UMBC Basketball may have something special brewing in the America East Conference after an improbable run in the NCAA Tournament.
The UMBC Retrievers made history in their second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament this past season. They became the first 16-seed ever to defeat a No. 1 seed after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers, 74-54, in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Their Cinderella story was short-lived after that, but they’ll be back in 2018-19, looking to win the America East once again.
The Retrievers won an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament after defeating the Vermont Catamounts, 65-62, in the conference tournament championship after finishing second during the regular season. Their backcourt of Jairus Lyles and K.J. Maura had quite the effect in 2017-18. Lyles produced 20.2 points per contest while Maura finished with 11.3 points per contest. With both seniors gone, a new star will need to emerge for the Retrievers.
They’ll be fine with players returning in the frontcourt, but they’ll need for a few newcomers to step up this upcoming season. As they look for their third consecutive 20-win season under head coach Ryan Odom, it may be difficult for them to recreate their NCAA Tournament magic from a year ago. Odom is 46-24 (.657) so far through two seasons as head coach. Under Odom, they should still be considered a favorite to win the America East Conference crown once again. Here’s a look at the 2018-19 season preview for the UMBC Retrievers.