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2019 NCAA tournament preview: Vermont

Vermont Catamounts: 27-6, 14-2 in the America East

Head coach: John Becker (8th season)

Players to watch: Anthony Lamb (21.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 52.1 FG%); Ernie Duncan (13.8 PPG, 42.5 3PT%); Stef Smith (12.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG)

Season recap: Vermont entered the season as the clear favorites in the America East, despite the fame and success of UMBC after the Retrievers stunned top-seeded Virginia in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament. John Becker's team challenged itself right away in non-conference play, going on the road to face both Kansas and Louisville. Although the Catamounts came away with two losses, they showed they wouldn't be entirely outmatched by the talent of a power-conference team.

But following a disappointing home loss to Bucknell in late November, Vermont went on a run, losing just three games the rest of the season—one a blowout defeat at Lipscomb and the other two against UMBC. Still, it was enough to grab the top seed in the America East conference tournament, and playing at home, the Catamounts comfortably won three straight games to grab the league's automatic bid into the field of 68.

How they make a run: Vermont leans on the talent of leading scorer Anthony Lamb—he had 24 points against the Jayhawks and 25 more at the Cardinals—to power the Catamounts to a first-round upset and just the program's second-ever trip to the Round of 32.

How they falter: A major conference team is just too much for Vermont once again as Lamb gets shut down and the Catamounts just lack another offensive weapon.


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