In the 11th installment of our 20ish-part series, Get to Know an Auto-Bid, we examine the Vermont Catamounts.
UVM clinched their sixth trip to the tournament and first since 2012 with a 56-53 victory over Albany in the America East Championship Game.
It is hard to find a hotter team heading into the NCAAs than Vermont. The Catamounts finished with a 29-5 record and have won 21-straight games, including a 16-0 mark in conference.
UVM dominated the America East throughout, but the homecourt advantage in the conference tournament that came with the No. 1 seed was critical in the championship game.
The No. 3 seeded Great Danes pushed the Catamounts to the brink as Albany led by as many as nine in the second half. Behind the home crowd’s energy, UVM was able to mount a comeback and escape with a win.
Vermont won in the play-in game in their most recent trip to the tournament in 2012, but they are most known for knocking off Syracuse in the first round of the 2005 tourney in a 13-4 matchup. Prime Gus Johnson on this highlight – FROM THE PARKING LOT!
T.J. Sorrentine and Taylor Coppenrath was an all-time white boy duo.
This year’s Catamount squad is one of the best mid-majors in the country. As of this publishing, only Villanova, Gonzaga, and Wichita State have more wins on the season.
Despite their high win total, UVM does not have a signature win on the season. They struggled against Providence and South Carolina, but hung tough against Houston and Butler in relatively close losses.
The Catamounts have three players that average double-digit points per game and Anthony Lamb leads the team with 12.6 ppg. Peyton Henson tops the squad with 5.4 rebounds per game.
Vermont may not have the talent of the other threatening mid-majors, but winning has become a habit for this program. No matter who they are matched up against in the first round, they will expect to win – a team doesn’t win 21 in a row without having that mentality.
In the tournament, half the battle for mid-majors is not being intimidated by your opponent in the first round and although no one on the roster has been to the NCAAs, that will not be an issue for the Catamounts.
The Otter Room official bracket projection has Vermont slotted as a 13-seed and they will be a nightmare for any team that has to face them in the first round.