2017 America East Conference Tournament Preview
The America East Conference Tournament starts on Mar. 1 and features eight teams vying for an NCAA Tournament automatic bid. Albany and Vermont typically dominate this conference, but Stony Brook broke through last season to get the automatic bid behind Jameel Warney’s great performances.
American East Champs: Vermont Catamounts
Vermont will reclaim their spot atop the American East by winning the conference tournament and appearing in the NCAA Tournament. The Catamounts have totally dominated conference play this season going 16-0. They weren’t overly challenged in conference play either, with their closest contest coming at UMBC, where they won by three. The next closest game for Vermont was a seven point win at Stony Brook.
How has Vermont been so successful this season? The answer is defense. The Catamounts only allow 63.2 points per game, which is good enough for 19th in the country.
A key for this Vermont team is John Becker, the head coach, who is really not talked about much. He has posted 20 wins in each of his first six seasons as the lead man for the Catamounts. He made the NCAA Tournament in his first season at Vermont, but will successfully guide Vermont to a second appearance in his tenure this year.
The Catamounts will have to be at their best if the play Stony Brook in the final, but should be able win three straight games and win the America East Tournament.
Conference Tournament MVP: Anthony Lamb
Picking an MVP is tough with Vermont winning because they are so balanced on offense. They have three different players who average over 11 points per game: Anthony Lamb, Payton Henson and Trae Bell-Haynes. One player will stick out in this tournament and win MVP, and that player will be Anthony Lamb.
Lamb has been heating up the last five games, averaging 19.8 points per game over that span. As a 6 foot 6 inch forward, Lamb has the ability to pad his stats with rebounds. He averages 5.2 rebounds per game.
His hot streak will continue and Lamb will be the American East Tournament MVP.