Tuesday, March 15, 2011
When They Kick Out Your Front Door, How You Gonna Come?
It's been a long time since Vermont played a game that impressed this fan. Tomorrow would make it a month. Yes, it was actually February 16th when Vermont clinched the America East regular season championship in Orono, ME -- that title, of course, is the reason Vermont is playing in the first round of the NIT tonight at 7 ET against Cleveland State. Their subsequent slide following that game in Maine is why they are not playing in the NCAA tournament on Thursday. Vermont has lost three of their last four games and their lone victory was against lowly Binghamton.
Tonight is a chance for Vermont to go down swinging. It is sad that seniors Evan Fjeld, Joey Accaoui, and Garrett Kissel won't have the send off they deserve -- an NCAA tournament bid -- but at least they can say they made it last year. This team proved everyone wrong this year by winning the regular season title after losing 4 out of their 5 starters from last year's NCAA tournament team (Fjeld being the only returning starter). After struggling mightily down the stretch, you can bet that the Cats are eager to win a game or two in the NIT, which is no easy feat.
The Cats take on a good Cleveland State team and do-everything-man Norris Cole (21.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.6 APG). He averages 6 rebounds a game -- as a 6'1'' guard. Hopefully Brendan Bald's ankle is feeling better than it has been, because the Cats will need his defense.
It's time for these Catamounts to show some resiliency and start playing basketball like we know they can. Because when they kick out your front door, how you gonna come? With your hands on your head, or on the trigger of your gun?
You can make your own sense out of that one.