Thursday, February 3, 2011

Home stretch

America East history is clear on the importance of the regular season standings. The higher you finish, the better the chances of getting through the league tournament.

That makes this year's stretch run like no other in recent Black Bears memory.

Tied for first place with six games left in the regular season, UMaine has a chance to tighten its grip on a top seed (maybe even the No. 1 slot) for the upcoming tournament. And there's no downplaying the significance of achieving that high seed.

Beginning with Sunday's home tilt against Maryland-Baltimore County and the two-game road trip that immediately follows, the Black Bears are in the desired position of playing in big games every time out.

America East injuries

Is there another league in America that has as many top-level players out with injuries? Bumps, bruises and injuries are as much a part of the landscape of athletics as the games themselves, but this year in America East is off the charts.

All-conference M*A*S*H team

A pretty good all-conference team could be put together with the players on the league injured list.

Jake O'Brien, Boston U. -- The 6-8 forward recently was declared out for the season after a foot injury sustained against UMass in late-December. A definite all-conference candidate.
Greer Wright, Binghamton -- A classic big guard at the America East level, Wright was a Player of the Year candidate coming into the season. He's been out for several weeks.
Alvin Abreu, New Hampshire -- Another all-conference certainty at the guard position.
Ferq Myrick, New Hampshire -- One of the top freshman in the league last year. A talented wing player.
Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook -- Brenton is the best rebounder in America East. on last year's Although he's not a big-time scorer, the defending regular-season champ Seawolves aren't the same without him. He's an instigator.
And finally, a guy who is battling through a foot injury and is back on the floor:
Sean McNally of the Black Bears. The senior frontcourter is providing inspiration with his presence and persistence to contribute whatever he can although it's obvious the injury is limiting his stamina and mobility.

So, that's a league champion-type roster right there.

Wright and Abreu in the backcourt.
Brenton, McNally and O'Brien in the frontcourt.
Myrick coming off the bench.

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