Introducing Cinderella: Jairus Lyles sends UMBC into the dance
Conference: America East
Coach: Ryan Odom
Record: 24-10, 12-4 (Second in America East)
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 184
– RPI: 115
– AP/USA TODAY: Not ranked
Seeding: If Vermont had won on Saturday, they would have had a chance at climbing as high as a No. 12 seed, but UMBC is not near the same level as Vermont when it comes to résumé. I would expect them to end up as a No. 16 seed, potentially as a play-in game.
Names you need to know: The star for the Retrievers is VCU transfer Jairus Lyles. He’s the program’s leading scorer this season, averaging 19.9 points, 5.7 boards and 3.6 assists, and he put 27 points on Vermont in the title game. That included a game-winning three in the America East title game.
Stats you need to know: The Retrievers are a very good shooting team. On the season, they are shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc, which is good for top 50 nationally, and they take more than 44 percent of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc. That’s good for a program looking to upset someone; if the three-ball, the great equalizer!
Big wins, bad losses: UMBC actually has a pair of top 100 wins, according to KenPom. They knocked off Northern Kentucky back in December and also own Friday’s win at Vermont, which is a top 75 team on KenPom.
How’d they get here?: The Retrievers finished second in the America East during the regular season, then knocked off both UMass Lowell and Hartford in the league tournament before getting a third chance at Vermont. The Catamounts had beaten UMBC by a combined 43 points in their two meetings this season before UMBC picked them off in Patrick Gymnasium.
Outlook: Congratulations on making the tournament! Have fun going up against the likes of Villanova, Virginia, or Xavier!
How do I know you?: You don’t know UMBC but you know their coach’s dad. Ryan Odom’s father is Dave Odom, who was a longtime Wake Forest and South Carolina head coach.