Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ECAC Lambert Poll - Oct. 30

For the third consecutive year, I am voting for the Top 10 in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands poll. I will be voting for both the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) and Division III.

Here are my rankings for this week

The number in (xx) is where the team is located on the poll, if different from my ballot.

1. Lehigh
2. Stony Brook (T3)
3. Old Dominion (2)
4. New Hampshire (T3)
5. James Madison
6. UAlbany
7. Towson (9)
8. Richmond (7)
9. Harvard (8)
10. Delaware (RV)

Division III
1. Hobart
2. Wesley
3. Widener (T2)
4. Johns Hopkins
5. Cortland
6. Salisbury (7)
7. St. John Fisher (10)
8. Waynesburg (8)
9. Trinity (6)
10, Utica (RV)

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Monday, October 29, 2012

FCS Top 25 - Oct. 29

The University at Albany is moving up The Sports Network's Top 25. There is also another No. 1, following Eastern Washington's loss.

The Great Danes defeated Sacred Heart, although it wasn't exactly convincing.

Below is my Top 25 ballot. Here is a link to the actual Top 25. 

The number in the (xx) is where the team is located in the actual poll.

1. Georgia Southern (2)
2. Montana State (3)
3. North Dakota State (1)
4. Wofford  (6)
5. Lehigh (8)
6. Stony Brook (9)
7. Sam Houston State (4)
8. Old Dominion  (5)
9. Eastern Washington (7)
10. Indiana State  (14)
11. New Hampshire
12. James Madison (10)
13. Northern Arizona (12)
14. Central Arkansas (13)
15. Illinois State (17)
16. UALBANY (20)
17. Cal Poly  (16)
18. Appalachian State (15)
19. Towson
20. Richmond (22)
21. Harvard (NR)
22. South Dakota State (21)
23. Delaware
24. Tennessee State (18)
25. Sacramento State (NR)

Teams ranked, but not on my ballot.
T23. Villanova
25. Eastern Kentucky

Others receiving votes: Sacramento State 367, UT Martin 274, Harvard 231, Eastern Illinois 188, Bethune-Cookman 155, McNeese State 73, Southern Illinois 66, Youngstown State 60, Jacksonville State 31, The Citadel 30, Southern Utah 29, Samford 22, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 21, Alabama A&M 16, Chattanooga 14, Northern Iowa 12, Colgate 7, Fordham 6, Stephen F. Austin 4, Drake 3, Delaware State 3, North Carolina Central 2

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

VIDEO: UAlbany/Sacred Heart preview

University at Albany sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi talks about the team's upcoming game against Sacred Heart.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jim Howard enters CD Baseball Hall of Fame

I wrote a story on Jim Howard that appeared in Thursday's paper.

Howard is a Shaker High and Siena College grad, who has been a scout in the Baltimore Orioles organization for the past 25 years.

Howard will be inducted as part of the second class to be enshrined into the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame.

“I was pleasantly pleased and surprised," said Howard when he heard about his induction. “When you look at the names that have been compiled each of the last two years, it’s a much more impressive list from a historical standpoint than I think a lot of people would ever imagine."

Howard was named the scout of the year for the Orioles this year, for the third time (also in 2004, 2009). That meant a lot since Baltimore reached the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

One interesting thing I couldn't fit in the story was that Howard used to pick up Sam Perkins on the way to Shaker basketball games. The two played together on the team. Perkins went on to play 18 seasons in the NBA.

When: Sunday, Oct. 28
Where: Hilton Hotel (Troy)
Time: Reception 4:30-6 p.m. Dinner 6 p.m.
Fee: $60
Contact Rene LeRoux at (518) 877-5170 or at cdbaseballhof@aol.com
Class of 2012 Inductees
Rick Bernardo    Don Berti               
Peter Brown    Mario Cuomo         
Ken Hayner    Jim Howard            
Tim Lane    Joe Mahoney         
John Mayotte    Brian Mee              
Jon Mueller     Bill Norris              
Craig Phillips     Brendan Ryan   
Dave Smith    Karl Steffan
John Stewart    Gary Tuck
Buck Ewing    Mike ‘King’ Kelly
Mike Maetta    Jack O'Brien
Ed Phelps    Cy Seymour
Waldo Lozano

Johnny Podres Lifetime Achievement
Johnny Evers Community Contributor — William Gladstone (Owner Tri-City ValleyCats)
John Cerutti Sportsmanship — Don Blaha

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bulls-eye on UAlbany women's team

Here is a link to my story from America East media day.

