Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Picking winners of first 15 conference tournaments of 2023-24 season

Championship Week part 1 is here and I have taken my best shot at trying to pick which teams will win their leagues and get their automatic bids into the NCAA tournament.
Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and
Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and / Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 15

America East

Dates: March 9th-16th
Location: Campus Sites
Top Seed: Vermont Catamounts
Winner: Vermont Catamounts

This is the one year that Vermont is least likely to get upset in the America East Playoffs and likely goes down. The Catamounts have one of their most dominant teams in a while. The America East is loaded at the top this season with three teams who can legitimately win the league title. The Catamounts are tough because they epitomize team ball no player is averaging over 12 points per game but outside of that, they do play Catamount basketball. They play at a slower pace and run a heavy three-point offense.

Vermont takes great shots and has a very high efficiency when they do score. They lead the league in conversion rate inside the three-point line and are one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. The offense is always good for Vermont but it’s the defense that has carried them this far in the league. The Catamounts are holding America East opponents to 40% shooting, they contest everything, rarely foul, and allow 60 points per game. Vermont is going to be tough to beat on their home floor.

Sleeper: New Hampshire Wildcats

There is no team who is going to be given much of a chance of winning this league outside of the top three teams because those three teams are deep and have the most talent. However, the Wildcats may have the best player and sometimes that is all you need to go on a magical March run. Clarence Daniels is one of the most prolific players in the America East and he has an ability to put up 30 points and 20 rebounds every time he steps on the floor. The forward changes games when he can do that and when he is going the rest of New Hampshire basketball team plays much better. If Daniels can get hot anything can happen. The Wildcats don’t have a problem on the road in a hostile environment either they have already beaten Fairfield, UMass Lowell, and Rhode Island on the road.