This may come as a bit of a shock to most readers, but the State of Vermont is NOT known for producing an abundance of Division 1 men's basketball players on a yearly basis. You can count on one hand (and I mean that literally) the number of Vermont high-schoolers who are deemed worthy of being offered a D-1 basketball scholarship. The number may increase slightly when taking into account those who go to out-of-state preparatory acadamies for a year, but even then, at most, you simply need your other hand.
The dearth of talent is what made this year's senior celebration at the Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Vermont particularly special. The Catamounts boast a graduating class of two, both from the State of Vermont.
Neither Matt Glass nor Pat Bergmann's name is going to litter the UVM record books, although the former may have had just enough talent to do just that. Glass, a co-captain, seemingly scored in double figures in every conference game. The jump shot he simply could not find last season emerged with regularity in 2012, making him a solid candidate for an all conference team (this writer's guess: second team). The forward from Underhill Center, however, was only a Catamount for two seasons, initially taking his talents to south of the Vermont border; namely, UMass. Accordingly, his Catamount tenure was abbreviated to only two seasons, not that the crowd minded on this day. After all, he did come to his senses and return home.
Bergmann, on the other hand, has been a Catamount for five years, redshirting out of the gate. The minutes have not been abundant and, outside an out-of-nowhere 16-point/8-rebound performance against Cleveland State in the 2011 NIT, the faithful generally held its collective breath when the ball went inside to the center from Burlington. Not that he didn't have his moments, and he occasionally displayed nice touch around the hoop. But he had a lot of other not-so-enjoyable moments, as well. Again, it didn't matter today.
The excitement of homegrown senior day was tempered somewhat by the result of the Catamounts prior game. For those unaware, UVM had the inside track to the number one seed in the upcoming America East Conference tournament. All they needed to do was win their last two games against (previously) winless Binghamton University (0-26), and then coast to the top spot against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (4-23). I'm still too distraught to write about what happened in Binghamton, but suffice it to say that the Catamounts are now staring at the two-seed squarely in the face. It's an end result that far exceeded expectations in December, but fell way short of expectations from one week ago.
As has become custom, both seniors were given spots in the starting lineup (usual territory for Glass), and each made the most of it, scoring in double figures. Neither team looked particularly sharp, although UMBC was on fire in the opening 5 minutes. Difficult to ascertain whether the end result (a 31 point UVM win, 80-49) was more a product of effective Catamount execution or UMBC futility, but the spread is reflective of the disparity in both talent and cohesion between the two teams.
As another season wound down in Burlington (UVM will not host another game unless it gets to the finals of the AE conference tournament as the highest remaining seed), talk in the bleachers turned to another long season of enjoyable low-major basketball while enduring chronic back pain. The current facility, nearly everyone agrees, is simply too uncomfortable and inadequate for a team which has become exemplary program in New England (second most wins--behind only UConn--in the region in the past decade). An event center is in the works, but funding continues to be an issue. But no one doubts the crowds will be patient and return next season. There are two more Vermonters on the team, both of whom expect to receive significant minutes. Homegrown talent, plus twenty win seasons, is a fine way to pass the time until ground finally breaks.
at VERMONT 80, MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY 49 02/25/2012
MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY 4-25 (3-13) -- R. Cook 5-15 1-1 12; B. Neller 5-13 0-0 15; C. Plummer 3-10 2-4 8; W. Wise 1-5 0-0 2; J. Getz 2-6 0-0 4; J. Lane 0-1 0-0 0; J. Wasco 1-2 0-0 2; C. Thomas 3-5 0-1 6; J. Wertz 0-0 0-0 0; A. Satchell 0-1 0-0 0; J. Wejnert 0-1 0-0 0; Q. Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-59 3-6 49. VERMONT 20-11 (13-3) -- B. Voelkel 1-3 3-4 5; S. Carissimo 4-8 0-0 9; F. McGlynn 4-12 6-6 16; M. Glass 6-12 3-4 18; C. Rugg 3-5 3-3 9; B. Bald 0-4 0-0 0; P. Bergmann 5-6 2-2 12; L. Apfeld 1-5 0-0 2; J. Elbaum 0-0 2-4 2; B. Crenca 2-2 2-5 6; R. McKeaney 0-0 0-0 0; C. Santo 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 26-59 22-30 80.
Three-point goals: UMBC 6-21 (B. Neller 5-11; C. Plummer 0-1; R. Cook 1-7; J. Getz 0-1; J. Lane 0-1), UVM 6-18 (M. Glass 3-4; L. Apfeld 0-1; B. Bald 0-2; S. Carissimo 1-2; C. Rugg 0-1; F. McGlynn 2-8); Rebounds: UMBC 21 (C. Plummer 6), UVM 46 (B. Voelkel 10); Assists: UMBC 8 (R. Cook 3), UVM 18 (B. Voelkel 6); Total Fouls -- UMBC 20, UVM 13; Fouled Out: UMBC-C. Plummer; UVM-None.