It focuses on the University at Albany women's basketball program, which captured its first berth to the NCAA tournament last season, and this year was chosen to repeat, in the preseason poll.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boston U. moves forward from A-East ruling

Mike McMahon/The Record
ALBANY - Joe Jones and his team don't talk about their postseason aspirations. That's because there's a slim chance his Boston University team will be playing in March this year.

It's not because the Terriers aren't any good. Boston University is not allowed to compete in the America East Conference postseason tournament, in any sport this season.

They aren't facing sanctions or dealing with the result of a recruiting scandal. They are simply leaving and the America East won't let them play any longer.

Boston University is headed for the Patriot League in 2013-14. The America East is citing the conference's bylaws, saying any school that has announced its intention to leave the league, won't be allowed to participate in postseason play.

“Certainly there was some frustration," said Jones, the men's basketball coach. "I think we all really felt for the seniors, on all the sports teams at BU.”

This isn't the only program going through this type of thing, but finding life much easier. The University at Albany football team is leaving the Northeast Conference. The Great Danes are the defending champions and will still be able to earn the league's postseason bid, despite announcing their intention to move to the Colonial Athletic Association next season.

The Loyola (Md.) men's basketball team is the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions. Their school is also headed to the Patriot League and they can still compete in this year's postseason tournament.

“No question you wish that the decision was different," said Jones, about his school's predicament. "But we have no control over that.”

Jones and his female counterpart, Kelly Greenberg, were in attendance on Tuesday at SEFCU Arena, as the conference celebrated media day. Their teams won't get the chance to take the floor, in March, when the postseason tournament comes to town.

These aren't bottom feeder programs. The men's squad is picked third, while the women's team was chosen second, in the preseason poll announced on Tuesday.

The men's team also lost its best player, senior Jake O'Brien, who transferred to Temple, following the ruling.

“I’ve been really impressed with how our guys have handled the decision," said Jones.

Jones, currently, doesn't have a single senior on his 11-man roster, so he knows he is building for the future, both in the America East and the Patriot League.

“I think they understand that we’re in this for two years together," he said.
Jones comes from the Ivy League, where there still is no postseason tournament. He knows that it can be tough to motivate a team towards the end of the season, if they are mathematically out of it. He also knows what it takes to do just that.

“Our leadership is very good on this team," Jones said.

The Boston University teams WILL be able to earn the automatic berth to the NIT/WNIT, which can be earned if a team wins its regular season and doesn't win the conference tournament. (Updated with word from America East spokesperson)

So even before the season begins, there is a small likelihood Boston University can reach the NCAA tournament. If the Terriers can win every game they play, they would surely get a chance to dance.

"I might retire if that happens," laughed Jones. 

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Gina Castelli lands at Rhode Island

After stepping down in March, the winningest coach in Siena women's basketball history has a new home.

Gina Castelli is the new Director of Player Development at Rhode Island.

Here is a link to her bio page.

Castelli posted a 336-296 record for the Saints and was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year five times.

Castelli also guided Siena to seven MAAC regular season titles, three berths in the WNIT and one NCAA tournament bid (2001).

J.S. Carras/The Record

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America East Media Day Coverage

ALBANY - The America East Conference convened in the Capital District on Tuesday morning to hold the annual media day.

The SEFCU Arena, home to the University at Albany, will host both the men's and women's postseason tournaments in March.

Below are the men's and women's preseason poll and preseason all-conference teams.

MEN'S (1st-place votes)
1. Vermont (5)
2. Stony Brook (4)
3. Boston U.*
4. UAlbany
5. Maine
6. New Hampshire
7. Hartford
9. Binghamton
*not eligible for postseason tournament

Preseason All-Conference Team
Mike Black (UAlbany)*
D.J. Irving (Boston University)
Alasdair Fraser (Maine)
Chase Plummer (UMBC)
Tommy Brenton (Stony Brook)*
Brian Voelkel (Vermont)
*unanimous decision

WOMEN'S (1st-place votes)
1. UAlbany (5)
2. Boston University (2)*
3. Hartford (2)
T4. New Hampshire
T4. Vermont
7. Maine
8. Binhamton
9. Stony Brook
*not eligible for postseason tournament

Preseason All-Conference Team
Chantell Alford (Boston University)*
Ruthanne Doherty (Hartford)
Julie Forster (UAlbany)
Morgan Frame (New Hampshire)
Ebone Henry (UAlbany)*
Mo Moran (Boston University)
*unanimous selection

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Monday, October 22, 2012

FCS Top 25 - Oct. 22

The University at Albany has moved into The Sports Network Top 25.

