UAlbany Earns #14 seed in NCAA Tourney
UAlbany's stunning comeback over rival Stony Brook in the America East Championship on Saturday was one for the ages. Peter Hooley's clutch 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left sent the Great Danes to their third consecutive NCAA tournament.
On "Selection Sunday," the Great Danes were granted with the #14 seed in the East portion of the bracket, their second best seeding under head coach Will Brown. The Great Danes will play in Columbus, Ohio on Friday against BIG12 powerhouse Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a slew of scoring weapons that the Great Danes will try to stop, including guard Buddy Hield who averages just over 17 points per game.
The Great Danes will have to capitalize on the Sooners biggest weakness; that being their depth. The Sooners routinely play 8 players, but most of their production comes from their starting five. The bench is a considerable drop off of production that the Great Danes will most certainly try to exploit by perhaps trying to make it an up tempo game and tire out the mighty Sooners.
It's vital that UAlbany stay within striking distance as well. Until late in the season the Sooners were dreadful in tight games, losing their first six games by seven points or fewer. The Sooners also shoot an abysmal 72.7% from the free-throw line, which as we have seen in almost every tournament game that's close, games can be won and lost at the stripe.
Last year, UAlbany was a #16 seed beating Mount St. Mary's in the first round before losing to the top seeded Florida Gators. The year prior, UAlbany received a #15 seed, eventually losing to Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils in the round of 64.
UAlbany certainly has a chance to pull an upset here in the first round, perhaps their best chance since the Jamar Wilson led team in 2006 who narrowly missed pulling off the upset of #1 seed Connecticut. Will Brown will certainly have this team ready to play.