UMass Lowell vs Hartford America East Final

UMass Lowell vs Hartford America East Final | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 12, 2021

The first automatic NCAA Tournament bid to be handed out Saturday is from the America East Conference as sixth-seeded UMass Lowell and No. 4 Hartford meet in the conference title game from Hartford with a morning tipoff. The Hawks will be favored on the NCAAB odds to reach the Big Dance. Both teams are seeking their first-ever conference title.

How to Bet UMass Lowell vs. Hartford NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 11 AM ET
  • Where: Chase Arena, West Hartford
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Hartford will be favored)

Last Meeting

The teams split two games at UMass Lowell earlier this season. The host River Hawks took the first game on Jan. 9, 71-62 behind 24 points from Obadiah Noel. Connor Withers added 20 points and nine rebounds. The next day, Hartford won 75-58 behind a career-high 29 points from Austin Williams. The Hawks dominated the second half by outscoring UMass Lowell 44-33.

Why Bet on UMass Lowell? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The River Hawks (11-11) were sixth in the America East regular-season standings. The upset regular-season champion UMKC 79-77 last Saturday to reach the conference title game.

Sophomore Connor Withers tallied a career-high 28 points on nine made threes, matching the tournament record, while senior Obadiah Noel picked up 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting in the paint, in addition to chipping in with four assists. Sophomore Kalil Thomas rounded out the double-digit point scorers with 10.

UMKC was up 27-11 at one point and 40-28 at the half. Tied at 76-76, Noel gave UMass Lowell its first lead since 18:16 in the first half by sinking two free throws to give the visitors a 78-76 edge. UMKC’s E.J. Eytle-Rock would miss the backend of a 1-and-1 and Withers would make a free throw to essentially clinch the River Hawks’ first-ever trip to the America East Championship game.

Before beating UMKC, UMass Lowell upset No. 7 Stony Brook and No. 3 New Hampshire for the school’s first ever postseason wins at the Division I level. This marks the River Hawks’ fourth season eligible for the postseason at the Division I level.

Noel was named to the America East All-Conference First Team, while Max Brooks and Anthony Blunt each earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Noel is pacing the America East and is ranked fifth in the country with 21.8 points per game.

UMass Lowell is 10 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 1-10 when scoring less than 70. The River Hawks, who led the America East in shooting percentage for the last two years, are shooting 45.8 percent from the field this year.

Why Bet on Hartford? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Hartford (14-8) is the No. 4 seed in this tournament. The Hawks won at No. 2 Vermont last Saturday 71-65 to advance. The Hawks took a 32-31 lead into the break after an Austin Williams layup in the final seconds and used a 20-9 run to push ahead by as many as 11 with 11:18 left in the game. Vermont stormed back, though and pulled within two on three occasions.

With 12 seconds remaining, Vermont’s Isaiah Powell knocked down a jumper to make it 67-65, but Traci Carter and Williams iced the game for the Hawks with a combined 4-for-4 effort from the free-throw line in the closing seconds.

Williams (25 points) and Carter (22) became the first Hartford tandem to score 20+ points in the same game this season Williams scored 18 of his points in the opening half, while Carter dropped 16 of his points in the final stanza.

The Hawks shot well all game, shooting a season-high 62.8 percent (27-of-43), including 68.4 percent in the second half. Hartford was stellar from behind the arc as well, going 10-of-19 for 52.6 percent. This season’s .636 winning percentage is the program’s best since Hartford joined the Division I ranks for the 1984-85 campaign

This mark marks the first time that the Hawks make back-to-back trips to the title game, and the program’s third-ever appearance in the championship game. It will be the first time in program history that Hartford hosts a championship game. It also marks the first time in America East history that the No. 4 and No. 6 seeds will play for the conference title. Last season, Hartford was set to battle top-seeded Vermont for the America East Championship, but that game was not played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hartford has won its last three home games, scoring an average of 78.3 points while giving up 66. Hartford is 10-7 all-time vs. UMass Lowell.

Expert Prediction

  • Hartford 71, UMass Lowell 66

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