ESPN Insider: Wichita State, UMass among top mid-major teams in 2013-14 - UMass Athletics
ESPN Insider: Wichita State, UMass among top mid-major teams in 2013-14
ESPN Insider writer John Gasaway posted his Top 5 mid-major teams and has UMass at number two behind Wichita State.
With conference realignment now an established fact, many of the usual suspects from past lists of "top mid-majors" are nowhere to be found. Butler, Creighton and Xavier are all in the Big East, while Memphis and Temple now do what they do in the American.
If you scanned that list of heavy hitters and wondered who's left to carry the mid-major flag, fear not. The "small" schools are well represented with big talent in 2013-14.
And his part about the Minutemen...
2. UMass Minutemen 8-0, Atlantic-10
There are few -- if any -- teams nationally that have exceeded expectations to the degree that UMass has this season, with exhibit A being a perfect 4-0 record against major-conference opponents (Boston College, LSU, Nebraska, Clemson). You've heard of Chaz Williams, the Minutemen's 5-foot-9 senior point guard, and rightfully so. Williams has lowered his turnover rate and increased the number of fouls that he draws, while maintaining his high level of accuracy (80 percent) at the line.
But unless you're a hard-core fan, you probably aren't giving the proper amount of credit to Cady Lalanne. The 6-10 junior is one of the nation's most effective offensive rebounders, and his 10 offensive boards against New Mexico (to go along with four blocks) were just a taste of what's in store for A-10 rivals.
In recent seasons, the Minutemen have been known for coach Derek Kellogg's accelerated tempo, and this season his men are playing as fast as ever. What's changed is that now UMass is getting good looks in transition without allowing those same opportunities to opponents. With the Minutemen, VCU, Saint Louis, Dayton and George Washington all looking strong, it's shaping up to be a fun and highly competitive season in the A-10.
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