Herald: Hub Wins Opening Tip-Off - UMass Athletics

Herald: Hub Wins Opening Tip-Off

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Skip Connors combined an intrastate rivalry with an intercity one to create the 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic. Read the full story in the Boston Herald.

On Dec. 4, UMass will rekindle its Commonwealth Classic rivalry with Boston College (6:30 p.m.), and Northeastern will host Philadelphia-based Drexel (4 p.m.) in the doubleheader scheduled for the Garden.

The four Division 1 programs representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (BC), the Atlantic 10 (UMass) and the Colonial Athletic Association (NU, Drexel) will gather for a press conference this morning at the Garden. Proceeds from the Tip-Off Classic will benefit Children's Hospital and Al's Angels, a program that serves the homeless in the Greater Boston area.

Hub wins Opening Tip-Off

By Rich Thompson
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 
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Skip Connors combined an intrastate rivalry with an intercity one to create the 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic.

On Dec. 4, UMass will rekindle its Commonwealth Classic rivalry with Boston College (6:30 p.m.), and Northeastern will host Philadelphia-based Drexel (4 p.m.) in the doubleheader scheduled for the Garden.

The four Division 1 programs representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (BC), the Atlantic 10 (UMass) and the Colonial Athletic Association (NU, Drexel) will gather for a press conference this morning at the Garden. Proceeds from the Tip-Off Classic will benefit Children's Hospital and Al's Angels, a program that serves the homeless in the Greater Boston area.

"We are trying to create a tipoff classic in Boston to be an annual event and I wanted to make it more than a one-game deal," said Connors, the Boston Tip-Off Classic's executive director. "I think we can build excitement with the schools we have here, and our goal is to ultimately bring in national teams and build a national scope."

The intriguing aspect of the select four begins with the coaches.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg was a Minutemen point guard during the program's national surge under John Calipari in the 1990s. Calipari's assistant at UMass was now-Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, who formed a close working relationship with Kellogg. Flint succeeded Calipari as coach in Amherst.

Northeastern coach Bill Coen was an assistant at Boston College under Al Skinner for nine seasons. Skinner, who parted ways with the Eagles following last season, enjoyed a UMass Hall of Fame playing career.

The unrelated kid in the bunch is BC coach Steve Donahue, who took over for Skinner last spring.

"Bruiser was the last UMass coach to get to the NCAA tournament and he was an outstanding mentor and coach," Kellogg said. "I think it is win-win for UMass and BC to play in the Garden, and Bill Coen has done a great job resurrecting the Northeastern program."cw0

Northeastern and Drexel have energized the Boston vs. Philadelphia basketball rivalry at the college level. The game is the CAA season opener for both programs, so the implications extend into March.

The Minutemen are 4-0 at the "new" Garden. The run began with a 65-57 victory over BC before 18,974 in the inaugural Commonwealth Classic on Dec. 9, 1995. The Minutemen invaded the Garden on the blustery night of Dec. 19, 2009, and upset Memphis, 73-72, before 8,096 fans. In yet another branch on the coaching tree, Kellogg was an assistant to Calipari (now at Kentucky) at Memphis before taking over the Minutemen.


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