Vermont (22-5) at College of Charleston (20-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 19th, 5:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carolina First Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Vermont 12-1, CofC 10-1. Away Record: Vermont 10-3, CofC 9-5. Neutral Record: Vermont 0-1, CofC 1-1. Conference Record: Vermont 13-2, CofC 13-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Vermont Catamounts will put the nation's third-longest win streak on the line this evening when they visit Carolina First Arena to take part in a BracketBuster bout with the College of Charleston Cougars.
Vermont has won a season-best 10 games in a row heading into this matchup, which is also the program's longest winning streak since the 2006-07 campaign. Vermont clinched the outright America East regular-season title with Wednesday's 73-57 triumph over Maine, which also locked up at least an NIT bid if the team does not make the NCAA Tournament field. The Catamounts are also among the nation's best road teams, as their 10 road wins on the year are tied for second in the country.
Charleston has also been on a roll with wins in five straight and eight of its last nine outings. The Cougars have the top record in the Southern Conference with a 13-2 league mark and 20 wins overall. They have won by double digits in all five games during the current streak, including Thursday's 85-63 victory at The Citadel.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these two squads on the hardwood
The Catamounts set a new season-high for both field goal percentage (.596) and assists (22) in Wednesday's 16-point win over Maine. Defensively, they held the Black Bears to a dismal 30.4 percent effort from the floor during the second half to put the game out of reach. Evan Fjeld shot 9-of-13 from the floor and led Vermont with 19 points and four blocks to go along with seven rebounds. Brendan Bald scored 17 points in the win, while Matt Glass chipped in with 11 points and five boards. During their 10-game win streak, the Cats have held their opponents to 52.3 ppg and just 35.8 percent shooting. Their average margin of victory has been 14.5 points, an impressive stat considering six of those 10 wins have come on the road. On the season, Fjeld is shooting 55.8 percent from the field and leads the team with 15.3 ppg in addition to pulling down 6.4 rebounds per contest. Joey Accaoui is netting 11.8 ppg, while Bald has really stepped up his game of late and is averaging a team-best 13.8 ppg during the winning streak. Bald continues to knock down shots from long range as he leads the squad with 44 three-pointers on the year (.423).
Charleston is headlined by guard Andrew Goudelock, the nation's fourth-leading scorer with 23.7 ppg. While Bald has been a solid outside threat for Vermont, Goudelock is downright deadly from the perimeter, having buried 92 treys on the year (.418). Donavan Monroe is tallying 11.5 ppg, however the team is missing its top presence down low in Jeremy Simmons, who is out indefinitely while undergoing treatment for a blood clot in his right arm. The clot was found after the Wofford game on Feb. 3 and Simmons (13.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has missed the last four games after starting 14 in a row at center. Still, the show must go on, and Charleston has continued to win despite his absence. As a team, Charleston ranks 15th in the country in shooting percentage (.480), as opponents often struggle to keep up the scoring pace. The Cougars are outscoring foes by an average of 8.3 points on the year and are averaging 8.4 threes per game, thanks largely to Goudelock.
Vermont has won 18 of its last 20 games in the month of February, and the team is 11-1 when scoring 70 or more points this season. The Catamounts have the offensive firepower to match Charleston on the scoreboard, and they also have the size to exploit Simmons' absence down low.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vermont 71, College of Charleston 68
02/19 10:39:37 ET