UMass is giving up a scheduled home game against rival Boston College in order for the two teams to play Dec. 4 in the Garden as part of the first Boston Tip-Off Classic. Why make the trip to the road team's city instead? The attraction of being able to promote the program and college basketball on the parquet floor was too good to pass up.
"Our goal is to make New England and the Boston area the epicenter of college basketball where for maybe one day in every year, this is the place where college basketball happens," UMass coach Derek Kellogg told reporters.
"To give up a home game is tough for a college coach, but at the same token, to be able to come and play in this event, to have the venue and to have a little nostalgia of a Boston College-UMass game in the Garden is something that as a coach, I don't think you can turn down. Let UMass fans know -- the 200-something thousand that live within a five-hour ride of Boston -- that we're doing this for you.
"To give up a home game I think is worth it for our fans. We want to be known as the state school."
UMass is 4-0 at the TD Garden, pulling off an upset of Memphis in the building last season.