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Countdown to tip-off - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Countdown to tip-off

Wednesday, November 9th

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The college basketball season at the University of Vermont tips off this weekend.  

The men, under first year head coach John Becker, opens on the road Saturday at Big East school South Florida.  Becker is excited about what lies ahead, but knows that his young team is still far from a finished product.

The Cats roster features just two seniors, Vermonters Matt Glass and Pat Bergmann, and two juniors, co-captain Brendan Bald and big man Ben Crenca.  It's a young squad, but several of the returning sophomores, Brian Voelkel of course, but also Luke Apfeld and Sandro Carissimo, saw significant playing time as freshman.  Now all of these players will be looked upon to step into new rolls and take on greater responsibilities as the program opens a new chapter.

The Vermont women hope they've turned the page on a difficult first year under coach Lori Gear McBride.  The Ladycats tip off the new season Friday night on the road at Columbia, before playing their home opener next Wednesday night against Fairfield at Patrick Gym.  

With one of the youngest rosters in the country and a brutal non-conference schedule, the Cats struggled to a 5-25 record last season.  

Now, the freshman and sophomores of a season ago are a year older, so there is a new level of experience.  And the Cats are getting help from a highly regarded recruiting class as well as junior guard Shanai Heber, the transfer from Seton Hall that had to sit out last season.  Combine it all together and you have a group committed to bringing the program back to the high level of success it has achieved in recent years.

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