After an undefeated 20-0 campaign, the Bulldogs got the upper hand in the index points over Northern foes No. 2 Burlington (17-3), No. 3 Rice, No. 4 St. Johnsbury and No. 5 Mount Mansfield (all 16-4).
Joey Shehadi has been the offensive leader for the Bulldogs all season, statistically, but more than a handful of players can score the basketball, including Tyeshawn Gadson, Taylor Muench and Conor Harrington -- all of whom have had big games this season.
"We've had four guys average in doubles, we've seen teams put a box-and-one on Joey," said BBA coach Dave Shehadi. "It was great what we did during the season, but now it's a new season."
Shehadi has the luxury of depth as well, as nine or ten of his players are strong contributors, including Ryan Smith, a big force on the glass.
There's also been talk about the D-II heavy schedule the Bulldogs played, moving up this season from D-II to D-I.
"It's hard to go from D-II to D-I and schedule high-quality opponents," Shehadi said. "I tell the kids not to listen to the blogs and play who's in front of us. It would be a mistake to take us lightly."
They face No. 16 seed North Country, a team that was 7-13 this season today at Burr and Burton Academy.
In Division IV, Arlington comes into the tournament as the No. 13 seed after a treacherous 3-17 campaign, but two wins in the final three games give the Eagles some momentum and confidence heading into their matchup with No.
Usually, the Eagles are led by their star center, DJ Jennings, who reached the 1,000-point plateau earlier this season and averages more than 15 points a contest. But the Eagles have some spunk in the backcourt with second-leading scorer Austin Hawley, who scored 30 against Black River, and sophomore Nathan Mattison.