Name: Mount Saint Mary’s University (formerly known as Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary up until 2004)
Location: Emmitsburg, Maryland in the Catocin Mountains.
Did you just say...: Yeah, they have mountains in Maryland.
Where?? About an hour’s drive northwest of Baltimore. To be fair, it’s also only 20 minutes away from Gettysburg, which is in Pennsylvania, of course, and most of that 20 minutes is actually in Pennsylvania.
Basketball Conference: Northeast Conference (NEC)
Nickname: Mountaineers…they live in the mountains, duh. Not everything has to be rocket science.
Better Nickname: The Mount. There’s really no logical reason to call them Mount Saint Mary’s, that’s a waste of breath. Mountaineers make sense as a nickname, but we’ve heard enough about Mountaineers with West Virginia’s time in the Big East. On Friday night, Marquette is playing The Mount. When your friends ask you who Marquette is playing, you tell them The Mount. If I was President of the school, I would ditch MSMU and Mountaineers and just go straight up with The Mount. Dwayne Johnson is The Rock, Giannis Antetokounmpo is The Greek Freak, Mount Saint Mary’s is The Mount.
Mascot: Emmit S. Burg. I thought this may have been a prestigious founder of the University or something, I did some research, and all I came up with was this guy!
Emmit S. Burg is the city of Emmitsburg deconstructed into a name…get it?! How clever of The Mount.
This would be like giving the Golden Eagle mascot an actual name, like Mill E. Wah-que… shwing. Anyways, this is a good mascot. If there is a man living in the mountains of Emmitsburg, this is probably what he looks like. Solid beard, muscles that are probably derived from chopping wood, and the Davey Crockett coonskin hat pulls it all together. Being from a smaller school, Mr. Burg doesn’t get much run, but he has got to be a local celebrity at The Mount, right? He is… he has a burger named after him at The Mount’s dining services and he is the leader of the Mount Maniacs. His favorite song is “Back In Black” by AC/DC, which I assume he blares while he is camping up in the mountains throwing back some cold ones. The name, the profile, and the look all lead to an A+ mascot.
School Scandal: The Mount had an issue with trying to drown bunnies. No, they weren’t submerging the Easter Bunny under water. In January of 2016, university president, Simon Newman, thought he needed to implement a way to reduce school enrollment by 20-25 students. Mr. Newman thought it would be a great idea to give incoming students a questionnaire to determine mental health, disabilities, and financial support. What could go wrong?!
Wow, Mr. Newman, that is quite the visual metaphor.
He “resigned” in February 2016...
Enough talk about mountain men and bunnies, what is The Mount going to look like on the hardwood?
2016-2017 Season: 20-16 (14-4) #209 in KenPom final rankings. Winners of the NEC regular season and conference tournament. They notched a win over New Orleans in the NCAA tournament First Four round, before falling to Villanova in the Round of 64 in a game where they led by 8 points early in the contest.
2017-2018 Preview: #269 in the KenPom preseason rankings.
Coach: Jamion Christian (6th season, 83-81)
Key Returning Players:
Chris Wray: 6’8” Senior- 7.0 ppg
Junior Robinson: 5’5 (that is short!) Senior – 14.1 ppg
Greg Alexander: 6’5” Senior – 7.7 ppg
Miles Wilson – 11.8 ppg, transferred to Miami
Elijah Mitrou-Long- 15.0 ppg, transferred to Texas
Mawdo Sallah: 6.1 ppg, transferred to Kansas State
The Mount was in position to return all the key contributors to their 2017 NCAA tournament team, and then transfers happened. You can’t blame the trio for taking the opportunity to play their final year(s) in a major conference. Smaller schools can often be used as a springboard for players to impress enough to earn attention from schools that had no interest in originally recruiting them. Coach Christian had to get to work quickly to replace these players on the roster, which leads to him having 8 true freshmen and 2 redshirt freshmen on the team this year. This is the youngest roster in the conference, and I assume one of the youngest in the nation.
They will rely heavily on the young guys to play significant minutes immediately. However, the returning core of Wray, Robinson, and Alexander is a good one. The offense will run through senior, Junior Robinson. Although small in stature, he is an explosive offensive player. The Mount has a chance to contend in the NEC this year if they can get their freshman up to speed by conference play. Marquette will be catching them at a good time, as they will likely experience early season growing pains. The returning players from The Mount can shoot the ball, but Marquette should be able to key on their main playmakers and force the younger guys to beat them. This would make for a much more interesting match-up had the transfers not have happened, but they did, and Marquette should be able to take this one even if Markus Howard is unable to play due to a sprained ankle.
Season Openers: Marquette is 84-16 (.845) all-time is season opening games.