The Great Danes didn't win, but they benefited from other teams losing to move up to No. 24. UAlbany is also ranked No. 20 in the FCS Top 25 coaches poll.

Here is a link to The Sports Network's poll. 

My ballot is below. The number in the (xx) is if team is somewhere different than where I have them slotted.

1. Eastern Washington
2. Georgia Southern
3. Montana State (4)
4. North Dakota State (3)
5. Wofford (7)
6. Lehigh  (8)
7. Stony Brook (10)
8. Sam Houston State (5)
9. Old Dominion  (6)
10. Indiana State (15)
11. New Hampshire  (12)
12. James Madison  (9)
13. Cal Poly (11)
14. Northern Arizona (13)
15. Central Arkansas  (14)
16. Illinois State (17)
17. Youngstown State (22)
18. UALBANY (24)
19. Eastern Kentucky  (18)
20. Towson  (23)
21. Villanova (19)
22. Delaware  (20)
23. Richmond (25)
24. Southern Illinois  (NR)
25. Tennessee-Martin (NR)

Teams Ranked but not on my ballot
16. Appalachian State
21. Tennessee State

Others receiving votes: South Dakota State 337, Southern Illinois 306, UT Martin 246, Harvard 223, Bethune-Cookman 107, Alabama A&M 78, The Citadel 68, Sacramento State 59, McNeese State 55, Jacksonville State 39, Chattanooga 35, Northern Iowa 28, Stephen F. Austin 26, North Carolina Central 25, Princeton 24, Eastern Illinois 14, Samford 9, Montana 6, Southeastern Louisiana 6, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4, Drake 3, Colgate 2, Fordham 2, North Dakota 1

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

VIDEO: RPI/Hobart football preview

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute senior quarterback Mike Hermann talks about the team's big Liberty League showdown with Hobart.

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Sage soccer on fast track to success

The Sage men's soccer team is only three years into having a program and yet, they are competing for their league title and a spot in the Division III NCAA tournament.

Here is a link to my story about the Gators.

Below is video of senior co-captain Kevin Dommreis.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Siena Madness invades ARC

On Tuesday, Siena held a Midnight Madness-style event, on campus, for the first time since 1998.

Here is a link to my story on the event.

Below is video of Siena women's basketball player Lily Grenci, speaking about the event.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Siena women have high expectations

The Siena women's basketball team is already off and practicing. New coach Ali Jaques has already run 10 practices and she's hoping for a solid season. 

Here is a link to the story that ran in Tuesday's paper.

Below is a picture of Ciara Stewart, Tehresa Coles, and Allison Mullings.

Mike McMahon - The Record

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Monday, October 15, 2012

FCS Top 25 - Oct. 15

Here is my ballot for the The Sports Network Top 25. There was a big shakeup this week, as four of the previous top five teams lost. That's seen in the fact that eight teams received first place votes.

The University at Albany won, yet I still dropped them a few spots, based on a few of the other results and teams that upset those teams at the top.

Here is a link to the Top 25. UAlbany is still outside the Top 25, but seem to be inching closer to a ranking, which would be the second in school history. Last year, the Great Danes ended the season ranked No. 23 in the poll. 

The number in (x) is where the team actually stands in the Top 25.

1. Eastern Washington
2. Georgia Southern (3)
3. James Madison (2)
4. Montana State (5)
5. North Dakota State (4)
6. Wofford (8)
7. Lehigh (9)
8. Stony Brook (10)
9. Indiana State (21)
10. Illinois State (11)
11. Old Dominion  (7)
12. Appalachian State (13)
13. New Hampshire (12)
14. Sam Houston State (6)
15. Youngstown State
16. Towson (18)
17. Northern Arizona (16)
18. UAlbany (NR)
19. Harvard (22)
20. Cal Poly  (14)
21. Central Arkansas (19)
22. Tennessee State (17)
23. Villanova (24)
24. Eastern Kentucky (23)
25. South Dakota State (20)

Teams in poll, but not on my ballot 
25. Delaware

Others receiving votes: ALBANY 332, McNeese State 309, Samford 105, UT Martin 95, Sacramento State 80, The Citadel 79, Northern Iowa 50, Bethune-Cookman 47, Alabama A&M 45, Richmond 43, Stephen F. Austin 12, Jacksonville 11, Tennessee Tech 9, Montana 8, SE Louisiana 7, Eastern Illinois 7, Southern Illinois 6, Chattanooga 5, North Carolina Central 3, Jacksonville State 3, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2, Western Illinois 2, UC Davis 1, Drake 1

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VIDEO: UAlbany/Saint Francis postgame

University at Albany football players Ocieka Bakou and Drew Smith talk about the team's 36-13 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

VIDEO: UAlbany F Blake Metcalf

University at Albany senior Blake Metcalf talks about the upcoming 2012-13 season, which began officially on Friday, with the first practice of the year.

