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Mid-Major Madness Year in Review: Vermont Restores Faith in Mid-Majors

Vermont had no business pushing a top 10 team in the country to the brink. But the Catamounts did just that against Duke leading to a lengthy apology to our mid-major fans.

No, I want to play with the ball
No, I want to play with the ball
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke was a top 10 team in the country; Vermont wasn't even receiving votes. Most people hadn't even picked the Catamounts to do much in the America East conference.

So this was going to be far from a potential tournament matchup, or a even a game at all, right? This is Cameron Indoor Stadium in November. The Blue Devils don't lose to nonconference opponents at home, before Thanksgiving.

And yet Vermont pushed Duke to the brink, hanging on when things looked bleakest. 

Of course I didn't watch much of the game -- only the last few minutes really -- because this game shouldn't have been close.

And then it was.

And then there was the the 4-point play by Candon Rusin:


So here I was trying to figure out what to say about a game I hadn't seen. Well, there is always room for a good apology and a strong recap of the final four minutes though right?

The thing that stood out most to me about this one is that when you cover teams like Vermont, or any mid-major, even down to the SWAC, your view of the college basketball changes. You tend to always believe there is a chance, even when there might not be.

I should have known better than to just write Vermont off. I watch too many teams that have the ability to pull a big upset on any given night.

This game reminded me of that, and was a lot of fun to watch down the stretch.

Here is the Vermont apology, once again.