America East (conference rank: 24th)
Mar. 1, 6, 11
All games at higher seed
kPOY: Anthony Lamb, Vermont.
Regular season champ: Vermont (preseason #105 / 1st America East, current #69)
Overachiever: UMBC (preseason #311, current #188)
Underachiever: Binghamton (preseason #261, current #313)
Vermont hasn’t lost since an 81-69 defeat at Butler on December 21 and its 18-game win streak is the longest in the country. They ripped through America East, winning games by an average of 14.2 points, the fifth-best conference scoring margin in the land this season. So it doesn’t take a computer to figure out that the Catamounts should be a heavy favorite here. But the computers will also tell you that should the Catamounts win, they shouldn’t be satisfied with just appearing in the NCAA tournament.
Vermont has one of the best freshmen I’ve never heard of in Anthony Lamb. He barely plays 20 minutes a game, but he packs a lot of fun into his limited minutes as a 6-6 power forward. And Trae Bell-Haynes has a claim for the honor of America East’s best point guard.
How weird was Stony Brook’s season? They finished in sole possession of second place at 12-4 but are rated as the fifth-strongest team. Even with a seed-friendly format, the Seawolves are the clear third choice behind UVM and Albany whose young lineup may make a run at a top 100 season next year. The Danes open with Hartford in a matchup that produced the biggest first-round upset in any conference tournament last season.
New Hampshire is in its 56th season of Division I basketball and has never made the NCAA tournament. They haven’t even made a conference title game the 34 previous appearances. This might be the best team the Wildcats have fielded and they have just a 1-in-20 chance of an NCAA tournament bid. Such is life in Durham.
America East re-seeds after the quarterfinals lest Hartford, Binghamton, or Maine gets any funny ideas about winning this thing.
Semis Final Champ 1 Vermont 98.3 85.4 71.4 3 Albany 93.5 49.2 13.5 2 Stony Brook 82.8 43.1 8.5 4 New Hampshire 69.0 15.6 5.0 5 UMBC 31.0 5.6 1.5 7 Binghamton 17.2 0.7 0.08 6 Hartford 6.5 0.2 0.02 8 Maine 1.7 0.2 0.01