Vermont Faces North Carolina in NCAA Second Round Friday
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Vermont will try to become the first America East men's basketball team to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament when it faces top-seeded North Carolina at Greensboro Coliseum Friday at approximately 4:10 p.m. Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg (analyst) will have the call on TBS.
Vermont (24-11), winners of 15 of its last 16 games including the league championship game on March 10, beat Lamar in the NCAA first round on Wednesday to earn its second-round date with the Tar Heels (29-5), the ACC regular-season champions.
Multiple Teams Make it Again
For the eighth time in the last 10 years, America East has placed multiple men's basketball teams in the postseason. Vermont won the league's automatic NCAA bid by capturing the conference title while Stony Brook received an invitation to the NIT by winning the league's regular-season crown. Albany, winner of 19 games, played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. In total, 20 teams have played into the middle of March in the last 10 years.
Three's Company Too
This is the third time America East has sent three teams to the postseason, all of which have come since 2005. The three teams match the most the league has ever had playing in any one postseason. In 2005, Vermont received the league's automatic NCAA bid while Boston U. and Northeastern each played in the NIT. In 2010, Vermont again reached the NCAAs while Stony Brook played in the NIT and Boston U. participated in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Cats Get Lucky Number Seven
Vermont's win over Lamar Wednesday was America East's seventh all time in the NCAA Tournament. The Catamounts were also the last team to earn an NCAA win. That came in 2005 as a No. 13 seed with a 60-57 overtime victory over No. 4 seed Syracuse. The Catamounts, the only current league member with an NCAA win, join Northeastern as the only programs in conference history with multiple NCAA victories. The Huskies won three games in a three-year span 30 years ago (1981, 82, 84). Siena (1989) and Drexel (1996) have the league's other wins.
More AE in the NCAAs
Last year, Boston University earned a No. 16 seed and trailed No. 1 Kansas by only four at the half before falling, 72-53. In 2006, Albany nearly became the first in the history of the NCAA to knock off a No. 1 seed as the Great Danes led top-ranked Connecticut by 12 points in the second half before the Huskies battled back to earn a 72-59 win. The highest seed America East teams have received was No. 11 which has happened three times (Northeastern 1981, '82, '84). Boston U.'s No. 12 seed in 1997 is the league's best since it expanded to 64 teams.
Fourth Win in Four Years
Vermont's win over Lamar Wednesday was the league's fourth postseason win in the last four years. The Catamounts beat Green Bay in the 2009 College Basketball Invitational while Boston U. won two CBI games in 2010, beating Oregon State and Morehead State on its way to the semifinals. The four wins in just four years are half as many as the league totaled in its first 29 years.
Vermont Lambastes Lamar
Four McGlynn scored a game-high 18 points off the bench to lead Vermont to a 71-59 victory over Lamar in the first round of the NCAA tournament Wednesday. The Catamounts, who controlled the pace of the game from the outset, shot 50 percent from the floor while holding the Cardinals to just 33 percent. A 13-0 run keyed by UVM's bench, which outscored Lamar's 35-5, gave it a 10-point first-half lead, which it would not relinquish. Matt Glass (11 points) and Sandro Carissimo (10) joined McGlynn in twin figures. Brian Voelkel added 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Vermont Catamounts (24-11)
After starting out just 6-9, the Catamounts have strung together 18 wins in their last 20 games, including a 51-43 win over Stony Brook in the America East Championship game on March 10. The win secured UVM its fifth-ever NCAA appearance. Freshman Four McGlynn leads a balanced Catamount attacked, averaging a team-best 12.2 points per game off the bench. Matt Glass (11.9 ppg) and Luke Apfeld (10.1 ppg) also average double figures. The Cats are stellar on both ends of the court, averaging 67.3 points per game while allowing just 60.5 per contest.
How the Cats got to the NCAAs
Vermont put together three hard-fought victories in the America East Championship, holding foes to 52.0 points per game, to earn its fifth league title. The Catamounts posted a 50-40 win over Maine in the quarterfinals on March 3 and a thrilling 77-73 double overtime victory over Hartford in the semifinals on March 4. They capped off their run with a 51-43 victory over Stony Brook in the title game on March 10, becoming just the fourth team in league history to win the title on the road. The Catamounts scored only 14 first-half points against the Black Bears in the quarterfinals, the second-fewest in a half in tournament history. But, UVM found its groove offensively in the second half and used a 14-2 spurt to turn a six-point deficit into a six-point lead that it would not relinquish. Matt Glass had 16 points to lead UVM. On March 4, UVM survived an epic battle with Hartford in a game that saw 11 ties and 26 lead changes. Vermont got clutch baskets from Luke Apfeld (to force overtime) and Sandro Carissimo (to force double overtime) before Carissimo hit a layup with 12 seconds left in the second session to seal the win. Carissimo led UVM with 18 points. In the title game, Vermont held Stony Brook to a championship game record-low 29 percent shooting and opened up a 17-point second half lead en route to winning the crown. Four McGlynn scored a game-high 14 points for the Cats, while Brian Voelkel, the tournament MOP, had five points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
When the Cats' KO'd Cuse
Vermont capped its run of three-straight NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament appearances with a 60-57 win over Syracuse in the first round at Worcester, Mass. in 2005. The Catamounts’ 1-2 punch of Taylor Coppenrath (16 points) and T.J. Sorrentine (17 points, 5 three-pointers) led UVM yet again, but Germain Mopa Njila’s career night was the difference. The senior, who averaged 5.8 points per game that season, scored 20 points and had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in the program’s biggest win ever.
