The Massachusetts men's basketball team closes out its season-best four-game homestand with a nationally-televised contest
against St. Bonaventure.
The Minutemen were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll of coaches and media. St. Bona was picked 12th. Last season, UMass went 9-7 and SBU went 7-9.
This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,220-1,072 (.537) in 2,292 games. UMass is 449-308 (.593) in conference games, including a 285-288 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference championships and five tournament titles.
The 2013-14 season marks the sixth for head coach Derek Kellogg ... Kellogg starred as a point guard for the Minutemen from 1992-95, playing for coach John Calipari ... Kellogg spent a year as a graduate assistant with Bruiser Flint at UMass, two years at George Mason with Jim Larranaga and eight at Memphis with Calipari, culminating with the 2008 NCAA Runner-up season ... UMass' win totals under Kellogg have gone 12, 12, 15, 25 and 21 last season with a second-consecutive NIT appearance.
GENERAL RPI & SOS INFO
As we get ready to begin conference play, a check of the various RPI numbers shows UMass is ranked No. 5 by ESPN Insider RPI, CBS Sports, RealTimeRPI.com and StatSheet.com, No. 24 by Jeff Sagarin and No. 28 by Ken Pomeroy.
The Minutemen's strength of schedule is No. 1 by ESPN, No. 7 by CBS, No. 8 by RealTime RPI, No. 13 by Stat Sheet, No. 19 by Jeff Sagarin and No. 39 by Ken Pomeroy.
UMass leads the all-time series 39-
21. That includes margins of 20-7 in
Amherst, 1-0 in Springfield, 15-13 in St.
Bonaventure, and 3-1 in four Atlantic 10
Tournament games in Philadelphia and
Atlantic City. UMass has won two of the
three overtime games in the series - all
of which have been played in New York.
The series dates back to the 1980-81
season when the Bonnies claimed both
meetings - 97-79 in Amherst and 104-80
SBU won nine of the first 16 meetings
before UMass reeled off 20-consecutive
wins from 1989-98. The Bonnies won
eight of 12 from `99-04 and UMass has
since owned an 8-4 edge dating back
Feb. 2004 - but just two of the last six.
UMass is 10-1 against Saint Joseph's when playing as a ranked team.
As a ranked team, UMass is 7-1 against
SBU and 4-0 at home.
CHAZ VS. THE BONNIES
UMass senior G Chaz Williams will be
facing St. Bonaventure for the fourth
time in his career on Saturday. Over the
three previous games, he has averaged 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.3 steals,
while shooting 40 pct. from the floor, 29 pct from outside and 95 pct. (19-for-20) from the
free throw line.
In last year's game at the Reilly Center, he had 26 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and four
ALUMNI RETURN FOR LEGACY GAME TO BENEFIT COACHES VS. CANCER
The first-ever UMass basketball Legacy game will be played at the conclusion of the UMass-St.
Bonaventure game in the Mullins Center. Donations are welcome with all proceeds benefiting
Coaches Vs. Cancer.
Alumni members expected to attend include: Matt Anderson, Craig Berry, Donta Bright, George
"Trigger" Burke, Ted Cottrell, Dana Dingle, Dwayne Early, Will Herndon, Chris Kirkland, Monty
Mack, Jim McCoy, Lex Mongo, Horace Neysmith, Chris Robinson, Kennard Robinson, John Tate,
Carmelo Travieso and Tyrone Weeks. Note: The list is fluid and names may change without
notice. Derek Kellogg has said he will see how the game UMass-SBU game goes before deciding to
participate in the game. For the record, he did play in a men's league last summer.
UMASS TOUGH IN THE MULLINS CENTER
UMass is unbeaten in the Mullins Center this year with a 6-0 record. Over the past three
seasons, the Minutemen are 24-5 in regular-season games and 13-4 in Atlantic 10 contests in
UMass finished its regular-season non-conference slate last weekend with a win over Miami (Ohio) and has compiled a 15-1 record with a current eight-game winning streak.
The Minutemen have been strong during the winter break as well, winning their last 10 non-league games when the classes are not in session. UMass is in its 21st season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted
an all-time record of 196-85 (.710) following the Saint Joseph's game. The Minutemen also
own a 108-51 (.682) all-time record in regular-season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the
Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests. The first game was played
on Feb. 4, 1993 as UMass defeated West Virginia 64-59 in overtime.
