Name: University of Maryland Baltimore County, colloquially UMBC
Location: Baltimore County, obviously
That’s not actually helpful: It’s actually in Baltimore, according to their mailing address, less than eight miles from Camden Yards.
Wait, isn’t Baltimore pretty close to Washington, D.C.? Yep, about 40 miles apart.
Don’t they share an airport? Well, kind of. There’s Reagan, which is in Arlington, Virginia. There’s Dulles, which is waaaaay west of D.C. out near where the Washington NFL franchise practices in Ashburn, and then there’s Baltimore/Washington International Airport, which is waaaaaaaaay closer to Baltimore than to D.C. Why do you ask?
Isn’t University of Maryland, as in the Terrapins, near D.C.? Oh, I see where you’re going with this. Yes, it’s in College Park, which is inside the Beltway.
This is one of those things where UMBC started out as something else a long long time ago and eventually got folded into the Maryland system, isn’t it? Welllllll.......
Wait, really? 52 years ago? Yeah. Back in the 1950s, the state realized that there was a need to be able to provide for more people than College Park could possibly support. Thus, in 1963, they began the process of developing new state run universities.
Hey, why is it not Maryland-Baltimore, like Wisconsin-Green Bay? Well, because there already was a Maryland-Baltimore. It was founded in 1807, about 50 years before the university in College Park, and it’s referred to as “The First Campus” of the University System of Maryland. Thus, “Baltimore County” to distinguish the two.
Enrollment: 13,662, with 11,234 undergraduates and 2,428 graduate students
Why “Retrievers?” Oh, this is an easy one. Maryland’s official state dog is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and with Maryland going with Terrapins, this was an easy choice from the founding day forward.
Notable Alumni: actor Johnathon Schaech, most famous for his role in That Thing You Do!; actress Kathleen Turner; Duff Goldman and Geof Manthorne, the stars of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, and Jerome Adams, the current Surgeon General of the United States;
Last Season: They went 25-11 with a 12-4 record in America East play.
Oh, come on now. Okay, okay. They beat Vermont in the America East title game.
Stop it. Fine, fine, fine. #16 seeded UMBC beat the holy hell out of #1 Virginia by the final score of 74-54 and became the first #16 seed to ever defeat a #1 seed in NCAA men’s basketball tournament history. As a result, I will be actively clapping for them during Tuesday night’s introductions, because screw Virginia and screw Tony Bennett and his stupid style of basketball.
Final 2016-17 KenPom Ranking: #166
2018-19 Preseason KenPom Ranking: #234
2018-19 Preseason KenPom Projection: 16-13, with a record of 9-7 in America East play
Returning Stats Leaders
Points: Joe Sherburne, 10.7 points
Rebounds: Arkel Lamar, 5.9 rebounds
Assists: Joe Sherburne, 1.9 assists
Shooters? Yep. Sherburne and Lamar both knocked down over 40% of their threes last season, and both took more than 130 attempts, too. However, it’s reasonable to wonder if they can still get the quality of shots that they got last year with the departures of Jairus Lyles (38%), KJ Maura (45%) and Jourdan Grant (38%) not keeping defense honest.
Bigs? Sophomore Brandon Horvath and senior Nolan Gerrity are the tallest chaps on the roster with both listed at 6’10”. Horvath played just 10 minutes a game last year and had something of a green light to shoot threes with more than one attempt per game He also was a pretty solid rebounder in limited minutes. Gerrity played a little bit more than Horvath (12.3 minutes) and has the makings of a quality traditional big man in terms of his rebounding rates in mostly limited action.
For whatever it’s worth to you, neither guy had an impact on their win over Virginia, with Gerrity playing two minutes and Horvath not playing at all.
Daniel Akin and Max Curran are both 6’9”, with Akin being a quality rotation guy and part-time starter last season. Both have advanced stat profiles that indicate that they could be a problem for Marquette on the glass. Sam Schwietz is also 6’9” and is returning from missing all of last season with an injury. You can add him to the list with Akin and Curran in terms of “looks like he could be a bit of a dude based on his limited minutes in the past” depending on how healed up he is from surgery in December.
Head Coach: Ryan Odom, starting his third season as a full time Division 1 head coach, all at UMBC. He has a record of 46-24 in his two previous seasons, as well as an 8-11 record as interim head coach at Charlotte. He went straight from Charlotte to the top job at Division 2 Lenoir-Rhyne, where he went 21-10 in his lone season before moving on to the Retrievers.
All Time Series: Marquette holds the advantage at 4-0. The most recent meeting was in 2012, and MU won by 33 even though UMBC led 31-30 on a Brett Roseboro (oh man, remember Brett Roseboro?) shot with 17 minutes left.