Pomeroy also gives them a 62 percent chance of winning the tournament and going dancing for the first time in school history.

Other Contenders

Vermont defeated the No. 1 Seawolves last year in the title game, and they're looking to do it again. They're second in the conference in KenPom (135th) and have been a thorn in Stony Brook's side for several years now. The two teams split their series this season, with both home teams winning.

Believe it or not, there are other teams playing this weekend. Albany is the only other eligible team ranked in the KenPom top 150, and is second in 3-point shooting. Hartford did beat Stony Brook at home and stole a road win over Vermont, so they certainly shouldn't be counted out.

Best Possible Title Game

Stony Brook vs. Vermont: This is quietly turning into one of the best low-major rivalries in the nation, and meeting in the championship game for the second year in a row would solidify that. This is the game everybody wants to see.

Who Might/Will Get in Anyway

Nobody outside of the automatic bid has a realistic shot at dancing. Neither Stony Brook nor Vermont have a resume worth considering. It's the ultimate "win or go home" tournament.

Players To Watch

Jameel Warney, Stony Brook -- The most efficient scorer in the conference with a 62.4 FG percentage, Warney is also a physical presence at 6'8, 255 pounds. He's a double-double threat on any given night.

Jordan Reed, Binghamton -- One of the few bright spots on a 3-26 team, the freshman is a one-man scoring machine and quite literally the only weapon on this team. Be sure to check him out before the Bearcats get crushed in the first round.

Luke Apfeld, Vermont -- The Catamounts aren't known for a high-octane offense, but Apfeld is one of their top producers thanks to his three-point skills.

Justin Edwards, Maine -- Edwards averaged 16.7 points per game, tying Jordan Reed for the conference lead. Just don't count on him for free throws--he's a ghastly 68.4 percent from the line.

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