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NCAA countdown: No. 62 Vermont
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On August 28, 2013 @ 7:40 am In NCAA,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: Third-year Vermont coach John Becker is rather blunt when discussing his team’s biggest weakness last season. Shooting.
After leading the Catamounts to a 24-win season and the program’s second NCAA tournament victory in Becker’s first season as head coach, Vermont came up just short in the 2013 America East Tournament championship — falling 53-49 to Albany — to narrowly miss a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
Becker directed Vermont to its fifth consecutive 20-win season despite the Catamounts losing their top two shooters, including Four McGlynn, who transferred to Towson after the 2011-12 season.
2012-13 in review: 21-12 overall, 11-5 (second in America East), lost in first round of College Basketball Invitational.
Path to the Dance: The Catamounts need to win the America East Conference Tournament to earn the coveted automatic bid and reach the NCAA tournament. Both Stony Brook and Albany will pose challenges now that Boston U is gone.
Conference Rundown: It’s becoming rather redundant as far as story lines go. Vermont vs. Stony Brook. America East title up for grabs. The Seawolves have yet to reach the NCAA tournament but have won three of the past four America East regular-season titles. With its top three scorers coming back from a 25-win squad, including America East player of the year candidate Jameel Warney (12.4 ppg last season), Vermont will have to withstand coach Steve Pikiell’s veteran-laden squad that led the league in offense (68 ppg) and defense (57.5 ppg).
Star watch: Vermont returns its top three scorers and rebounders from last season. 6-8 forward Clancy Rugg (11.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg), 6-7 forward Luke Apfeld (10.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and guard Sandro Carissimo give the Catamounts offensive potency. But perhaps the team’s best returner is senior rebounding machine Brian Voelkel (8.6 rpg), who is the vital glue guy in the team’s offense. He only averages 6 points per game, but dishes out close to 5 assists each night. Becker professes the stats don’t mean everything, especially with Voelkel. Returning starter Ethan O’Day (6.8 ppg) is expected to contribute more after a strong … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 62 Vermont, click here.]
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