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New Hampshire coach Dick Umile is not only happy to have his Wildcats team in this year’s NCAA tournament, but he’s also excited by the personalities that surround him.

In addition to the BC coaching staff that Umile knows well, he also has long-time friend Joe Marsh, head coach of St. Lawrence, in the Manchester regional.

“I think the exciting part for me personally is the relationship with the coaches,” said Umile. “I think the coaches along with the student-athletes make this profession exciting. You have some great people here. Joey Marsh and Jerry York are two of the finest coaches in the country and they are very, very well respected and I kind of grew up with them in the Boston area.”

Marsh actually has tie to the both the BC and UNH programs, having played at BC for one season before transferring and finishing his career as a Wildcat (he graduated in 1973, three years after Umile).

Umile also had kind words for his first-round opponent, Miami coach Enrico Blasi.

“I think [Blasi] is one of the top young coaches in the country,” said Umile. “He’s been coaching seven years and he’s still a young guy who is a special talent.”

Home away from home

Despite the fact that UNH is hosting this weekend’s Northeast Regional, the UNH players are treating this like a road game in order to stay focused. The team is staying at a Manchester-area hotel, despite the fact that campus is only about 45 minutes away.

“It is close to our campus, but at the same time we came here a day early and we are staying at the hotel,” said senior forward Josh Ciocco. “Road trips are good — sometimes they can really bring a team together, but at the same time it is nice to be close and have the comforts of home and be in similar surrounding. You kind of get the best of both worlds.”

The biggest “comfort” that the Wildcats will get all weekend is fan support. As of Friday afternoon, less than 500 tickets remained for Saturday’s game and you can expect many of them to be clad in Wildcat blue.