It seems as though the Vermont Catamounts peaked at the wrong time this season. When they put together 10 straight conference wins in January and February, they were one of the hottest teams in the nation. Unfortunately, in the world of mid-majors, NCAA tournament bids are not decided in January of February (see: Why the Conference Tournament System Sucks). They are decided in March. Fortunately, NIT bids are decided in the first two months of the calendar year.
After getting absolutely pummeled by Stony Brook, 69-47, the Cats get their consolation prize of heading to the NIT. It's not the NCAA tournament, but it sure isn't the CBI either (with all due respect to college basketball's newest postseason tournament). Maybe they can even string together a couple of wins in the NIT to make some waves across the country.
That would be unlikely considering how poorly the Cats have played in the last few games, particularly today against Stony Brook (and even more unlikely considering nobody watches or cares about the NIT). Vermont made Stony Brook look like the best team they played all season (aside from maybe BYU). When they cut the game to 34-40 midway through the second half, it felt like it was inevitable that UVM would climb all the way back. Instead, Stony Brook continued to show a great deal of composure, particularly on the defensive end, and was able to build a comfortable lead down the stretch.
There really isn't a lot more to say about the game. The Catamounts got outplayed, plain and simple.
At least we get to see Joey Accaoui, Garrett Kissel, and Evan Fjeld throw the jerseys on for at least one more game. Fjeld dealt with a mysterious but nagging hip injury throughout the game. Hopefully that won't keep him from playing in his last collegiate game(s) in the NIT. I guess Rick Barnes shouldn't be all that worried about getting matched up with Vermont after all.
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