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The America East: Where Under-.500 is Hipster Chic

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/Cracks open a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
//Adjusts tortoise shell glasses.

The America East Conference was into making a league title race a Biblical firestorm of punishment way before your conference was into it. Hell, they actually recorded the radio broadcasts of their membership's "Why, God?!? Why must you wield your vengeance in such an angry and absolute way?!? What did we do to deserve this?!?" lacrosse games on vinyl. You other leagues just don't understand, man. It's a movement and you missed all the raw and gritty stuff that the America East was doing to make this stuff the vogue. Nothing will match it, man.

///Gets slapped in the face for being a knucklehead.
////Victory for America.

The America East is some kind of sticky crazy this season. As things sit currently, no team is over .500 in the overall in the entire conference, with UMBC -- whose victory over Maryland this year still makes my head melon explode due to an utter failure to compute -- living the fattest among the league's six members with a staggering winning percentage of 44.44. Yeesh!

This kind of universal derision toward wasting precious electrolytes associated with victorious Gatorade baths does, however, create an exciting set of circumstances: Every team that shows up with at least 10 players -- all, hopefully, dressed in the same uniform -- has a chance to win and make the America East Tournament. Now, it may not be pretty and your eyes may bleed (which isn't normal and if it happens, you should see a doctor or something), but this kind of artificial competitiveness due to a lack of national competitiveness is pure demolition derby-masquerading-as-collegiate-lacrosse fun. I like that.

Here's what the America East looks right as of this very second (and this second, and this second, and this second . . . ):








UMBC 28.58 (35) 29.42 (34) -0.84 (35) 2-0 Stony Brook (H); Albany (H); Binghamton (A)
Stony Brook 32.67 (13) 27.38 (21) 5.29 (15) 2-0 UMBC (A); Hartford (H); Albany (A)
Albany 28.14 (37) 32.26 (47) -4.12 (45) 2-0 Vermont (H); UMBC (A); Stony Brook (H)
Binghamton 27.74 (41) 33.03 (49) -5.29 (49) 0-2 Hartford (A); Vermont (A); UMBC (H)
Hartford 37.26 (4) 33.79 (52) 3.47 (22) 0-2 Binghamton (H); Stony Brook (A); Vermont (H)
Vermont 24.03 (56) 31.40 (42) -7.37 (51) 0-2 Albany (A); Binghamton (H); Hartford (A)

Some thoughts follow after the jump.

Unlike previous pieces, I'm not going to run through championship permutations. There's just too much going on in the America East war theater right now to have any idea who is going to survive this thing. Rather, I'm just going to float a few items and you can run with them or drop them as you please.

  • If Albany wins the America East crown -- regular season or tournament -- it will be the biggest moment in the history of history. (Probably.) The Great Danes were neck-and-neck with Wagner for Reverse Survivor honors this season, and while Albany never felt like it was going to go through a winless campaign, an 0-7 start to the season made you wonder whether the Great Danes had spit a piston and were going to try and coast home on seven cylinders. It would be the story of the year in college lacrosse if Albany could somehow pull this off -- What, you think that Hopkins-Virginia-Loyola-Massachusetts potentially winning a national title is bigger news, you bourgeois capitalist? -- and I'll throw a huge blog party as a result. (A huge blog party involves me typing words with a party favor in my mouth. So, it's more a party for me than for you.)
  • You want the biggest the reason for the America East's collective struggles this season? Look no further than those adjusted defensive values. Woof! The Maginot Line this conference isn't. In fact, it's the 'merica East Line, which is just kind of a bunch of signs that say "Keep off the grass!" And then those punk kids run on it anyway to get their Frisbees or whatever else bratty kids can't seem to keep in their own damn yards.
  • The reality of this entire deal is that UMBC and Stony Brook appear best suited to actually win this league in 2012. Hartford, I think, is a bit of a dark horse to get things together and make a run at a hand-carved trophy of subtle masculinity, but I trust the Hawks right now about as much as I trust North Korea to make rockets that are more than an M-80 housed in a Solo cup. Depending on their draw in the NCAA Tournament, it probably isn't all that likely that either UMBC or Stony Brook plays past the first weekend, but that's the beauty of the NCAA Tournament: The entirety of the country is represented. It's almost like how you have to invite your drunk uncle to all the family reunions knowing that he's probably going to vomit into the pasta salad. You do it because it's the right thing to do, son.