The last time Vermont was in the NCAAs in 2005, the Catamounts knocked off Syracuse a win which Vermont says helped build its program.
Asked about the loss to Vermont, Wesley Johnson said, "Honestly, I just know that we lost. That's the only thing I know. I know it's going to be a real big game (Friday) for Coach (Jim Boeheim) and I think all of us coming off a two-game losing streak. So I think it's for us to bounce back."
Senior guard Andy Rautins, however, remembers vividly what happened because he a high school senior at Jamesville-Dewitt High School.
"I think all of Syracuse was destroyed by that game,'' he said. "So this is definitely a little bit -- serves as a little bit of motivation for us, try to redeem ourselves a little bit, not have any letdowns. We know Vermont is certainly a great team. We have a hard week of preparation. We have some good practices in. We're not taking anybody lightly at this point."
The win helped Vermont tremendously with its recruiting.
"When you get recruited by Vermont, that's the first thing that sticks in your mind,'' Marqus Blakely said. "I mean, they just played a hell of a game. And no one really thought that they were going to be able to stay in it. I mean, a lot of people are counting us out (Friday) too. So anything can happen on any given night."
Vermont's Maurice Joseph was committed to Michigan State at the time and the Spartans knocked out Vermont in the next round.
"I was cheering for Michigan State,'' he said. "It was a great story. I remember the media coverage. T.J. (Sorrentine) hitting that shot and Germain (Mopa Njila) had the game of his life that game. People don't remember that. Germain was incredible in that game. I don't think he missed a shot the entire game. So transferring here was -- that game definitely did stick in my mind because I saw them play. They actually played in Vermont my sophomore year. I knew a little bit about the program. So it was -- that game was definitely a staple not only in the basketball program but in the Vermont community as a whole."