Early season matchups benefit Division I teams, small-college foes

Life on the road is a perennial reality for rural small-college basketball teams like the University of Maine at Fort Kent Bengals.

Few opponents want to make the long trip to northernmost Maine when the weather potentially is at its worst, particularly when the host is thriving — Tom Bird’s UMFK squad went 23-9 and reached the semifinals of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national tournament last winter.

Such success leaves this year’s team with just six home contests within a 32-game schedule that begins this Saturday and Sunday at a preseason tournament hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island.

By the time the Bengals complete that slate with an eye toward qualifying for either USCAA or NAIA Division II postseason play — UMFK has rejoined the NAIA ranks this year for the first time since 2010 — the team will have played in nine different states as well as this weekend’s two-game sojourn to Atlantic Canada.

The Fiddlehead Focus / St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Early season matchups benefit Division I teams, small-college foes,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Ernie Clark, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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