2012 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region First Round
University of Dayton Arena – Dayton, Ohio
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 3:40 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Lamar -3
Current Line: Lamar -3
Opening Total: 130
Current Total: 128 1/2
Opening Money Line: Lamar -155 / Vermont +135
Current Money Line: Lamar -155 / Vermont +135
The Lamar Cardinals of the Southland Conference are 23-11. They are coached by Pat Knight, son of legendary coach Bob Knight. After a recent 2 game losing streak, the younger Knight went on a rant that became a viral sensation questioning his players’ toughness. He even went as far to say the scholarship players were wasting money. It seemed to have worked because the Cardinals have won 6 games in a row, including a 70-49 trouncing of McNeese St in the Southland title game.
The Cardinals will take on the 23-11 Vermont Catamounts of the America East Conference in the NCAA tournament first round. The winner will take on Midwest #1 seed North Carolina Friday in Greensboro. The Catamounts, coached by John Becker, have won 14 of the last 15 games and 4 in a row. Vermont won at Stony Brook 51-43 Saturday in the America East Championship game.
Not surprisingly, Lamar and Vermont have never played before. Lamar is playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000. Vermont is playing in their fifth tournament in 5 years.
Lamar has losses to Louisville, Ohio, TCU, Ohio St, Kentucky, McNeese St, Texas-Arlington, Northwestern St, Nicholls St, George Mason, and Stephen F. Austin. The Cardinals have wins over Arkansas St, Charlotte, Louisiana-Lafayette, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, McNeese twice, and Stephen F. Austin.
Vermont has losses to South Florida, LIU-Brooklyn, Harvard, Yale, Saint Louis, Quinnipiac, Iona, Northeastern, Stony Brook, New Hampshire, and Binghamton. The Catamounts have wins over Dartmouth, Marist, Old Dominion, Siena, Albany twice, and Stony Brook twice.
Lamar is outscoring opponents 74-65 this season. The Cardinals are shooting 43.5% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. Lamar is #10 nationally in rebounds averaging 39.6 a game with a rebounding margin of +5.2. The Cardinals average 13 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 8.3 steals, and 4.5 blocks a game. Lamar opponents are shooting 41.9% from the field, and 34.3% from 3 point range. The Cardinals force 14.4 turnovers a game.
Lamar guard Mike James averages 17.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Anthony Miles averages 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists to lead the team, and 1.7 steals a game to tie for the team lead. He makes 36.4% of his 3 pointers. Devon Lamb averages 11.9 points, 7.9 rebounds to lead the team, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals a game. Brandon Davis averages 9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. He makes 37.6% of his 3 pointers. Charlie Harper averages 8.9 points, and 5.9 rebounds a game. Osas Ebomwonyi leads the Cardinals in blocks with 1.9 a game.
Vermont is outscoring opponents 67-61 this season. The Catamounts are #25 in points allowed in the nation. Vermont is shooting 44.3% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. The Catamounts make 74.2% of their free throws. Vermont averages 35.4 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +3.7. The Catamounts averages 13.3 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 6.2 steals, and 2.4 blocks a game. Vermont opponents are shooting 40.8% from the field and 31.9% from 3 point range. The Catamounts force 12.8 turnovers a game.
Vermont guard Four McGlynn averages 12 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. He makes 38.7% of his three pointers. Matt Glass averages 11.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists a game. He makes 40.7% of his three pointers. Luke Apfeld averages 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. Brenden Bald averages 7.8 points, and 1.8 rebounds. Sandro Carissimo averages 6.9 points, 3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. Brian Voelkel averages 8.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.7 steals a game to lead the Catamounts in all three categories. No Vermont player averages more than 0.5 blocks a game.
Vermont is 3-1 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season. Lamar is 5-1 ATS and the total is 2-3-1 this season. The Catamounts are 4-1 ATS overall, 11-4 against teams with winning records, and 2-5 as an underdog, 2-6 after a cover. The Cardinals are 8-1 ATS versus teams with winning records, 5-1 overall, 4-1 after a straight up win, 8-3 in non-conference games, and 7-3 in neutral site games.
Vermont wants to slow down the tempo, and Lamar wants to run. The team that can control the tempo will win this game. Lamar will have the definite advantage in rebounding. Vermont played in the NCAA tournament in 2010, and Lamar hasn’t played in the tournament in 12 years. I think that experience will help Vermont pull off the mild upset.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as the tournament gets under way. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until they cut down the nets in New Orleans next year.