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First Four: Vermont vs Lamar

The name “Knight” returns to the NCAA tournament sidelines Wednesday night as Lamar takes on Vermont in a Midwest Regional play-in game.

The Patrick-led Cardinals, who got hot late and won the Southland Conference tournament, are favored by three points over the American East tournament champion Catamounts. Vermont is 15-1 SU in their past 16 games overall.

This game is being played at a neutral-site court (Dayton Arena).

The Cardinals will look to vanquish their hosts on Wednesday, as they are 5-1 ATS versus the spread this season, while the Catamounts are 3-1 ATS. Lamar is 3-3 against the total, while Vermont is 2-2 versus the number.

View Lamar vs Vermont Odds and Stats.

Betting Line:
Bettors looking to side with Vermont in this one found them as 3.5-point underdogs at Bovada to open the week.

Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Catamounts sit at No. 85 in the current college hoops power poll here at Odds Shark, while the Cardinals sit at No. 24 on the same chart. The computers running our scores simulations have concluded that the Cardinals will win this game 75-74.

How They Match Up:
Scoring and defensive stats point to some edges in this matchup. The game features Vermont's No. 189-ranked scoring average of 67.2 PPG, against a Cardinals defense rated No. 122 and allowing 65.4 PPG. The Catamounts FG% has averaged 44.3% to date this season, more than the Cardinals shooters have managed so far (43.5% per game).

Defensively, Lamar features the nation's No. 140-rated defense on the road, allowing 68.4 points per game. Vermont, meanwhile, comes in at No. 159 nationally in scoring at home.

Last time out for Lamar, they were a 70-49 winner as they battled McNeese State at home. They covered in the match as an 8-point favorite. Lamar cruised to victory on Saturday, running McNeese State out of the gym and running up a 70-49 score at Merrell Center.

Vermont won its last outing, a 51-43 result against Stony Brook on March 10. They covered in that game as a 3-point underdog. Four McGlynn scored 14 points leading the Catamounts to a 51-43 victory over Stony Brook at Stony Brook Sports Complex on Saturday.