Friday night isn't traditionally a strong night in Hoops Nation, but it doesn't get much better than the American East heavyweight battle on ESPNU tonight. Both Vermont and Stony Brook sit at a perfect 5-0 in the conference standings and are heads and shoulders ahead of the rest of the league in the early running.
Stony Brook as won the AEast regular season title with a 14-2 league record each of the last two years, but has not been able to cash in for a NCAA Tournament berth. The Seawolves are well on their way to another big season. Forward Jameel Warney is one of the best in the nation dropping over 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds a game. The Seawolves have four other players who average double figures in scoring, giving them real balance offensively and it shows as they hold the most efficient offense in the AEast. The defense is also tops in the league and thanks in large part to Warney the Wolves are one of the top rebounding squads in the country.
Vermont plays a slower brand of basketball, but are neck and neck with the Seawolves in nearly every tempo controlled category. While the Seawolves sport four big scorers, the Catamounts have just two over double figures in forward Clancy Rugg and guard Sandro Carissimo and plenty of different players chipping in to help out every night. Both teams are on a nice streak, but Vermont hasn't felt the sting of a loss in over a month. After stumbling out to a 2-6 start the Catamounts are winners of seven straight and nine of 11.
The home squad has won the last five regular season meetings in this very even series, but it was Vermont who had the ultimate road upset, taking down the Seawolves in the AEast title game in 2012. Which team will get the early leg up in the standings? And is it too early to already start looking forward to round two (2/27 at Vermont) and round 3 (??) in this series. Check out the U tonight for answers for these questions and more!
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