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2017 NCAA Tournament: Who are the Vermont Catamounts?

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I had a chance to scout the American East Championship game of Vermont.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not sure if you have heard, but we have a rather large game on Thursday evening. Our Boilermakers are taking on the scolding hot, Vermont Catamounts. They haven’t lost 2016. Riding one of the hottest winning streaks, they are trying to stop our run in the NCAA tournament. The Catamounts went undefeated in conference play, their streak is currently at 21, and will stop there too.

We have haters out there too, many ESPN analysts are picking Vermont to beat us. In my honest and not so humble opinion, I just don’t see that happening. We should have a decently sized pro-Purdue crowd in Milwaukee as it is only a 3 hour drive from West Lafayette. Our very own, Casey will be there covering the game.

It has been two years in a row with a team coming back on us late to beat us. This year let us hope we get up big early and keep our foot on their throats. I had a chance to watch their game from the American East Championship Game, this is what I have come up with.

Starters:

Point Guard - #2 Trae Bell-Haynes, 6’2”, Junior

- I couldn’t get much from him from the half I watched. He is 3rd on the team in scoring with right over 11 ppg. He is the main ball handler as the point guard. The offense start with him. He isn’t a great shooter, only shooting 34% per game. What he does well is dribble penetrating and kicking out to others on either cuts or spotting up. He was the America East Player of the Year, he is their best player, but I think we will be able to contain him.

Shooting Guard - #20 Ernie Duncan, 6’6”, Sophomore

- Ernie is probably their best shooter. No surprise that he is from Indiana. He shoots right around 40% from three and he leads his team in that category. He only averages 8 ppg, that is due to his lack of ability to penetrate, he relies on shooting jump shots, so he can either be hot or cold. He is second on the team in minutes per game, and will be on the court for most of the game. If we let him get hot we could be in for a long evening.

Forward - #3 Anthony Lamb, 6’6”, Freshman

- Anthony Lamb will be a star in the America East conference. In his first year, he won the Freshman of the year award for the conference. He lead the team in scoring with right around 13 ppg. He wont shoot it much outside, but he can dribble drive and score. He gets the majority of his points off of dribble hand off motion. He shot at 39% from outside, but he doesn’t shoot it out there much. In the America East championship game he made a 3. his first since December. He will be a tough matchup.

Forward - #34 Kurt Steidl 6’6”, Senior

- Kurt is the glue to the starting lineup. He leads the team in minutes played. But is 5th on the team in scoring and 4th in rebounding. He shoots at 38% from three, but doesn’t do it much. Where he can hurt us is at the free throw line. He shoots 84% from there and rarely misses. He is a solid defender, but not great. If he defends Vincent, we could be in good shape, as I believe Vincent could even post him up.

Forward - #35 Payton Henson, 6’8”, RS Junior

- This is their “big guy”. Henson is 2nd on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding. From watching the game, he might give Isaac and Biggie some problems with driving to the basket. He is rather quick and can get to to the line. He shoots 81% from there. He got the bigs from Albany in foul trouble in the America East Championship game. He only weighs 215 pounds, so while he could hurt us on defense, Biggie and Isaac should abuse him on offense.

Reserves:

Point Guard - #24 Dre Willis, 6’1”, Senior

Guard - #14 Cam Ward, 6’2”, Junior

Forward - #12 Darren, Payen, 6’8”, RS Senior (Old Man)

Forward - #44 Nate Rohrer, 6’7”, RS Junior

Offense:

- They really like the dribble hand off motion offense where they can penetrate off of the hand off.

- They don’t shoot a ton of threes, most of their damage is done around the glass and on mid range jump shots, very old school.

- They like to use the high post screen and roll to the basket for #34 & #35, #2 will take it to the hoop on high screens.

- Just in general, they screen a lot. Off the ball, on the ball, away from the ball. That is how they get open. They don’t have overwhelming quickness to just beat you off the dribble.

- Their post players do not go 1 on 1. Definitely won’t down low against us either.

- Their post players like to attack off the dribble to get opposing bigs in foul trouble.

Defense:

- Man to man defense, they will go over on screens, if not they just switch on the screen.

- They zone sometimes, but not too often. If they do, Dakota & Cline should have fun.

- Guards crash the glass, minus #2.

- They double team on the baseline if you get into a bad position. The “crapper”.

- Show and go on pick and rolls, small hedge, get back to their man, Biggie might eat them up here.

- Transition Defense isn’t great at all times, but make up for it by having great on ball defense.

Matchups:

PJ Thompson vs. Trae Bell-Haynes - PJ on ball defense will help with his penetration.

Ryan Cline vs. Ernie Duncan - Battle of the Indiana kids.

Dakota Mathias vs. Anthony Lamb - Let’s see what All B1G defense can do against Freshman of the year of the America East.

Vincent Edwards vs. Kurt Steidl - Vincent should eat him up on both ends of the court. He is their glue guy, Vincent is ours, will be fun.

Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan vs. Payton Henson - Goodnight Henson.

Tip-off is 7:27 PM, on Tru TV

Channels (According to Google):

Dish - 242

DirecTV - 246

Comcast - 65

Live stream: TruTv.com