NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – We have long since established that the non-conference season means next to nothing for NEC teams, this season even more so than usual with parity abound. However, that zero next to Central Connecticut in the win column was still an eyesore at this point of the season.
Add the fact that of the 351 Division I basketball teams in this great country, only five had yet to win a game, and it grew harder to look at with each passing day.
With UConn and Yale next on the schedule, 69-years-young Howie Dickenman was well aware that a home loss Friday night to UMass Lowell likely meant that his Blue Devils would enter conference play 0-11, and so – now feeling much better after a health scare earlier in the season – he was out leading the warmup himself 45 minutes prior to tip, urging his players to up the tempo.
There are few positive things that come from being ineligible for the NCAA Tournament for a Division I basketball coach, but one of them might be a little ease on the pressure that most of their other brethren in the coaching fraternity feel.
This is doubly so for UMass Lowell coach Pat Duquette, whose team (due to the transition period from Division II to Division I) won’t be a contender for the America East championship until 2018. Add that to the fact that Duquette was forced to replace almost everyone from last season’s surprising team that went 8-8 in its inaugural season in America East and was picked dead last again this season.