CBB: Vermont vs Virginia Preview and Prediction
College basketball season is here–and as we have done for the last few years, MFST will be previewing and predicting the winners of all of the games each day. We pride ourselves on our love for the mid-majors, so you can count on us for all of your game previews and analysis. This year, we will be keeping track on our picks against the spread–the last two years we have had better than a 50% pick-rate ATS. Let’s make the 2019-20 season the most profitable yet…
Vermont vs Virginia Preview
An undefeated affair takes place on Tuesday night as the unbeaten Vermont Catamounts (4-0) travel to John Paul Jones Arena to take on the reigning National Champs, the Virginia Cavaliers (3-0).
If Vermont is going to pull off the massive upset, they will need their offense to figure out Tony Bennett’s masterful defense.
Syracuse, James Madison and Columbia combined for more turnovers (42) than made field goals (41) and averaged 36.7 points on a collective 25.0 percent shooting against Virginia. The Cavaliers also have blocked 19 shots and compiled a plus-39 rebounding margin.
We just want to keep making it hard for opponents to score against us, Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after Saturday’s 60-42 victory against Columbia.
I think you see at times, when we’ve gotten in trouble, we’ve been able to block some shots at the rim and we’ve been solid for sure, and that’ll have to continue to improve little by little. (Defense will) always be the staple for this team.
The Catamounts already are battle-tested, winning three games by three or fewer points on the road at St. Bonaventure (61-59), at Bucknell (66-63) and most recently at St. John’s (70-68) on Saturday.
The moment won’t be too big for this team and program–the defending America East Conference champs have been to two of the last three NCAA tournaments and have won at least 20 games in 11 straight seasons.
Vermont will have to contend with the Cavaliers’ superior size, particularly 6-foot-9 senior forward Mamadi Diakite (14.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks per game), 7-foot-1 junior forward Jay Huff (11.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) and 6-foot-8 senior wing Braxton Key (10.0 points, 9.7 boards).
Senior forward Anthony Lamb, the 2018-19 America East Player of the Year, leads Vermont at both ends of the floor with 18.3 points and 10.5 boards. Senior guard Everett Duncan (11.3) and sophomore forward Ryan Davis (10.3) also are scoring in double figures.
Lamb logged 23 points and 13 rebounds at St. John’s, including the game-winning jump shot between two defenders with two seconds left.
(That) was a big win for our program in a great college basketball atmosphere, Vermont coach John Becker said. For people who haven’t seen Anthony play before, that’s who he is and he’s an incredible player. He made a huge shot to win the game and I’m really proud of him.
LINE: Virginia -14.5
Score Prediction: Virginia 66 Vermont 59
Dan’s Bet: Vermont +14.5
Dan’s 2019-20 Record: 6-2