Men’s Basketball

MAINE vs. VERMONT

Time, site: Thursday, 7 p.m., Cross Insurance Center, Bangor

Records: UMaine 4-11, Vermont 10-5

Series, last meeting: UMaine leads 70-64; Vermont 99-82 on 3/2/2016

Key players: UMaine — 6-2 G Wes Myers (13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds per game), 6-7 F Andrew Fleming (10.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg), 6-7 F Marko Pirovic (7.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg); Vermont — 6-8 F Peyton Henson (13.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg), 6-7 F Anthony Lamb (11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), 6-2 G Trae Bell-Haynes (10.2 ppg, 3.7 apg), 6-3 G Ernie Duncan (10.1 ppg 2.7 rpg)

Outlook: The conference opener is about as challenging as it can get for UMaine, as Vermont was the America East coaches’ preseason pick to win the conference title and the Black Bears were picked to finish last. UMaine has dropped its last eight games against the Catamounts, most recently in the 2016 America East quarterfinals. The Black Bears’ last win in the series was on Jan. 22, 2013. UMaine has dropped five games in a row this season, allowing 84.6 ppg. The status of Fleming, the three-time America East Rookie of the Week, is uncertain after he suffered an apparent sprained right ankle during the second half of Maine’s 98-73 loss to Columbia on Monday. Vermont capped off its nonconference schedule with an 82-71 win over Harvard on Monday, with 6-8 senior forward Darren Payen coming off the bench to contribute a team-high 21 points and six rebounds in just 20 minutes. Coach John Becker has guided Vermont to at least 20 victories in each of his first five years in charge of the Catamounts. UMaine heads to 9-4 Maryland Baltimore County on Sunday and returns to the Cross Insurance center to face 5-9 UMass Lowell on Jan. 11.