Albany Great Danes: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

albany Great Danes

The capital city of New York is home to a team that is now in the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The Albany Great Danes come with a relatively weak record, with only two teams in the field of 68 have fewer wins: The Cal Poly Mustangs, who made the field with a 13-19 record after winning their conference, and Mount St. Mary’s at 16-16, who happen to be Albany’s opening round opponent. The NCAA tournament rewards teams who can come in hot by winning their conference, so Albany is in by virtue of defeating Stony Brook in the America East Conference (AEC) finals.

Aside from having the best name of any team in play, the Great Danes bring a good defense and one very solid scorer in Peter Hooley. They don’t do much else, though. The team has more turnovers than assists, they are a mediocre shooting team from anywhere other than the free throw line, and they have very little scoring off of the bench. Their best hope for victory is shutting down their opponent and hoping Hooley carries them on offense, as they did throughout the conference tournament.

In their last nine games, Albany has vastly outshot their competition from the free throw line, taking 197 attempts to their opponents 122. This has allowed them to pace the game and let their starters stay in for big minutes. If Albany gets run around and has to rely on additional minutes from their bench they will be in massive trouble. A key to their success is slow play—they were ranked 287  in the nation in total field goal attempts—and that must continue for them to get their first NCAA Tournament win in school history.

Albany Great Danes (16 Seed play-in South Bracket)

Record: 18-14 (9-7 in America East Conference)

Coach: Will Brown

Tournament Berth:  Conference Champion

Big Wins: at Stony Brook, Vermont, Yale

Big Loses: at Pittsburgh, Bucknell

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

Peter Hooley

15.7

.403

.860

.401

Sam Rowley

11.5

.521

.697

N/A

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

Sam Rowley

6.7

2.3

4.4

0.6

Gary Johnson

4.9

1.2

3.7

0.4

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

DJ Evans

2.8

1.4

1.8

1.6

Peter Hooley

2.6

0.8

2.1

1.2

Starting Five

C – John Puk

F – Sam Rowley

F – Gary Johnson

G – DJ Evans

G – Peter Hooley

Who’s Hot:  Sophomore Peter Hooley, Albany’s leading scorer, is the biggest reason the team is playing in the post-season. He carried the team to the big dance, scoring 23.7 points per game in the conference tournament, 8 points per game better than his season average. The team as a whole got warm at the right time, shooting a better percentage in the tournament games than they had all season. The defense also held opponents under 40 percent shooting in each game of the AEC playoffs.

Who’s Not: The Great Danes bench only scored a collective 4 points in the clinching game. If they are going to play with such a lack of depth their defense had better be spot on and slow the game.

Outlook: Albany has a great shot to win their opener, but that is all. The two teams are playing to be the sacrificial lamb to the No. 1 overall seed Florida Gators once the second round begins.

Commentary by Brian Moore
@Hey_Brian

Sources:
Sports Reference
ESPN
Basketball State

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