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Albany (13-4) at Denver (12-4)
Reason to watch: Neither team can stop the other. The over-under has been set at 30.5.
Background checks: Denver played in the 2011 semifinal and bowed out last year in the quarterfinals to Loyola. The Pioneers rank No. 6 in scoring offense and No. 20 in scoring defense. Coach Bill Tierney won six NCAA titles at Princeton.
Albany is making its first tournament appearance since 2007. The Great Danes took home the America East automatic qualifier and won at Syracuse and Johns Hopkins this spring. Their offense is ranked No. 1 in scoring (16.06 goals per game).
Star power: Brothers Lyle and Miles Thompson. Lyle (6.4 ppg) is the headliner and a Tewaaraton Award finalist, but according to coach Scott Marr, "Miles makes us go." He has 67 points in 11 games. Along with cousin Ty, the Thompson trio form the nation's most entertaining bunch.
Salisbury transfer Eric Law (33, 31) and Cameron Flint (32 goals, pictured) run the show for Denver offensive coordinator Matt Brown. Law does his damage from the wing, while Flint can burst past his man and release lasers on the run.
What could make the difference?
Pace and tempo. Albany's offense starts with creating turnovers. The Great Danes get the ball off the carpet and move it up the field quickly, scoring on odd-man rushes. Denver can short-circuit the scoreboard, too, but does it differently. The Pios are very crafty and crisp in their half-field sets.
April 28, 2012