The NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicks off later this week, and the University of Vermont Catamounts are ready to roar.
“I believe in myself and my group completely, and I know we can do whatever we have to try to get a win,” UVM power forward Anthony Lamb said Monday.
Lamb and his teammates punched their ticket to the Big Dance with Saturday’s America East championship win at home in Burlington.
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UVM, a No. 13 seed, was practicing Monday to take on the No. 4 seed, Florida State, in round one of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
For the first time in more than 20 years, the east region games of the tourney return to Hartford, Connecticut, and the XL Center.
“Hopefully, we’ll see the cats strike an upset on Thursday,” UVM alumnus and basketball fan Rich Blow of Pembroke, New Hampshire said Monday.
Blow was buying apparel at the UVM Bookstore in Burlington to wear to the game in Hartford. He said he was glad for a game within easy driving distance, so he could cheer on his team in person.
UVM Bookstore employee Melanie McAdoo said Cats t-shirts are flying off the racks.
“This is our community; this is our team,” McAdoo said of the enthusiasm for the Catamounts in Burlington. “People are really excited.”
There is one basketball fan who may have divided loyalties on the round one matchup between UVM and Florida State, however.
Nate Lamb, the brother of UVM standout Anthony Lamb, is a student at Florida State.
“I would hope he’s cheering for me,” Anthony Lamb said Monday. “It’s going to be fun to talk to him throughout the week about it—probably talk some trash—see how it goes.”
Lamb noted any sports rivalry between the brothers would be good-natured.
UVM and Florida State square off at 2 p.m. Thursday in Hartford.