Stony Brook at Vermont Picks and College Basketball Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/18/2013
Part of the allure of previewing Friday night college basketball games is that I get to learn a bit more about teams I might only see in the first round of the NCAA (or NIT) Tournament. Of course, it’s also a bit of a challenge from a research perspective. There are only three games on the college basketball schedule on Friday night this week, and clearly the best of the bunch is Stony Brook at Vermont (on ESPNU), two schools I at least know a bit about.
This is the first meeting between the America East Conference preseason favorites. They met in last season’s conference tournament final, when top-seeded Stony Brook suffered one of the toughest losses in school history. The Seawolves hadn’t lost at home all season and hosted the Catamounts with a bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line; Stony Brook had never gotten to the Big Dance. However, in a defensive struggle Vermont won, 51-43 – the Catamounts didn’t have a field goal in the final 9:55 of the game but led by 17 at that point. It was a season-low in points for Stony Brook.
Stony Brook at Vermont Betting Story Lines
I remember Vermont mostly from the 2005 NCAA Tournament. As a No. 13 seed, the Catamounts upset No. 4 and Big East champion Syracuse 60-57 in overtime for the first NCAA Tournament win in school history. Vermont lost in the next round to Michigan State. That Vermont team was led by forward Taylor Coppenrath, who averaged 25.1 points a game that season (I remember him well for some reason). The three-time America East Player of the Year never caught on with an NBA team other than summer-league stints.
The Catamounts have reached five NCAA Tournaments overall. Last season they were part of the First Four as a No. 16 seed, beating fellow No. 16 Lamar, 71-59, behind 18 points from Four McGlynn (great name). Vermont would lose in the Round of 64 to top-seeded North Carolina, 77-58. The Catamounts never had a shot as they were playing less than 48 hours after beating Lamar and facing the Tar Heels in Greensboro, about an hour from Chapel Hill. McGlynn had just six points on 2-for-13 shooting vs. the Heels. Last season, he was the only player in Division I to lead his team in scoring (12.0) without starting a game and yet playing in every contest.
McGlynn, last season’s America East Freshman of the Year, is no longer with Vermont. He transferred this summer to Towson to be closer to his home and is sitting this year out. This year, the Catamounts are struggling to score, ranking No. 292 of 347 teams at 62.0 points per game. Luke Apfield (10.3 ppg) and Clancy Rugg (10.0 ppg) are the only players in double figures. Vermont (11-6, 4-1 America East) is good defensively, ranking No. 25 nationally in allowing 58.0 ppg. Vermont has won two straight and four of five and has allowed more than 53 points just once in that stretch – the loss. The Catamounts’ top opponent thus far has been UConn, and Vermont lost, 67-49, on Nov. 13 in Storrs.
Stony Brook (13-4, 4-0) is even better defensively, ranking No. 17 in allowing 57.1 ppg and No. 9 in allowing teams to shoot only 36.7 percent from the field. The Seawolves are also better offensively, averaging 67.6 points per game. Freshman forward Jameel Warney is the star, leading the team in points (12.3 ppg on a terrific 61.3 percent from the field) and rebounds (7.3 rpg). The Seawolves also played at UConn, losing 73-62 on Nov. 25. Stony Brook also lost by only seven at Maryland – cutting a 20-point deficit to three with under a minute left -- and just one at Seton Hall. The Seawolves enter on a five-game winning streak and allowed more than 49 points in just one of those.
Stony Brook at Vermont College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Stony Brook is a two-point favorite with the total TBA. There’s not much to go on in terms of trends here. Stony Brook has had one game with a line, winning at Rider 54-46 on Nov. 13 as a 3.5-point dog. The total was 131 in that one, so it was way under. Vermont also has had just one game with a line: as a 6.5-point dog at Harvard on Nov. 27, the Catamounts won 85-78. The total was way “over” the 119.5 number.
The Seawolves are 6-0 ATS in their past six road games. The Catamounts are 2-5 ATS in their past seven games and in their past seven against America East foes. The “under” is 4-0 in Stony Brook’s past four with a total, while the under is 6-2-1 in Vermont’s past nine against the America East.
Stony Brook at Vermont Picks and Betting Predictions
For comparison’s sake, Vermont was a three-point dog in last season’s America East title game with the total at 120.5. If home-court advantage is worth 2-3 points, then obviously oddsmakers believe Stony Brook is about five points better. Vermont leads the all-time series 19-6, but the teams have split the past eight. Last year during the regular season, each team won at home by double-digits.
A win here would give Stony Brook its national-best eighth true road win so far and 23rd America East victory in the past 26 overall. On paper, the Seawolves look like the better team, and they have played three BCS schools competitively. Take them. The total will be probably around last year’s conference title number. Take the under.
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