Vermont (21-11) at Santa Clara (21-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 19, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,500) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. CBI Record: Vermont 1-1, Santa Clara 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: In the first round of the College Basketball Invitational Tournament the Vermont Catamounts will battle the Santa Clara Broncos at the Leavey Center on Tuesday night.
The winner of this bout will take on either Western Illinois or Purdue next.
Vermont was upset on Saturday in the America East Tournament finals by host Albany, 53-49, which kept it out of the NCAA Tournament. The Catamounts are still making their ninth postseason appearance in the last 11 seasons and finished up this season a strong 21-11 overall.
Santa Clara has been off since Mar. 8 when it lost in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals to Loyola Marymount, 60-58. The loss was the third in the last five games for the Broncos who still boast an impressive 21-11 overall record on the season.
This will mark the first time these two teams have squared off on the hardwood.
The Catamounts struggled offensively in their loss to Albany. They managed to shoot just 40.4 percent from the field but were even worse from beyond the arc where they managed to make good on just 1-of-14 attempts. Vermont did manage to own a 37-21 on the boards but it couldn't help it overcome the poor shooting.
Vermont has been a very strong defensive team this season. The Catamounts are limiting teams to just 58.7 points per game which is among one of the 25 best marks in the nation. The Catamounts aren't a highly effective offensive team though as they score just 63.4 points per game while netting 43.8 percent from the field. Clancy Rugg (11.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Luke Apfeld (10.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg) are the only two double figure scorers on the roster though Sandro Carissimo (9.8 ppg) has shown an ability to fill it up at times. Trey Blue (8.5 ppg) scored 10 points as the lead scorer against Albany but it was just his second double-figure effort in the last five games.
Despite 23 points from Kevin Foster, the Broncos just came up short against Loyola Marymount. Foster may have led the team in scoring but he struggled by hitting just 5-of-19 shots from the floor, while turning the ball over seven times. As a team the Broncos had 14 turnovers, while suffering a 37-31 disadvantage on the boards.
Foster (17.9 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.3 apg) and Marc Trasolini (15.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) were each All-WCC performers for the Broncos this season and two of three players scoring in double figures. Evan Roquemore (11.8 ppg, 5.2 apg) took a backseat in the scoring department but was stellar as a distributor in the backcourt with Foster as he was second the WCC in assists behind Saint Mary's Matthew Dellavedova. With those three leading the way the Broncos rarely struggled to score as they put up 76.4 points per game during the regular season, one of the 20 best marks in the nation.
Traveling across the country could take a toll on the Catamounts who despite being defensively sound, may struggle to slow down the high-octane Broncos.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 74, Vermont 66
03/19 10:40:15 ET