ESPN Summer Shootaround: Atlantic 10 - UMass Athletics

ESPN Summer Shootaround: Atlantic 10

ESPN writers Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) and Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) provided various opinions and other factoids on the 13-team Atlantic 10 for the 2013-14 season. There is also an ESPN Insider column by Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) where he lists his power rankings for the league.

Eamonn provided his 'Best' and 'Worst' scenarios for each school and here's what he had to say about the Minutemen:
Best case: UMass loved to run these past two seasons, which made sense, given the quick-twitch skills of generously listed 5-foot-9 point guard Chaz Williams. Expect more of the same this season, minus senior forward Terrell Vinson. If lanky 6-9 junior Raphiael Putney puts it together, the Minutemen might turn their preference to play as fast as any team in the country into a decided strategic advantage.
Worst case: At the end of the day, if you finish ranked 82nd in points per possession and 115th against (as UMass did in 2012-13, per Pomeroy), hitting the 70 possessions per game mark is less a tactic than a stylistic preference.

And here is Jeff Goodman's take on the Minutemen, who he ranks fourth in the A-10 Power Rankings, behind VCU, Saint Louis and La Salle.
The Atlantic 10 was all-powerful a year ago after commissioner Bernadette McGlade added VCU and Butler. Now, one season later, it's not quite as top heavy after the departure of the Bulldogs, Xavier, Temple and Charlotte. However there's still plenty of quality depth in the league, which now totals 13 teams after the addition of George Mason.

4. Massachusetts Minutemen
Derek Kellogg returns one of the league's top players in diminutive point guard Chaz Williams, and he also adds a proven piece in transfer scoring guard Derrick Gordon. The former Western Kentucky Hilltopper averaged 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Hilltoppers as a freshman two seasons ago. The key for the Minutemen could be the play of 6-foot-10 junior Cady Lalanne, who needs to become more consistent. That's three frontline guys, with quality veteran role players such as Sampson Carter and Raphiael Putney returning to the mix.

Note: The link is only complete for ESPN Insider subscribers but I've included the info about UMass here as a bonus.