Finally, it’s March! The month of Madness officially begins and so does the America East Conference Tournament. Last year, the Stony Brook Seawolves captured their first automatic bid into the Men’s NCAA Tournament. This year, they have a shot to repeat, however the Vermont Catamounts stand in the way.
The only real competitive game I see in the opening round is the fifth seeded UMBC Retrievers against the fourth seeded New Hampshire Wildcats. A matchup, that actually just happened to end the regular season, with the Wildcats winning at home in double overtime. And oddly enough, when the Retrievers played the Wildcats on their home court, that too ended in a double overtime, however with the Retrievers winning. So, both teams have split this matchup and both games went into double overtime. This seems like a treat that they pair up in this opening round of the America East Conference Tournament.
The schedule are as follows:
Wednesday, March 1 (quarterfinals), WatchESPN
Game 1: No. 8 Maine at No. 1 Vermont, 7 p.m.
Game 2: No. 7 Binghamton at No. 2 Stony Brook, 7 p.m.
Game 3: No. 6 Hartford at No. 3 Albany, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: No. 5 UMBC at No. 4 New Hampshire, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 6 (semifinals), WatchESPN
Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner, time TBD
Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, time TBD
Saturday, March 11 (championship)
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 11 a.m., ESPN2
Prediction: Obviously, I’m picking the Vermont Catamounts here. They are the only team this year to go a perfect 16-0 in conference play. And, they’ve won thirteen of those sixteen games by 11 or more points. The only really competitive games have been on the road against the UMBC Retrievers (3 points), Stony Brook Seawolves (7 points) and New Hampshire Wildcats (8 points) at home.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Vermont Catamounts have the conference’s number one offense and number one defense. Something that is very obvious by their complete domination this season.
Anyways, the Catamounts have some decent wins to their name, beating the likes of the Harvard Crimson and Yale Bulldogs at home. They tested their luck out of conference to no avail, but played fairly competitive on the road against the Butler Bulldogs (12 points) and the Houston Cougars (1 point) on a neutral court.
The America East Conference Tournament games take place on the highest seeds home court. So, advantage the Vermont Catamount, who have home court advantage throughout. And even if they didn’t have home court advantage, it wouldn’t of mattered. The Catamounts have at least blown out every team once and like I said, the only close game on their home court was by eight points against the New Hampshire Wildcats. The Catamounts are a sure lock!