The 2012-13 America East men's basketball season officially gets underway on Friday as six of the league's teams will be in action for non-conference games.
Albany, the league's lone home team Friday, kicks things off at 6:30 p.m. against Duquesne. Boston U., UMBC and Vermont all play at 7 p.m. at Northeastern, Penn and Siena, respectively, while Binghamton visits Loyola at 7:30 p.m. and Stony Brook heads to Marist for a 9 p.m. contest.
The Great Danes, who return eight letterwinners and three starters from a team that had their most wins (19) since the 2006-07 season, are opening a season at home for the first time since 2006. Albany, which was 10-4 at sEFCU Arena last year, is 0-1 all-time against Duquesne, losing the lone meeting in 1998, one year prior to transitioning to Division I.
opens its season against its crosstown rival for the third straight
year, the 138th all-time meeting between the two schools. The Terriers,
who are led by America East preseason All-Conference standout D.J.
Irving, lead the all-time series 71-66, but the Huskies have won the
last two, including a thrilling 82-74 overtime contest last year.
Retrievers are in search of their first-ever win over Penn in the fourth
all-time meeting between the two teams. Aki Thomas assumes the reigns
of UMBC as the acting head coach and inherits a squad that brings back
more letterwinners (11) and scoring output (82.8 percent) from last year
than any other America East squad.
The Catamounts begin defense of their America East title at the Times Union Center vs. the Saints, whom they have beaten each of the last two years. Vermont, which will try to become America East's first repeat champion since 2007, are the league's preseason favorite for the first time since 2004. The Cats have six letterwinners and three starters back from last year's squad that became the ninth UVM team in 11 years to win 20 games.
The Bearcats begin their first season under head coach Tommy Dempsey, who came to the Bearcats after seven seasons as the head coach at Rider. The Bearcats, who are 5-6 all-time in season openers at the Division I level, have nine letterwinners and three starters back from last year, including the league leader in steals, Jimmy Gray.
The Seawolves begin their quest for an America East crown at Marist after capturing their second America East title in three years last year. Stony Brook, which returns nine letterwinners from a team that reached the league's championship game and made an NIT appearance for the second time in three year last season, is looking for its first win in a season opener since 2009.