March Madness is here! Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the America East Conference Tournament.
#1 Vermont vs. #8 Maine
#4 UMBC vs. #5 New Hampshire
#3 Hartford vs. #6 UMass Lowell
#2 Stony Brook vs. #7 Albany
Who will win the America East Conference Tournament?
Aram: #1 Vermont (24-7, 14-2 in the America East)
Vermont is the best team in this conference. I think we are going to see a Championship Game between Vermont and Stony Brook who they have split the series with this year. Anthony Lamb is not a player you want to doubt.
Pat: #1 Vermont (24-7, 14-2 in the America East)
I can’t pick against the Catamounts in Anthony Lamb’s senior season. The senior forward has dominated this conference the last three years, and with Stef Smith and another strong supporting cast this year, they’ve cruised to a first place finish. Smith and Lamb are the type of players who won’t have a letdown or look past any of their opponents, so expect a second straight tournament bid for Vermont.
TJ: #1 Vermont (24-7, 14-2 in the America East)
They have been dominant all year and as Pat said I just don’t want to bet against Anthony Lamb in his last go around. The Catamounts are 14-2 in conference play and have piled up 24 wins overall. However, Anthony Lamb isn’t the only player you should keep an eye on as Stef Smith will bring an impact to the tournament.
Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?
Aram: #6 UMass Lowell (12-18, 7-9 in the America East)
I’ve seen the Christian Lutete 51 point game from earlier in the year and I’ve seen how good he has been since. He’s an efficient scorer who is shooting above 51% from the field and 37% from deep while averaging above 19 points per game. Obadiah Noel is another terrific player for UMass Lowell who I can see upsetting Hartford today and causing some issues for Vermont.
Pat: #7 Albany (14-17, 7-9 in the America East)
The sixth seeded Great Danes play at a slow pace, and while they may not do it in an exciting fashion, they could pull some upsets by sticking to their game plan and frustrating opponents. Tough defense and good shooting will be the formula, and if the Danes can keep that going for a three game stretch, watch out.
TJ: #6 UMass Lowell (12-18, 7-9 in the America East)
UMass-Lowell is the team to keep an eye on. Christain Lutete has turned heads all year ever since his 51 point performance against LIU. He is averaging 19.2 PPG and is the first part of the one-two punch the River Hawks bring to the A-East. The second is Obadiah Noel who averages 18 PPG and with those two UMass-Lowell may have the best backcourt in the conference. If they can get going then it’s not impossible for UMass-Lowell to make a run.
Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?
Aram: Elijah Olaniyi, Junior G/F – Stony Brook
The America East has a solid amount of talented players. The one Pat will be mentioning next is certainly the best prospect in this conference. But, the player I want to discuss in Elijah Olaniyi. If you consider him a guard (which I do) then he’s a promising future professional guard. He has a good shot and has shot above 35% from deep on the year. Keep this name in mind as you are watching the America East Tournament.
Pat: Anthony Lamb, Senior F – Vermont
I’m going with the easy choice here with the conference’s best player, Anthony Lamb. Lamb has a real shot at making an NBA roster, a rarity for A-East conference players, thanks to his insane bag and ability to score from inside and out. He tends to always show out in Vermont’s biggest games as well, so watch out for a big March from Lamb.
TJ: Cameron Healy, Sophomore G – Albany
Cameron Healy of Albany is a name to keep an eye on. His numbers have dipped a bit in his sophomore campaign but as a Freshman he put up 16 points a game on a 42%-41%-88% shooting slash. Healy attempts over 7 threes a game and he could find his way professionally with his shooting prowess. If he can prove to be serviceable on defense he could be a name to monitor.