A look back: the history of Catamounts in the NCAA tournament

As the Men’s basketball team prepare for the matchup against the 4 seeded Purdue tonight, we take a look back at some of the Catamounts historical achievements.

Defeating Syracuse in the 2005 tournament tops the list.

OLIVER POMAZI/The Vermont Cynic

Then 13 seeded Catamounts faced 4 seeded Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2005. This year, the Catamounts are the 13th seed, facing a 4 seeded Purdue.

As an underdog in the tournament in 2005, the Catamounts played without nerves. Syracuse was known for their ferocious zone defense.

Aside from being one of the best programs in college basketball, Vermont head coach Tom Brennan and the rest of the team prepared for the biggest game of their lives.

1-9 three point shooting headlined the first half for the Catamounts. However, sloppy play from the Orange kept the Cats in the game. After a close second half, in which the Cats outscored the Orange 32-28, they forced an overtime battle.

With a little over a minute remaining in overtime, and a one point Catamount lead, senior TJ Sorrentine connected on a deep three pointer to give the Cats a 4 point lead.

The Cats were able to hold on and win the game 60-57 and shock the country. No one expected the Syracuse Orange to lose in the first round, especially against a low radar team from Vermont.

Another notable Catamount win came in the 2012 tournament. The Cats defeated number 16 Lamar 71-59 in the first four, before losing to North Carolina in the first official round.  

Since then,  the Cats have found success in America East, but have not been able to crack the tournament until this season.

After finishing the regular season with a 16-0 conference record, the Cats dominated the first two rounds of the America East playoffs. They defeated University of Maine and University of New Hampshire by an average of 39 points.   

Now that UVM is back in the tournament for the first time since 2012, John Becker and the Cats are focused on another upset.

The Catamounts visited Purdue last season, suffering a 107-79 loss.

The Purdue Boilers have experience in the tournament. They know the atmosphere, the excitement, the schedule, and what to expect from the opposition.

The Boilers have appeared in 28 NCAA tournaments, eight of which have been in the past ten years. The Boilers most notable tournament was back in 1969 when they made it to the National Championship game.

They lost to UCLA in the National Championship. Since then, the Boilers have made it to the sweet sixteen or further eight times.

The Purdue Boilers head into the tournament with experience against top programs, most notably matchups with Villanova, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Michigan State. They look to extend their 35 tournament wins (24th most in tournament history) this year.  

The Boilers also endured their fair share of struggles in the tournament. The past few seasons have been headlined by early tournament exits. The Boilers lost by one point to Cincinnati in the second round of the 2015 tournament, followed by a two point defeat to Little Rock in the first round of last years tournament.

It is safe to say the past few years have left a bad taste in the Boilers mouths. Head coach Matt Painter will have his guys focused and ready to face the Catamounts come Thursday.

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 7:27pm on TruTV.