The new format of the America East tournament ironically doesn’t end up changing much this season.
Albany is already the No. 1 seed, so the Great Danes will get to play at home until they lose. Considering the championship game was already played at the home arena of best remaining seed, the new format is almost completely a wash.
Except for one little thing… Vermont’s chances are way better thanks to the fact that the Catamounts get to play at least their first two games on their home court. John Becker’s team has a 71% chance of reaching the finals, just below Albany’s 74% chance. Of course if they both make it then Will Brown’s team will host, and thus the Greant Danes have a 12 percentage point advantage in titles won.
It pays in general to be a home team. Stony Brook and New Hampshire both made it to the finals about a quarter of the time, mostly because they have the opportunity to play the quarterfinals at home.
Considering the stratification of the league in KenPom — the four top seeds are ranked between 107th and 178th and the four bottom seeds are ranked between 298th and 345th — and the home court advantage, there’s very little chance of a true Cinderella. The quartet of Hartford, Binghamton, UMBC and Maine made the championship games a combined 312 times in the 10,000 simulations I ran of the America East tournament and won the title a measly 24 times.
Take the favorites in America East and enjoy your new home court advantage Vermont.