Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 5 New Hampshire Wildcats

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

Welcome to Know Thy Foe, a new feature appearing twice daily this week in advance of the America East men’s basketball tournament. Know The Foe will help you, an undereducated fan of America East basketball, become an expert on every team in the conference. It's also possible you'll know less than when you began reading this. A 50-50 proposition, to be honest. 

What is the name of this school? It’s really nice and simple: the University of New Hampshire. So basic and classy, and I cannot think of any technicalities that would make it confusing or interesting at all. I kind of like it because of this. 

When was it founded? 1866, making it moderately old. It is a land-, sea- and space-grant school. I did not know the third option existed. Does this mean they have rights to build a space station? Will they soon be opening a campus on the moon? Is there an asteroid named after UNH? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE LIMITLESS, as long as the universe is expanding. 

Where is it located? Durham, New Hampshire, a town that always looks nice when I ride the train through it. There are some brick buildings, some trees, some hills and it always looks so collegiate through the long Amtrak windows. So much better than Exeter or Dover, the two other stops for the Amtrak Downeaster in New Hampshire.

How big is the campus? 2,600 rural acres. If you’re worried about not being able to connect to the Internet while on UNH’s campus, here’s a map showing their wireless access points. If you would like to know where you can go on campus to be active, try this map. And if you’ve ever wanted to see UNH on Google Earth instead of, you know, actually visiting, follow this link. Never believe rural means technologically inept. 

How many people attend UNH? The total enrollment is 14,596. Here are some fast facts, just so you can know a little more about UNH. 11,942 of those are undergrads. 55 percent are female and 45 percent are male. 20 percent are in the top tenth of their high school graduating class. The median SAT score is 1100. They have a comma in that number on their website. I’m not entirely sure why. 

Who or what is their mascot? UNH has not one, but two costumed mascots and they both look almost exactly the same. Both Wild E. Cat and Gnarlz are Wildcats, and both were introduced by the University in the 2000s. Wild E. Cat is the lighter mascot, designed for children and people who like bland things. Gnarlz is the more adventurous one, aimed at the student body because if there is anything that gets college kids going, it’s a furry, cartoonish Wildcat. 

UNH also once had a live mascot, which is always the coolest. It’s a shame they no longer have one. 

Who is their coach?  Bill Herrion is in his seventh season as the Wildcats' coach. His bio on UNH’s website says he is one of the most successful coaches in America East history, which is a pretty big claim to make. His son Ryan plays on the team, but has only been in for 30 minutes this year and scored only four points. I feel like that would be the worst. Your dad is the coach and he doesn’t play you? I would hate that. I feel kind of sorry for the kid.

Where do they play? Lundholm Gymnasium, which seats 3,000. It is the 303rd largest gym in Division-I according to KenPom. I saw it on TV this Sunday, when UNH played Binghamton, and it looks a lot like Case Gym. A small place that could easily do double duty as a large high school gym. I’m honestly surprised it seats almost a third more than The Roof. New Hampshire does have these weird marks in the corners of the court, and I’m not sure what they were all about. One looked like a shamrock. An explanation would be nice. 

Who are their basic statistical leaders? Senior guard Alvin Abreu (13.8 points per game, 1.0 steals per game), senior forward Brian Benson (8.4 rebounds per game, 0.9 blocks per game), junior guard Chandler Rhoads  (2.8 points per game)

Does this team have any notable wins? Vs. Vermont, 72-65;

Does this team have any notable loses? At Boston College, 67-64; vs. Loyola (Md.), 66-60

How did they do against BU? The Terriers got revenge for their loss last year in Durham, winning 52-50. But the Wildcats bit back at Case Gymnasium, upsetting the Terriers 56-54. 

Do they have a token non-Division-I opponent? Why yes, they do. Will Suffolk University please stand up and accept its check for an 85-64 loss to UNH? Thank you for starting the Wildcats off with a victory, the only time their record was above .500 this year. Maybe next time you'll win, Rams. Maybe next time.

Do you have some statistic from KenPom presented without any context whatsoever? 28.5 defensive 3-point percentage 

What about a random factoid from the game notes? There is a section on how many rebounds senior center Brian Benson has in his career entitled Windex. I’m certain S.C. Johnson has no problems with that at all. 

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