Friday, February 11, 2011

Bears need wins

The Black Bears now must turn their sights to protecting the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament. There is no overstating the importance of finishing as high as possible in the league standings.

Here's a rundown of what's left for the contenders at the top of the America East standings:

Vermont (11-2)
Thanks in large part to UMaine's free fall, all the Catamounts must do is go 2-1 in their final three games to secure first place and the top seed for the tournament.
Remaining schedule:
at Maine
Boston University
Prediction: 3-0 for a 14-2 AE mark. Regular season champions.

Maine (8-4)
The Black Bears' defensive swoon couldn't have come at a worse time as they have moved from the driver's seat to shotgun in record time. UMaine must turn it around or face the prospect of becoming a backseat driver. BU and Hartford are ready to pounce on the wounded and limping Bears. The only way for the Black Bears to win the title and the top seed is to win their final four games and hope Vermont stumbles against either Binghamton or Boston U. Going 3-1 in the final four would most likely secure the No. 2 seed. An even 2-2 gets a little dicier and 1-3 pratfall makes No. 4 a possibility.
Remaining schedule:
at Stony Brook
at UNH
Prediction: 1-3 for a 9-7 AE mark; No. 4 seed.

Boston University (8-4)
The Terriers moved into a tie for second place with UMaine, but the Black Bears hold the tiebreaker right now by virture of their win over first-place Vermont. BU, however, ends the season with a game at Vermont that could decide UMaine's tourney seed. If the Terriers sweep their final four games, book them as the No. 2 seed; 3-1 might still get the job done for BU as it tries to overtake the Black Bears for second place.
Remaining schedule:
at Binghamton
at Vermont
Prediction: 3-1 for an 11-5 AE mark; No. 2 seed.

Hartford (5-6)
The Hawks have a chance to get to the No. 3 seed for the tournament, which they will host at Chase Family Arena in West Hartford. If UMaine stumbles to a 2-2 or 1-3 finish, that brings a possible tie for third with the Hawks into play. And UHart holds the tiebreaker as it swept the season series from UMaine.
Remaining schedule:
at Boston U.
Stony Brook
Prediction: 4-1 for a 9-7 AE mark; No. 3 seed.

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