Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
6 UMass Lowell def. 7 Stony Brook
4 Hartford def. 9 Binghamton
5 Albany def. 8 NJIT
3 New Hampshire def. 6 UMass Lowell
4 Hartford def. 5 Albany
1 UMBC def. 4 Hartford
2 Vermont def. 3 New Hampshire
2 Vermont def. 1 UMBC
The Catamounts have been the team to beat in the America East for the last four years. They made the conference finals in each of those seasons, thrice led by two-time America East Player of the Year Anthony Lamb. In their first season since his graduation, Vermont is once again set up well for a deep run. This time around, Ryan Davis is the star player averaging 18.8 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game and shooting over 40% from deep and 50% from the floor. As a team, the Catamounts lead the conference in every major shooting statistic as well as rebounding margin and assists per game.They split a two-game series with their toughest competitor, the UMBC Retrievers, showing that they can take down the top seed. Vermont’s strong offense should be enough to overpower each of their conference foes in this tournament.
It’s unlikely that a team other than UMBC or Vermont wins the tournament but if there is a team to pull an upset, it is Hartford. They have a Top 30 scoring defense in the nation allowing an average of 63.3 points per game. Leading the conference in steals per game has come in handy, especially in their one win over UMBC when they generated ten steals. The Hawks are hoping to face UMBC in the semifinals than Vermont given their past success as well as UMBC having a less potent offense.
Matchup to Watch
UMBC vs Vermont
A tiebreaker matchup from the past two tournaments is looming. In 2018, UMBC took down Vermont in the title game 65-62 before becoming the first 16 seed to win a March Madness game. The next season, the Catamounts got revenge knocking the Retrievers out 66-49. This is both a very likely matchup and a good one to watch. Vermont is 10-2 in Maryland against UMBC which is where this potential matchup would take place. Basketball enthusiasts will be rooting for early round chalk to get the best possible pairing in the whole conference tournament.
Featured Image courtesy of uvmathletics.com
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