Conference Tournament Win Sending Albany Basketball Back To NCAA Tournament

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Albany Great Danes finished fourth in the America East Conference and were just one game over .500 on the regular season, but their season lives on.

After upsetting top seeded Vermont Catamounts, Albany knocked off second seed Stony Brook Seawolves in the conference tournament final to return for the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

Sophomore guard Peter Hooley has been key to Albany’s late run. Hooley picked up his play during the conference tournament, averaging just under 24 points per game over the three game stretch. He scored 30 points in the tournament opener against UMBC, and then added 26 in Albany’s upset of Vermont. He struggled a bit against Stony Brook, going 4-15 from the floor, but Sam Rowley and DJ Evans came to the rescue for Albany, scoring 18 and 16 points respectively in the 69-60 win.

This is the second straight year that Albany has won the conference tournament as the four seed. Albany has gone 9-7 in conference play in each of the past two seasons before picking up their play and winning the tournament. The Great Danes were a 15 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament, losing the the Duke Blue Devils in their opening game.

Albany will likely find themselves playing in one of the play in games for the tournament due to their 18-14 record this season. The Great Danes have a BPI of 205 and a RPI of 199 this season. Just two of their wins have come over teams in the Top 150 of the RPI, but did play a close game with the Pittsburgh Panthers earlier this season.

Albany is playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. If Hooley can continue to keep scoring in bunches, Albany could cause some trouble for a top team.

Spencer Impellizzeri is a MLB writer for Rant Sports. He also covers college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @Spence_I.

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