Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 2 Vermont Catamounts

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? The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, though the University of Vermont works just as well.  Technically, it is the only state university in Vermont, but there are five other “state colleges” that receive public funding. When you compare this to the size of the SUNY system, you realize Vermont is a tiny state. 

Does it have some sort of geographically confusing acronym? Why, yes it does. The commonly used abbreviation for the University of Vermont is “UVM.” According to Wikipedia and the university website, UVM stands for Universitas Viridis Montis, which is Latin for University of the Green Mountains. However, UVM may have once led the author of this post to believe the school was in Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. It is not, something this author did not find out for a very long time. He also did not find out for a very long time how pretentious it is to refer to oneself in the third person.

Wait--that was confusing. Where is it located? Burlington. Do not doubt this, and always remember I have very little idea of what I’m talking about. The University of Vermont is located in Burlington, a nice city of approximately 40,000 people. Do you enjoy Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream? That all was started in a gas station in Burlington. Vermont is awesome.

When was it founded? 1791. Only Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown are older schools in New England. Those Vermonters, they figured out this higher education thing early. 

How many people go there? 13,488. The official website of the university offers this tidy breakdown, which we present here for your inspection. Always good to know Vermont does not have students from every state. 

Total enrollment: 13,488
Undergraduate students: 10,459
Graduate students: 1,540
Medical students: 449
Post-baccalaureate certificate students: 17
Non-degree (CE) students: 1,023
Undergraduates enrolled from 48 states
347 international students from approximately 50 countries

Not to harp on this whole geography thing because, frankly, you’re really not all that good at it, but how big is the campus? The University of Vermont is spread over 460 acres of land in, again, Burlington. We remind you, once again, that Burlington is a different place from Montpelier. There are six sections of the campus, with three additional complexes, a business park and a place. A handy map of the whole thing can be found here

Who or what is their mascot? Rally the Catamount. Rally is a popular--

HOLD UP! What’s a catamount? ARE THEY REAL? *Sigh* They always ask. I’ll turn to the official website of the  Vermont Athletic Department for an answer:
On February 6, 1926, the UVM Cynic (the student newspaper) asked undergraduates whether they wanted a mascot and offered a ballot with lynx, wildcat, or other as options. They recevied [sic] a limited response. So, they tried again with a vote later in the year. Only male students were allowed to vote and the ballot this time included tomcat, camel, cow, or catamount. Catamount won by a vote of 138-126.Since that vote in 1926, the University of Vermont athletic teams have been nicknamed the Catamounts after a legendary mountain cat found in the state's Green Mountains. The species is believed to be extinct in the state since the mid-1800's.

Just one other Division I school shares the Catamount nickname - Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, North Carolina.”

Please tell me their coach is not a catamount. Why no, he is not. He’s John Becker, a perfectly normal human basketball coach in his first season at UVM. Before he became the head coach last May, he was an assistant under his predecessor, Mike Lonergan. According to his official biography, he was also once a color commentator for Division-III basketball, a job we can only assume requires a great deal of passion and dedication. I mean, would you ever be an analyst for small college basketball?

Where do they play? Patrick Gymnasium, where 3,266 fans can enjoy Catamount basketball. There are five different 360 degree views of Patrick Gym avalible on Vermont’s website, so even you can feel exactly what it is like to enjoy Vermont basketball. It is the 284th largest gym in Division-I, according to KenPom. 

Who would be their basic statistical leaders? Senior forward Matt Glass (11.9 points per game), sophomore forward Brian Voelkel (8.3 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per game), sophomore forward Luke Apfeld  (0.4 blocks per game)

How did they do this year? 20-11, 13-3 in America East.

What is their rank in the conference tournament? No. 2. Vermont will play No. 7 Maine on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. in Hartford.

What are some of their notable wins? Vs. Stony Brook, 68-49;

What are some of their notable loses? Vs. Harvard, 55-48; vs. Quinnipiac, 62-58; vs. Northeastern, 53-51; at Binghamton, 57-53 (I have no idea how that happened either)

How did they do against BU? 2-0. Vermont opened BU’s conference schedule by handing them an 83-69 loss in Burlington. The Catamounts then beat the Terriers at Agganis, 68-67, almost a month later, holding off a late run from BU after Vermont had lead by double digits. 

Do they have a token non-Division-I opponent? No, the Catamounts did not use that trick this year to get a win. Their effort should be applauded. 

Do you have some statistic from KenPom presented without any context whatsoever? 35.2 offensive rebounding percentage 

What about a random factoid from the game notes? Freshman guard Four McGlynn’s real name is Patrick McGlynn IV. I understand how disappointed you are right now. I cried that much too when I found this out. Everything will be okay.

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