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UAlbany moving forward, not looking back

J.S. Carras - The Record
ALBANY - It wasn't the first time somebody had asked the question and Mike Black knows it won't be the last.

How will the University at Albany men's basketball team cope with the loss of its two top scorers from a season ago?

The question is even tougher since, both Gerardo Suero and Logan Aronhalt were slated to be part of the Great Danes this year. Suero left to play professionally and Aronhalt is now at the University of Maryland, for a graduate year of study.

“We wish them the best…They’re not here anymore," Black said. "We have a new team, new players and we’ll be fine.”

Suero and Aronhalt combined for 35.3 points per game last year. This year's team will likely be more concentrated on defense.

“We’ll find a way to make up that," Black said. "We’re going to be more defensive minded this year.”

Suero averaged 6.9 free throws made per game, something that coach Will Brown believes the team will miss greatly.

“That’s the only thing that I think we might miss from last year’s team is Suero’s ability to get to the free throw team,” Brown said.

Losing their two top scorers means everyone will have to step up, starting with Black.

“I think Mike’s as good as any player in the league," Brown said. "Mike will be our leading scorer, he’ll be our go-to guy. That’s already been addressed with this team, but his game doesn’t need to change.”

Black averaged 13.4 points per game last season, in addition to being the point guard and running the offense.

“I know I can score with the best," he said. 

UAlbany has three new players this season, all junior college transfers, in Dave Wiegmann, D.J. Evans and Gary Johnson.

Evans is a pest on defense and really quick, Johnson is a slasher, who can score and Wiegmann is a solid rebounder, hard worker and good shooter.

“We expect the new guys to contribute a lot this year," said Black.

The Great Danes know they were close last year, coming up short on a last-second shot by Stony Brook, in the semifinals. That is all the motivation they need to work hard in preparation for this year.

“It definitely did give me that extra motivation going into my senior year, knowing that this is my last chance and everything can change in 0.2 seconds," said senior Blake Metcalf.

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Buonaguro looking for quick start from Saints

Mike McMahon - The Record
LOUDONVILLE - Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro wants to get off to a quick start this season.

The last two years, the Saints haven't gotten off to the best start.

Last year, Siena started 2-0, but promptly lost seven of their next eight. In 2010-11, Buonaguro's first season, the Saints started 2-6.

Buonaguro has decided to decrease practice time from 2 1/2 hours to just two hours, with the thought that this will keep his team fresher and healthier.

“I want to get off to a good start. I think that’s important with a young team, to get some confidence.”

While practice will be a tad shorter, Buonaguro said he will be more demanding of the team during practice time.

“We have to practice well, especially with a young team," he said.

That should mean practice will be competitive, especially with guys fighting for playing time.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal atmosphere," said senior forward O.D. Anosike. "We’re going to have guys going as hard as they possibly can to get minutes and see playing time.”

Buonaguro said he would like to use the bench a lot more this season, a luxury he had to work without last season when the team played primarily six guys.

“If you can be fresh, use eight, nine guys, it probably makes you a way better team in February," Buonaguro said.

Mike McMahon - The Record

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VIDEO: Siena G Evan Hymes on Media Day

Siena sophomore Evan Hymes talks about the upcoming 2012-13 season on Media Day at the ARC.

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VIDEO: UAlbany/St. Francis (Pa.) preview

University at Albany senior running back Drew Smith talks about the team's upcoming Homecoming game against St. Francis (Pa.).

Smith, a Guilderland grad, is the leading scorer in the FCS level, averaging 12.0 points per game, with 12 touchdowns in six games this season.

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VIDEO: RPI/Rochester preview

RPI sophomore defensive back Nick Borkowski talks about the team's upcoming game at Rochester.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

FCS Top 25 - Oct. 8

Here is my most recent ballot for The Sports Network's FCS Top 25.

The University at Albany continues to move up on my ballot, following a 31-14 victory over Bryant. The Great Danes (3-0, 5-1) only loss came to Youngstown State, but Penguins got dismantled by No. 1 North Dakota State, hurting UAlbany's resume slightly.

