John Becker previews UVM’s match-up with UMBC

Tipoff Saturday is at noon
Tipoff Saturday is at noon
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 10:49 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - We’ve reached the point of the schedule where UVM is facing teams for a second time, and they’ll face UMBC for the second time this month on Saturday.

The Catamounts and Retrievers squared off in Baltimore back on new Years Day, in what was frankly a dominant game by UVM. The Cats led wire-to-wire, and John Becker tied the program wins record at the time. If that feels like a long time ago, it’s because in college hoops, four weeks is a long time - a lot can change. UVM was 6-8 heading into that game, and is now above .500 for the first time since early November.

But a lot has changed on the other sideline, too. UMBC was a quick-firing, high-motored offensive team that has since slowed things down a bit and taken better care of the ball. So, while the Cats certainly played well the first time these two squared off, Becker says he doesn’t see the exact same UMBC team from that first matchup.

“They’re the best offensive team in the league, we’re the best defensive team in the league, so it’ll be that type of battle. The first time we saw them, they play so fast - they still play fast - but from a tempo standpoint, they were first in the country the first time we played them. Their shot selection has been much better, they’re playing through the post much more, their numbers actually, they’re 7th in the league from the three point line, which was something the first time we played them was a big point of emphasis. They found more balance, they are willing to play into the shot clock, they’re definitely, like every team, getting better, I think we’ll see a different team.”