UMASS RETURNS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS & COACHES POLLS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1998
Following last Saturday's 73-65 win over Miami (Ohio), UMass moved up a few spots in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, coming in at No. 19 in both listings. UMass received 364 points in the AP and 265 in the coaches poll.
When the Minutemen debuted in the rankings this season, it ended a drought that dated back to Nov. 1998 in each poll. This week's showing marks the first foray in the Top 20 in both polls since Feb. 24, 1998.
UMass has now appeared in the AP Poll 84 times and is 122-30 all-time as a ranked team. The Minutemen have been ranked in the top 10 48 times, the top five 31 times and No. 1 15 times (32-4).
CHAZ IS LIKE A FINE WINE, HE GETS BETTER WITH AGE
Chaz Williams continues to impress with his on-court talents year-in and year-out. While his scoring has been consistently strong throughout his college career, his shooting percentages are at or near all-time highs and his assist-to-turnover numbers are at an all-time high.
Year MPG PPG FG% 3FG% FT% APG TPG A/TO Ratio
2009-10 31.7 9.8 .372 .389 .733 4.2 2.5 1.64
2011-12 34.9 16.9 .410 .419 .788 6.2 3.4 1.83
2012-13 35.3 15.5 .433 .333 .785 7.3 3.4 2.12
2013-14 34.7 15.5 .403 .426 .743 7.7 3.3 2.33
He has 16 double-figure assist games in his career and 14 at UMass, one shy of Carl Smith's record set from 1983-87.
CARTER PERFORMING AT HIGHEST LEVEL OF HIS CAREER
Redshirt senior Sampson Carter entered the year averaging 6.1 points per game over 102 appearances, but has played like a senior who wants to go out with a bang. He is scoring a career-best 11.5 ppg, while his shooting averages - .430 FG%, .341 3FG% and .764 FT% - are all career-highs or close to his season best.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY... Maxie Esho
Redshirt junior Maxie Esho, who has been described as the X-factor by head coach Derek Kellogg at times, is producing at a high level with 8.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg, ahead of his previous season benchmarks of 5.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg set last year. He has raised both categories each of the past two seasons and had three-consecutive double-figure scoring games for the first time in his career prior to the Florida State game. He also went off at Ohio with game highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. He became the sixth different Minuteman to lead the team in scoring this season.
In the last seven games, he is UMass' second leading scorer and rebounder at 11.8 ppg and 6.1 rpg. His field goal percentage is tops on the team during that span at .700 (35-for-50) and he has six of his seven double-figure scoring games.
UMASS PLAYING WITH A LEAD... A LOT
Part of the UMass formula for success through 13 games has been to not fall behind. In 525 minutes, the Minutemen have trailed for a total of 60:35 - just 11.5 pct. of the season.
Furthermore, UMass has used its pressing, attacking style to wear down opponents and pull away in the second half. UMass has only trailed for 14:44 of the second half this year, with 5:46 coming in the opener against BC, 4:40 at Eastern Michigan, 3:50 vs. Florida State and 0:28 vs. Providence. It is outscoring teams by an average of 37.6-33.2 in the first half and 41.3-36.4 in the second half.
SCORING POINTS IN BUNCHES
UMass is averaging 79.7 points per game, which places it first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 49th nationally. The Minutemen set a school record when they surpassed 80 points in each of their opening five games. They have since accomplished the feat in eight of 12 games.
The Minutemen recorded a season-high 105-point effort against BYU, which also featured a 50-point performance in each half for the first time since Jan. 24, 1995 at Duquesne.
KELLOGG AMONG UMASS TOP FIVE IN VICTORIES
With 98 victories entering the St. Bonaventure game, sixth-year head coach Derek Kellogg is in third place on the school's career victories list. Jack Leaman won 217 over 13 seasons and John Calipari is second with 193 over eight years in Amherst.
UMASS POSTS TOP SHOOTING GAME OF KELLOGG ERA IN ROAD WIN OVER OHIO
UMass entered last month's game at Ohio having posted two of its three highest shooting games of the year in its two most recent contests. Going up against an Ohio team that ranked 11th nationally in field goal pct. defense (.372), the Minutemen recorded their best shooting night in more than seven seasons, connecting on .615 (32-for-52) from the floor. Additionally, the .643 (9-for-14) from three-point range was the highest since a .727 performance against Duquesne on Jan. 27, 2000.