Had they been wearing different uniforms, New Hampshire might have been taken a little more seriously this season. The America East coaches knew better, of course, picking the Wildcats second behind Vermont, with three of the eight who were not Bill Herrion putting New Hampshire first.
That, of course, is a long, long way from most of the history of the program, which can’t really be called checkered because there aren’t enough successful data points to offset the 19 (?!?) straight losing seasons from 1995-2014. The Wildcats only had one winning campaign in the previous decade to that as well, so it probably goes without saying they’ve never been to the NCAA Tournament (becoming Division I in 1977).
Maine and Hartford have been in Division I basketball for a combined six decades (Maine joined in 1977, Hartford in 1984), and have a grand total of zero NCAA Tournament appearances between them, so while many coaches and programs talk about “upholding the tradition”, what do you do when there’s not much to work with?
Maine has had just one winning record in its last 12 seasons (2009-10), but there’s a little to talk about there, as Dr. John Giannini – who went to the Sweet 16 with La Salle in 2013 – went 24-7 in 1999-2000 before they lost at Mike Brey and Delaware in the America East semifinals. Giannini had one more 20-win season in Orono, losing at Vermont in the conference final in 2003-04, before heading to Philadelphia.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – If you walked into Chase Family Arena with five minutes left in Wednesday’s game between UMass Lowell and Hartford, you’d be excused for thinking you’d stumbled upon a high school game.
With George Blagojevic and Jack Hobbs already fouled out, Hartford coach John Gallagher called upon sophomore walk-on Mark Plousis. At 6’5”, Plousis probably played plenty of post at Cardinal O’Hara in Philadelphia (the same high school Gallagher attended), but when he was the tallest player on the floor in a Division I basketball player for either team in crunch time, it was more than a little strange.
College basketball is finally upon us and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Connecticut 6 (CT6) basketball tournament, an event that allows the 6 mid-major Division I teams from the Nutmeg State to face off in three games. Continue reading →