Friday, March 18, 2011

On To The Next One

When you're sitting on the couch for the second day of first round tournament games, it is really difficult to imagine the beginning of the next college basketball season, let alone the next round of the tournament. But that's exactly what I'm trying to do here on From the Parking Lot, because Vermont has beefed up its non-conference schedule for next season. It was announced Wednesday that Vermont will play in the 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament the week before Thanksgiving. Other entrants include Old Dominion, South Florida, Penn State, Kentucky, Long Island, Marist, and Radford. Four of those teams were part of this year's NCAA tournament (though two of them have already been knocked out).

Before we get too excited about having a shot at Kentucky or Penn State, the tournament works like this: Vermont plays Marist while Long Island plays Radford, and the next day the winners play each other and the losers play each other. The other four teams -- the ones that would do wonders for Vermont's RPI -- play the same format. Then the tournament ends without the teams in Vermont's bracket having a shot at the teams in Kentucky's bracket. However -- and I hope you aren't confused already, because here's the kicker -- ODU, Kentucky, South Florida, and Penn State will each host two additional games on their own campus. Vermont will get to travel to South Florida on on November 12th and to Old Dominion on November 23rd. The games sandwich the tip-off tournament.

The games will be a good early season test for the 2011-2012 Catamounts, who should have a lot of holdover players from this year's squad, but will be without key contributors Evan Fjeld, Joey Accaoui, and Garrett Kissel. Hopefully they can get games with UConn and BYU again, and then we'll really be talking.

Expect to see my own projections of next year's starting lineup for Vermont by the end of the week.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the highlights of Vermont's NIT showdown with Cleveland State, that's a must-see. I listened on the radio. The last two shots from the Catamounts could not be done justice over the radio, even by our great play-by-play man, Rob Ryan.

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