Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 8 UMBC Retrievers

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 Maryland, Baltimore County. The whole name really rolls right off the tongue. But, they’re nice people, and they do not mind if you just refer to their school as UMBC. In fact, they would consider it an honor if you would simply refer to them as UMBC in the future. They don’t even roll out the whole “University of Maryland, Baltimore County” name on their website. UMBC works fine for them, and it should work fine for you. And, given the number of different, confusing ways the New York state schools name themselves, UMBC works perfectly fine for me.

When was it founded? 1966. I thought UMBC was young, but wow. UMBC is a teenager in the higher education world. They’re going through high school now, experiencing a growth spurt. Things are kind of awkward and they aren’t sure about that girl in the corner, but they’ll make it through the rough parts and move onto the big world soon. They might need a pat on the back and some words of encouragement every now and again, but they’ll get there. 

Where is it located?  In a surprising twist of Maryland geography, Baltimore County does not actually include Baltimore. Instead, Baltimore proper is an independent city, the largest of its kind in the United States. Baltimore County is the area surrounding the city limits of Baltimore, and UMBC is located in Catonsville. On the facts page of their website, however, they don’t tell you that. They would prefer to just tell you how close they are to the Inner Harbor and the airport. 
It has not yet been determined if a “not from Baltimore” chant would be appropriate. I mean, they aren’t really lying by adding the Baltimore.

How many people go there? 13,199 total. There were 1,426 members of the freshman class of 2011, 74% of whom live on campus. The average freshman SAT score was 1206. All important information.
How big is the campus? 500 acres, a figure that may or may not be rounded. They do have a nice-sounding 41-acre research and technology park next door featuring a start-up incubator, and that makes up for a fake campus size. 

Randy Monroe is the greatest.

Who or what is their mascot? True Grit, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I originally thought it was a golden retriever, and UMBC’s website doesn’t explicitly state it isn’t a golden retriever, so I’m going to go ahead and link this video anyway. It’s Matt Ufford of SB Nation at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show trying to develop a football lineup with dogs. He begins with Air Bud, the classic golden retriever.

Excellent. Also, the pekingese should not have won. Bad call by the judge. I'm sure Randy Monroe would make a great Westminster Kennel Club.

Who is their coach? Randy Monroe, who has held the position since 2004. He is the greatest, and that is all you need to know. 

Where do they play? The Retriever Activities Center, which seats 4,024. It is the 260th largest gymnasium in Division-I, according to KenPom.

Who would be their basic statistic leaders? Sophomore forward Chase Plummer (15.3 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals per game), junior guard Ryan Cook (1.7 assists per game, 0.4 blocks per game)

What are some of the notable wins this team has? vs. Towson, 62-58; at New Hampshire, 82-76

What are some of the notable losses this team has? vs. Loyola (Md.), 73-63; vs. Maine, 77-76; vs. Hartford, 76-70

How did they do against BU? Lost both times, first at BU 83-48, and then at the RAC in Baltimore County, 73-52.

Do they have a win against a token non-Division-I opponent? No, UMBC did not play a team in a lower division. It’s kind of too bad, because they actually could have used the win. An exemption to my usual hatred of teams that pull this trick would be granted to both UMBC and Binghamton. Maybe next year, guys.

Do you have some statistic from KenPom presented without any context whatsoever? 19.5 offensive turnover percentage in conference play 

What about a random factoid from the game notes?
They legitimately offer tips on the whole name thing. Follow these guidelines wisely:
  • The full name of our institution is University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • We prefer to simply be called UMBC.
  • Please use our full name only on first reference if you must use it at all.
  • Our full name has a comma between Maryland and Baltimore; please do NOT use a hyphen.
  • Please do NOT call us Maryland-BC, UM-Baltimore County, Maryland-Baltimore, Maryland-Balt. Co. or Maryland (Baltimore County)
  • Randy Monroe is the greatest.

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