The Great Danes are not in the poll, but they did gain votes and are still just two spots outside the Top 25. 

Remember, the number in the (xx) is where the team is in the actual poll, which can be found here.

1. North Dakota State
2. Montana State
3. Old Dominion
4. James Madison
5. Wofford
6. Youngstown State (8)
7. Stony Brook  (11)
8. Lehigh (10)
9. Eastern Washington (6)
10. Appalachian State (13)
11. Georgia Southern  (7)
12. New Hampshire
13. Sam Houston State (9)
14. Towson (17)
15. Northern Arizona (16)
16. UAlbany (NR)
17. Illinois State (14)
18. Delaware (24)
19. Harvard (22)
20. Cal Poly (15)
21. McNeese State (19)
22. Central Arkansas (21)
23. Tennessee State (18)
24. Eastern Kentucky  (23)
25. Montana (NR)

Teams in Poll, but not on my ballot
20. South Dakota State
25. Samford

Others receiving votes: Northern Iowa 414, UALBANY 383, Alabama A&M 236, The Citadel 153, Montana 143, Richmond 106, Indiana State 81, Maine 63, Sacramento State 49, Stephen F. Austin 46, Bethune-Cookman 46, UT Martin 45, Southern Illinois 45, Jacksonville State 32, Villanova 26, North Dakota 18, Howard 18, Tennessee Tech 9, Jacksonville 8, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 8, Brown 8, Western Illinois 8, Chattanooga 7, Alabama State 6, Duquesne 2, UC Davis 1, Fordham 1

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Friday, October 5, 2012

VIDEO: UAlbany punter Paul Layton

University at Albany senior punter Paul Layton talks about how the team is faring so far this season and his decision to transfer elsewhere for a year of graduate work in 2013.

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VIDEO: RPI/St. Lawrence preview

RPI senior quarterback Mike Hermann talks about the team's upcoming game against St. Lawrence.

The Engineers (1-1, 3-1) are trying to bounce back from their first loss, last week at Merchant Marine.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sean Littlejohn playing big for Buffalo State

In Thursday's paper, I wrote a story about Buffalo State senior defensive lineman Sean Littlejohn.

Littlejohn is a native of Cohoes High, and played three varsity seasons for the Tigers.

Buffalo State shocked the Division III landscape, with their victory over previous No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater, back on Sept. 15. The Warhawks hadn't lost since 2008, a span of 46 games and are the three-time defending national champions.

Here is a link to the story.

Buffalo State Athletics

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Monday, October 1, 2012

FCS Top 25 - Oct. 1

Here is my ballot for The Sports Network FCS Top 25.

The University at Albany (2-0, 4-1) remained on my ballot, in fact the 55-24 victory over Monmouth moved the Great Danes up four spots to No. 19. The win was the program's 250th, as a varsity squad.

Remember, UAlbany's lone loss came at Youngstown State, the nation's No. 3 ranked team, only by one touchdown.

My vote and the others who cast in favor of the Great Danes, still wasn't enough to put the team into the Top 25. They remain as a team receiving votes in this week's poll.

The number in (xx) is where the team is in the actual poll.

1. North Dakota State
2. Youngstown State (3)
3. Montana State (2)
4. Old Dominion
5. James Madison
6. Wofford
7. Stony Brook (13)
8. Lehigh  (11)
9. Eastern Washington (7)
10. Illinois State (T9)
11. Appalachian State (15)
12. Towson
13. Georgia Southern  (8)
14. Eastern Kentucky (17)
15. Northern Arizona  (18)
16. New Hampshire  (14)
17. Delaware  (16)
18. Sam Houston State (T9)
19. UAlbany (NR)
20. Harvard (25)
21. McNeese State
22. Cal Poly (20)
23. Montana (NR)
24. Central Arkansas
25. Northern Iowa (22)

Teams in the Top 25, but not on my ballot
19. The Citadel
23. South Dakota State

Others receiving votes: Tennessee State 400, UALBANY 266, Montana 261, Stephen F. Austin 119, Samford 119, Alabama A&M 114, Villanova 102, Indiana State 67, North Dakota 56, Richmond 47, Jacksonville State 32, Eastern Illinois 27, Bethune-Cookman 25, UT Martin 25, Sacramento State 23, Chattanooga 22, Tennessee Tech 19, Howard 13, Southern Utah 8, Jacksonville 8, Southeastern Louisiana 6, Duquesne 5, Brown 4, Lafayette 2, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 1, South Dakota 1

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