Middlebury men’s basketball has established itself as one of the top programs in the country. The team competes in arguably the top conference in the nation, the New England Small College Athletic Conferences (NESCAC), with several challenges from strong non-conference opponents.
The program rose to new heights in 2010-11, advancing to the NCAA Final Four with a record of 28-2. The Panthers returned to the NCAA Sectionals the following year, led by two-time All-American and National Player of the Year nominee Ryan Sharry. In 2011-12, the team posted a 25-4 record, advancing to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Panthers now have NCAA Tournament appearances in six of the last eight years, winning NESCAC Championships both in 2009 and 2011.
The 2008-09 team went 24-4 en route to its first NESCAC Championship. The Panthers hosted the tourney in a jam-packed Pepin Gymnasium, as they made their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The NESCAC Player of the Year, Ben Rudin, became the school’s first-ever All-American.
Up-tempo is the key when describing the Middlebury basketball team. Head Coach Jeff Brown’s basketball style of play emphasizes the fast-break and the three-point shot. With such a fast-paced style, the Panthers rely on conditioning and depth.
Middlebury’s team carries between 15 and 16 players, who appear in as many as 24 games during the regular season. Practice begins November 1 and is held daily, with players expected to attend unless there is an academic conflict. Players are generally on the floor for two hours. Combined with preparation and post-practice activity, the total commitment is about three hours a day.