- The America East Conference Tournament will begin March 6, with the semis on March 9 and the final March 12
- Stony Brook was not allowed to participate after announcing in late January that it will join the Colonial Athletic Association in 2022-23; Tenth-place Maine also will not play.
- See the seeds, bracket, and American East Tournament odds below
The America East Tournament, one of the few played solely at campus sites, will be played March 6, 9 and 12th. The start of the tournament was pushed back one day to allow for a postponed game between Hartford and UMass Lowell to be played Thursday.
No. 1 seed Vermont (25-5, 17-1) has won three of the last five tournament titles. Defending champion and No. 4 seed Hartford (11-19, 9-9) is the only team to beat the Catamounts in league play. The two are on the same side of the bracket, which sets up a rematch in the semifinals.
America East Tournament Odds
|#1 Vermont Catamounts||-600|
|#2 UMBC Retrievers||+1000|
|#3 New Hampshire Wildcats||+1500|
|#4 UMass Lowell River Hawks||+2500|
|#5 Hartford Hawks||+3000|
|#6 Albany Great Danes||+5000|
|#7 Binghamton Bearcats||+6000|
|#8 NJIT Highlanders||+30000|
Odds from DraftKings March 4
The No. 1 seed has won four of the last six tourneys as the league prepares for its place in the projected March Madness bracket. UMBC (2018) and Hartford (2021) are the exceptions. Hartford were the fourth seed a season ago. Vermont was a No. 13 seed in the 2019 NCAA tournament when it lost by 10 to Purdue in the first round.
Vermont is the Class of America East
Vermont has won five games in a row since its only league loss, 75-74 in overtime at Hartford on Feb. 14, which broke a 14-game winning streak. Two-time league Player of the Year Ryan Davis did not play against Hartford because of a lower back injury, one of three he missed this season.
The Catamounts won 16 of their 17 league games by double figures, and at 25-5 have tied the school record for the best 30-game start, although their odds to win the NCAA Tournament will be miniscule.
Seniors 6’8 Ryan Davis (17.2 points, 5.8 rebounds) and 6’2 Ben Shungu (15.9, 4.5) were named first-team All-Conference in a vote by the league coaches and Catamounts coach John Becker was named coach of the year for the sixth time.
The Catamounts have the numbers of a winner — 48.6 percent field goal percentage (14th in Division I), a plus-5.7 rebound margin (32nd) and a plus-12.5 scoring average (12th). Their top five scorers are shooting shooting at least 46 percent the field. Virginia junior guard 6′ Aaron Deloney, who averaged 7.7 points in 14.6 minutes per game, was named the Sixth Man of the Year.
The conference winner will be a deep sleeper when March Madness region odds are announced.
UMass Lowell Trending Up
The No. 7 seed River Hawks (15-15, 7-11) split their last four regular-season games, with one of the losses at Vermont 62-61 on Feb. 26, when they got within two points after a late 13-2 run before Ben Shungu hit a layup in the final 45 seconds for a cushion.
Lowell beat Hartford 83-73 in a makeup game Wednesday and won both of the regular-season meetings against first-round opponent and No. 2 seed UMBC, 66-64 on the road Jan. 8 and 88-71 at home Feb. 12.
reminder: Max Brooks averages around two-and-a-half blocks per game https://t.co/SL4tTSIKbq
— Cole Pessolano (@drinkwateron915) March 4, 2022
Sophomore 6’7 Max Brooks had career highs with 29 points and 17 rebounds against Hartford. Six River Hawks average between 8.5 and 11 points per game. Leading scorer 6’7 Allin Blunt (10.9 points) had 19 points and reserve guard 6’3 Everett Hammond (9.1) had 18 against Vermont.
Retrievers’ 2018 Run Gives League Hope
No. 2 seed UMBC (16-13, 11-7) has won 10 of its last 13 games and can use that as fuel entering the tournament. The Retrievers also have history.
UMBC posted the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history in 2019, beating No. 1 seed Virginia as a No. 16 seed in the first round, the only No. 16 to win a first round game. It was not even close — 74-54. The magic did not last, as they lost to Kansas State 50-43 in the second round, but it was good while it lasted.
The Retrievers are led by senior guard 6’6 Keondre Kennedy, who averages 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. They are 9-3 since forward 6’7 Nathan Johnson joined the starting lineup Jan. 19 after a 1-8 stretch that included the first loss to UMass Lowell.
Top 5 players in each conference through March 1 (min. 15 GP), per @HeatCheckCBB Gold Star Guide.
#85 Ben SHUNGU, Vermont
#117 Ryan DAVIS, Vermont
#187 Tykei GREENE, Stony Brook
#261 Keondre KENNEDY, UMBC
#269 Jayden MARTINEZ, New Hampshire
— Andy Dieckhoff (@andrewdieckhoff) March 2, 2022
Hartford has played two seasons, losing their first seven games and 10 of 11 before beating beat New Hampshire in the league opener. They played Vermont to within 10 at Vermont and have won six of their last nine after finding a starting lineup — they tried 13 — that meshed.
America East Tournament Prediction
There is nothing to suggest Vermont will not win again. The Catamounts are 13-0 at home and have the two best players in the league in Davis and Shungu, and they came within 10 points over No. 9 Providence in a 68-58 loss on Dec. 7.
UMass Lowell could be worth a sprinkle because of its season success against UMBC, although none of its tournament games would be played at home and it is 0-4 against potential second-round opponents. Vermont may be the biggest favorite in any conference tournament.
The pick: Vermont -600