Vermont has experienced unprecedented success over the last decade. A program that had zero 20-win seasons through its first 87 years and won just six America East championship games in its first 22 tournaments, the Cats have made all that seem like ancient history. Vermont is in the midst of its ninth 20-win campaign in the last 11 years and have made seven America East title game appearances in that span. The Catamounts, who are making their eighth postseason appearance in the last 10 years, won their fifth conference title Saturday and earned their fifth NCAA berth. Wednesday's win over Lamar was also their second NCAA win in that span and third postseason victory.
Clear as Glass
Vermonter Matt Glass returned home prior to the 2009-10 season, transferring from UMass back to his home state in hopes of resurrecting his college career. His journey came full circle this year as the senior has averaged 11.9 points per game, which ranks second on Vermont and 15th in the league. Glass was even better once league play started averaging 13.5 ppg and shooting 50.3 percent from the field. He again stepped up his game in the conference tournament, averaging 12.7 points and 4.0 rebounds en route to earning All-Championship recognition. He had 11 points in the NCAA win over Lamar.
Freshman Four McGlynn made an immediate impact in Burlington this season by leading UVM in scoring (12.2 ppg) despite coming off the bench. Tabbed the America East Rookie of the Year, the sharpshooter (68 made three-pointers) has stepped up in the postseason. He averaged 12.7 points in the America East Championship to earn all-tournament honors and scored a game-high 18 points in UVM's win over Lamar Wednesday.
Despite only ranking seventh on his team in scoring, sophomore forward Brian Voelkel is arguably Vermont's most important player. The Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player at the America East Championship, Voekel averaged 4.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists to lead his team to the league title. A third-team all-conference and all-defensive selection this year, Voelkel leads the league in rebounding (8.7 rpg), ranks second in assists (5.2 apg) and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7-to-1). The 2010 America East Rookie of the Year, Voekel has started all 67 games since arriving in Burlington with career averages of 5.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Becker Bursts on the Scene
Few head coaches have experienced the success John Becker has had during his first season as Vermont's head coach. Becker, who previously served as a Catamount assistant for five years, led Vermont to a 20-11 regular season record, the program's ninth 20-win campaign in the last 11 years. It's the most wins by a first-year Vermont head coach in program history, surpassing Tom Keady's mark of 15 wins that had stood since 1921. Becker is also just the fifth head coach in America East history to win 20 games in his first season, joining Mike Jarvis, Karl Fogel, David Henderson and Patrick Chambers, and the sixth to reach the league title game in his first season. On March 10, he joined Fogel as the league's only coaches to win a championship in their first season at the helm, and on Wednesday became just the fifth coach in league history to earn an NCAA win.
Seawolves Edged by Seton Hall
On Tuesday, Stony Brook nearly picked up America East's first NIT win since 1987. The Seawolves, America East's regular-season champions, had their dreams dashed when Tommy Brenton's putback attempt of Bryan Dougher's three fell off the rim as time expired and gave the Pirates a 63-61 win in the tournment's first round. It's the second time in three years, Stony Brook has gone toe-to-toe with a No. 1 seed in the NIT. In 2010, the Seawolves were within five of top-seeded Illinois before falling, 76-66. Dallis Joyner, an America East All-Championship selection, led the Seawolves with 14 points and nine rebounds Tuesday.
America East in the NIT
America East has placed at least one team in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in seven of the past nine years, including two in 2005 for the first time in conference history. Stony Brook made its second NIT appearance in three years this season, dropping a heartbreaker at Seton Hall, 63-61, in the first round Tuesday. In 2010, Stony Brook became the first America East team to host an NIT contest since Niagara did so in 1987, and just the second overall. The Seawolves hosted Illinois in the first round in front of a sellout crowd of 4,423 fans at Stony Brook Arena. Last year, Vermont dropped a close one at Cleveland State, 63-60, in the first round.
Great Danes Fall in CIT
Albany (19-15) allowed Manhattan to shoot 63 percent from floor and dropped its first round CollegeInsider.com Tournament contest to the Jaspers, 89-79, at SEFCU Arena Wednesday. The Great Danes, who were making their third-ever postseason appearance and first since 2007, got a career-high 23 points from Jacob Iati.
America East in the CIT
Albany's appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament was America East's first-ever in the four-year old tournament. America East teams have made two appearances in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) with Vermont (2009) and Boston U. (2010) playing in that tournament. Old Dominion (2009), Missouri State (2010) and Santa Clara (2011) won the first three CIT crowns.
Postseason Home Cooking
Albany's CIT game against Manhattan at SEFCU Arena was the fourth-ever postseason game played on an America East team's home court and third in as many seasons. In 2010, Stony Brook hosted Illinois in a first-round NIT contest at Stony Brook Arena while Boston U. beat Morehead State in a second-round CBI contest at Case Gym that year as well. Niagara was the only other team to have a postseason game at home, as it hosted an NIT contest in 1987.