Men's basketball Liberty League tournament preview

Hamilton College travels to Hobart College for the 2011 Liberty League men's basketball tournament at Bristol Gym on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26.

Hamilton takes on Hobart in one semifinal at approximately 8 p.m. on Friday. The first semifinal is between Rensselaer and Skidmore College at 6 p.m. The winners meet in Saturday's championship game at 3 p.m., and the tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III championship.

Hobart has posted a tournament web page that includes links to live statistics and video webcasts for each game.

Tournament web page

Hamilton (15-9 overall, 9-5 Liberty) is the No. 4 seed in the tournament. The Continentals boast the league's offensive player of the year in forward Pat Sullivan '12. Hamilton lost to the Statesmen by three points twice this season. The Continentals were 0-2 against Skidmore and split two games with Rensselaer.

No. 1 seed Hobart (19-6, 11-3) has the best shot at an at-large bid to the NCAA championship of the four teams in the league tournament. The Statesmen are ranked fifth in the East Region by the NCAA. Tim Llewellyn '11 was selected the league's defensive player of the year and Richie Bonney '14 was named the league's rookie of the year.

No. 2 Rensselaer (17-7, 11-3) won its last seven games to share the league's regular season title with Hobart. Head coach Mike Griffin and his assistants were named the coaching staff of the year. The Engineers defeated Skidmore by two points at home, and lost by four points at Skidmore.

The No. 3 seed Thoroughbreds (16-9, 10-4) roll into the weekend on a three-game win streak. Guards Gerard O'Shea '12 and Jeff Altimar '11 made the all-league team. Skidmore is the only team in the tournament that has not won a championship. In fact, the Thoroughbreds have never played in a league tournament final.

A capsule look at each of the four teams may be found below.

Overall record
: 19-6
League record (finish): 11-3 (tie for 1st)
NCAA East Region rank: 5th
Head coach: Izzi Metz, 5th season at Hobart, 67-61 record
League tournament appearances: Fifth
League tournament titles: One (2001)
League tournament record: 4-3
Last win vs. Hamilton: 70-67 away (Feb. 8, 2011)
Home Record: 9-2
Points per game: 79.2
Points allowed per game: 67.5
Scoring leaders: Matt Pebole ‘12 (16.1 ppg), Stefan Thompson ’13 (14.3).
Rebounding leaders: Richie Bonney ‘14 (6.6 rpg), Pebole (5.5).
Assist leaders: Thompson (110), Tim Llewellyn ’11 (67).
Three-point shooting leader: Llewellyn (52 of 137).

Overall record: 17-7
League record (finish): 11-3 (tie for 1st)
Head coach: Mike Griffin, 26th season at RPI, 339-318 record (407-449 overall)
League tournament appearances: Seventh
League tournament titles: One (2009)
League tournament record: 7-5
Last win vs. Skidmore: 65-63 at home (Feb. 11, 2011)
Road/Neutral Record: 8-3
Points per game: 77.2
Points allowed per game: 69.7
Scoring leaders: Travis Jones ‘11 (12.5), DJ Blakemore ’11 (9.4).
Rebounding leaders: Daniel Martin ’13 (5.2), Jeremy Moylan ’11 (4.9).
Assist leader: Matthew Pooley ‘12 (61).
Three-point shooting leader: Jones (59-140).

Overall record
: 16-9
League record (finish): 10-4 (third)
Head coach: Joe Burke, 1st season at Skidmore, 16-9 record
League tournament appearances: Fifth
League tournament titles: None
League tournament record: 1-4
Last win vs. Rensselaer: 81-77 at home (Jan. 29, 2011)
Road/Neutral Record: 6-5
Points per game: 74.4
Points allowed per game: 69.2
Scoring leaders: Jeff Altimar ’11 (10.6), Melvis Langyintuo ’12 (10.2), Gerard O’Shea ’12 (10.2).
Rebounding leaders: Langyintuo (6.0), Kyle Clark ’12 (4.2).
Assist leaders: O’Shea (98), Terron Victoria ’12 (62).
Three-point shooting leaders: Altimar (53-140), Brian Lowry ’12 (52-121).

Overall record
: 15-9
League record (finish): 9-5 (fourth)
Head coach: Tobin Anderson, 7th season at Hamilton, 117-62 record (184-128 overall)
League tournament appearances: 11th
League tournament titles: Four (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006)
League tournament record: 12-6
Last win vs. Hobart: 68-66 home (Jan. 9, 2010)
Road/Neutral Record: 7-5
Points per game: 69.7
Points allowed per game: 63.8
Scoring leaders: Pat Sullivan ‘12 (17.3 ppg), Ephraim McDowell ’12 (11.7).
Rebounding leaders: Sullivan (6.3 rpg), Matt Dean ‘14 (4.0).
Assist leaders: Ryan Wright ‘14 (62), Greg Newton ’14 (62).
Three-point shooting leader: McDowell (57 of 141).

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