- Stony Brook was a different team in conference play. On the suface, Stony Brook was lucky last year. The 13-3 conference record does not seem to fit their KenPom ranking of just 188. However, Stony Brook's offense took off in conference play. 1.09 PPP during conference games led the America East and the defense proved to at least be competent. Although probably not the best team in the league, Stony Brook's 13-3 record was a combination of some luck and some improvement.
- Maine was finally relevant. From 2009 to 2006 Maine's best KenPom ranking was 278. In 2010, Maine sported a ranking of 211. One game is not a sample size to take to the bank, but the Bears did win at BC by a point. Maine was a legitimate threat in the conference. This could become a trend from a Maine team with many parts back again.
- Marqus Blakely did everything. UVM will be faced with the nearly impossible task of replacing Blakely. The NCAA Slam Dunk Champion did just about everything but shoot the 3 ball. Rebounding, scoring, passing, blocking, stealing, you name it. Blakely was the epitome of a "Five Tool" basketball player.
- Maine could play defense. The only team with an adjusted offensive or defensive efficiency in the top 100 was Maine. Opponents struggled shooting the ball against Maine on all spots on the court. Being able to force misses without fouling was the recipe for success for Maine.
- UMBC could not play defense. The only team with an adjusted offensive or defensive efficiency above 320 was UMBC (341). Rebounding was the biggest problem for the Retrievers. Unfortunately for UMBC they were unable to compensate for their rebounding problems by forcing turnovers, forcing bad shots, or not fouling. Only one senior was on the squad, but dramatic improvements will have to be made by the exisiting players to turn it around.
- Boston University played fast. BU averaged about 3.5 more possessions per game than the second highest team in the conference. UVM was able to slow them down in the America East Championship Game. That game was BU's slowest of the year at just 61 possessions. BU's defense was what failed them in that game. UVM shot the ball with great efficiency on the way to an NCAA Tourney berth.
- Nearly the whole student body got playing time for Albany. Tim Ambrose was the only Great Dane player who played over 60% of available minutes. Overall, Albany had 12 players play more than 20% of available minutes. The team was second in the country in bench minutes. Coach Will Brown had some awfully inefficient players playing a few too many minutes, but ultimately the added experience could play dividends in the future.
- New Hampshire couldn't shoot. Shooting is essential to basketball. New Hampshire was the perfect example for this fact. Defensively the Wildcats were above average in conference. On offense, the Wildcats could rebound, draw fouls, and take care of the ball enough to compete. However, shooting was the achilles heel for New Hampshire. They proved to be tough to beat when they hit their shots though. They posted impressive wins against Vermont and Stony Brook of 19 and 22 respectively.
- Binghamton had turnover problems. The young Binghamton team probably had a better season than expected rebounding from internal program issues. Yet the Bearcats did not fair well in the turnover department on either side of the basketball. Simply put, it is hard to win basketball games while giving away possessions AND not forcing turnovers on the defensive end.
- Hartford liked to break rules. Remember when I said, "Simply put, it is hard to win basketball games while giving away possessions AND not forcing turnovers on the defensive end." Well, that was supposed to work both ways. Hartford was a team who didn't turn it over and turned you over well last year. They still managed to be in the bottom tier of the America East. Turnovers are crucial, but Hartford proved they aren't everything.
Tomorrow we will look towards the future in the America East.