Day two in the lead up to Vermont’s NCAA First Round tilt against Lamar means the teams and media are on the ground shuffling back-and-forth between practices and press conferences until game day on Wednesday March 14 at 6:40 p.m. Eastern on TruTV. So, here are some more pertinent links from today. You can check out yesterday’s round up here.
Coaches and players from both schools met with the media today, and the wonderful thing about any NCAA Championship event, everything is transcribed.
Sports Illustrated put together a narrative recap on the media session festivities from today as well.
If you like Haiku, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, who attended South Burlington High School, wrote some for every match up in the field. Here’s what he had to say about this match-up:
North Carolina vs. Lamar/Vermont: When does Lamar lose? / Awaiting the Knight presser / UNC waits, yawns
Also over at CBS Sports, Jeff Borzello ranks the field 1-68. Vermont comes in at 66, which is slightly kinder than The Sporting News‘ ranking of 68 from yesterday. Lamar is just ahead at 65.
65. Lamar: Pat Knight ripping into his seniors clearly worked, as the Cardinals are 6-0 since. Maybe he should go off on them before the tourney too.
66. Vermont: This isn’t going to be the Catamounts’ year, but we will hear a lot more from them soon. There are only two seniors on this team.
Each year, graduation rates of teams participating in the NCAA Tournament are published. The Washington Post takes a look at the numbers and shows who wins the graduation rate title among the 68. Vermont checks in with an 86 percent graduation rate, while Lamar comes in at 65 percent, so UVM wins that match-up. Still, the Catamounts wouldn’t make a historic upset in the next round, but it’d be close, as North Carolina boasts am 89 percent graduation rate.
If you’re looking for predictions on the game itself, a couple places offer some advice.
Jim O’Connell of the Associated Press picks the entire field, and chooses Vermont to win with the following reasoning:
VERMONT vs. Lamar – The Catamounts are a strong defensive team that can take advantage of all the attention Cardinals coach Pat Knight and his derogatory comments about his seniors will draw.
And if you want some predictions that are even more positive than simply a win, two places offer up this particular match up, and UVM itself as a candidate to pull of that which has never been done.
From the New York Times:
Will this be the year a 16 seed finally beats a one?
It would be crazy to even suggest the answer is yes, but going strictly by the numbers, “First Four” participant Vermont really looks like a quality 16 seed. They have one of the best statistical profiles on the entire bottom half of the bracket, ranking in the top 100 nationally in all three key categories. Unfortunately, the Catamounts would get U.N.C. if they get past their first game. Maybe if they drew Syracuse they could have reprised their 2005 stunner, but the Tar Heels look way too tough.
And finally, from basketball analytics guru Ken Pomeroy, who we noted yesterday tweeting on Lamar’s overall strength as a 16-seed discusses what he believes is the strongest field of 16-seeds in tournament history, and leaves us with this nugget:
Despite the awful track record, I’ll be watching each of the 1/16 games from the opening tip, with a special eye on whomever emerges from the Lamar/Vermont game to take on UNC. This will be the year.