One of the things that Jeff and I promised one another before the beginning of this season was that we wouldn’t take anything this team did for granted. A year ago, we were sure that Middlebury’s championship window had closed — that losing Andrew Locke and Ryan Sharry in consecutive seasons would be too much to overcome. Perhaps we let our emotions get the best of us in the aftermath of Travis Farrell’s buzzer-beater, but it seemed impossible then that Middlebury could be a serious national championship contender in 2012-13. A return to Salem in those hours immediately after Scranton shocked Middlebury seemed unfathomable. We resolved to appreciate the other things that this team would do: the way Nolan Thompson shuts down the opposing team’s best player every night; Joey Kizel’s unmatched resolve in the biggest moments; Jake Wolfin’s full-court vision in transition; Peter Lynch’s impeccable footwork.
Instead, what this team has, and continues to accomplish has amazed us. There will be another time to say a proper thank you to the many different people who made this improbable run possible, but we wanted to take a moment to share our deep appreciation for what this team has already done. Yesterday, Jeff remarked that no fan base in college basketball has it as good as Middlebury. In four years the seniors on this team have all but guaranteed that every game they play will either result in a win or a final play to decide the game. As basketball fans you can ask for nothing more. No team that I have ever been around has played with the same level of consistency and gritty determination as this team has. For Jake Wolfin, Nolan Thompson and Peter Lynch there could have been no better way to finish their careers at Pepin Gymnasium than Saturday’s win. This team has far surpassed our own expectations, but they have never betrayed any sense that their own expectations have been met. James Jensen told me months ago that this team’s primary goal was to return to Salem, and, incredibly, that is exactly what they have done.