The Streak Part II

My prediction, though open-ended, was not disproven. In fact, I’d even contend it was heard out and then played out.Four weeks ago, after leading scorer Joe Trapani went down with a broken foot, I merely said I wouldn’t put it past the men’s basketball team to win another seven games in a row. Instead, they did me one better: they have since won nine in a row and the end is not in sight.In snagging their ninth straight win (the second streak this season of seven or more straight wins) these Cats also snagged the America East regular season championship, guaranteeing, should they make it as far, home court for the conference championship game.Coach Lonergan’s group is playing some great basketball – not blowing teams out every night, but winning soundly or pulling out games by being in the right place at the right time.And if winning simply is not enough, they did the bulk of the work with their leading scorer from the first half of the season sitting on the sidelines. Out goes Joe Trapani, in comes an entire team, focused, dedicated and ready to play.Well, Trapani returned Wednesday at Maine, the only team in the last 17 games to beat Vermont and instead of losing a close one, the Cats won convincingly, if not handily. Trapani’s fellow freshman and high-flying phenom, Marqus Blakely, led the team in scoring, netting a career-high 24 points, just over a week since returning from an injury himself.While they had won before Trapani broke his foot, they have since won as a deeper and more solid team. They may have gone deep into the bench before Trapani’s injury, but now they can do so with confidence.Sophomore guard Mike Trimboli is leading his team and showing the experience he has gained since his freshman campaign of a year ago.Co-captain Martin Klimes has also stepped up in a big way, contributing and performing well since Trapani and Blakely went down, and appears to have escaped his personal doldrums from earlier in the season.Big man Chris Holm has been playing even bigger than his 6’11” frame all season. He is second in the nation in rebounding, with over 12 a game, helping the Cats also have one of the best rebound margins in the country. If he isn’t a top candidate for America East Player of the Year, I have no idea who else could be.With the team’s overall health on the rebound and overall play becoming steadier, things are definitely peaking at the right time for the Cats.Since they have locked up the top seed in the conference tournament, two wins in Boston will bring the Cats back to Burlington for the conference final, and a chance at another NCAA tournament berth.What a treat it would be to see them back in the Big Dance and making some moves for the rest of the country to see.