• UMass concludes a stretch of five road games out of its last six at Saint Joseph's for a 6 p.m. nationally-televised contest on CBS Sports Network.
• UMass ranks in the top 50 in the following categories: scoring offense (37th, 78.5 ppg), scoring margin (48th, 9.4 ppg), FG pct. (47.2, 50th), 3-point FG pct. defense (16th, 28.5%), assists (19th, 16.1 apg) and blocked shots (36th, 5.3 bpg).
• This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,224-1,074 (.533) in 2,298 games. UMass is 454-310 (.593) in conference games, including a 288-290 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
• UMass is ranked No. 4 in the NCAA RPI, 7 by Statsheet.com, 8 by ESPN Insider RPI, CBS Sports, RealTimeRPI.com, 25 by Jeff Sagarin and 31 by Ken Pomeroy.
• Their strength of schedule is No. 27 by Jeff Sagarin and Ken Pomeroy, 30 by CBS Sports and RealTimeRPI, 34 by Stat Sheet and 40 by ESPN.
The Last Meeting
January 8, 2014
• This will be the 64th meeting between UMass and Saint Joseph's, with UMass holding a 34-29 lead all-time.
• UMass has won six of the last eight games. The home team has won the last seven games and is 39-21 in the series.
• The Minutemen have lost their last two in Philadelphia after winning three of the the previous four.
• UMass is 11-1 against Saint Joseph's when playing as a ranked team.
• This will be UMass head coach Derek Kellogg's 11th game coaching against the Hawks with a record of 7-3 (He also went 10-1 as a player). Phil Martelli took over as head coach at SJU in 1995-96 - the year UMass made the Final Four - and stands at 15-18 all-time against the Minutemen.
• LAST MONTH IN AMHERST: UMass used an 18-to-5 run to close out the game and a 66-62 come-from-behind win at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen trailed 57-48 with 6:23 left in the game, but clutch shooting from Chaz Williams, Maxie Esho and Trey Davis pulled UMass back for the win. Williams led all players with 22 points while Esho scored 12 off the bench including a thunderous dunk late in the game putting UMass back ahead for good. Davis finished with six points, but they came on a critical three-pointer during the run and three of four free throws in the final minute of play. Halil Kanacevic led SJU with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Langston Galloway scored 18 points, while DeAndre Bembry netted 16.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
• UMass is playing its fifth road game in its last six overall. The Minutemen are 4-2 in true road games this season but have lost their last two, falling at Richmond and St. Bonaventure.
• The Minutemen are 11-16 in Atlantic 10 road games over the past three seasons and gone 4-4 each of the last two.
UMASS SHARING THE BALL AS WELL AS AT ANY POINT IN KELLOGG'S SIX SEASONS
• Paced by one of the best point guards in the country in Chaz Williams, UMass ranks 19th nationally in assists per game at 16.1 Williams ranks third at 7.3 apg.
• Further evidence of the team's ability to distribute across the court is that it has assisted on 56.7 pct. of its field goals this season. That is the highest since the 2005-06 squad assisted on 57.8 pct. of made baskets.
COACHES ACROSS THE COUNTRY RAISING AWARENESS FOR AUTISM
• Coach Kellogg is one of nearly 100 men's basketball coaches throughout the country that will be wearing the blue "Autism Speaks" lapel pin on his suit jacket Saturday. Towson's Pat Skerry and Marshall's Tom Herrion, each who have sons on the autism spectrum, have started a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about this disease.
TOP PLAYS U
• Over the course of the last three seasons, UMass basketball student-athletes have had 15 performances earn a spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays of the Day or Weekend.
• The latest came on Sunday when Trey Davis threw a bounce pass between a Fordham player's legs to Derrick Gordon who tossed an alley-oop to Maxie Esho for the throw down. That earned No. 6 on the list.
• A week earlier, Chaz Williams (5'9") blocked St. Bonaventure's Youssou Ndoye's (7'0") layup attempt for the No. 9 play on Saturday, Jan. 11.
• Esho also earned the No. 8 play on Jan. 8 with his backcourt steal of Saint Joseph's DeAndre Bembry and dunk that put UMass ahead 63-62 with 1:00 left en route to a 66-62 come-from-behind win.
• Other top plays included a Derrick Gordon offensive putback with 1.1 seconds left in overtime to lift UMass to a 69-67 win over Providence, earning him No. 7 on Dec. 28, a Williams-to-Raphiael Putney alley-oop against Northern Illinois for No. 8 on Dec. 14, a Putney coast-to-coast drive and dunk where he took off from just inside the "A-10" logo in the lane against Youngstown State for No. 3 on Nov. 17.
• So what does all of this mean, you ask? Maybe not a lot in terms of basketball statistics, but UMass' brand has been enhanced with visibility through social media whether it be Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vine and even UMassAthletics.com. Derek Kellogg has mentioned that the UMass basketball brand is well known and recognized nationally, further evidenced by the current roster which features players from Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington state.
KELLOGG PICKS UP WIN NO. 100 IN AMAZING FASHION
• Sixth-year head coach Derek Kellogg's earned his 100th career victory - all at UMass - with a thrilling 88-87 come-from-behind victory at George Mason three games ago. UMass trailed by eight midway through the second half and by five (86-81) with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• What made the game special for Kellogg was that his first full-time job after college came in the late 1990s when he spent two seasons at George Mason working for Jim Larranaga from 1997-99. That stint included the 1999 CAA regular-season and tournament titles en route to a NCAA Tournament First Round appearance.
• With 102 victories entering the Saint Joseph's game, 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.
17-3 MARK AFTER 20 GAMES EQUALS THE THIRD-BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• With a 17-3 record entering the Saint Joseph's game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1993-94 and 1970-71 squads for the third-best start after 20 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games.
UMASS RETURNS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS & COACHES POLLS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1998
• Following a split in last week's games at Richmond and at home against Fordham, UMass dropped a few spots in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, coming in at No. 21 in the AP and No. 19 in the coaches. UMass received 353 points in the AP and 265 in the coaches poll. The Minutemen appeared on all but six ballots, following two weeks when they appeared on every AP voter's ballot.
• When the Minutemen debuted in the rankings this season, it ended a drought that dated back to Nov. 1998 in each poll. Last month's initial No. 19 ranking marked the first foray in the Top 20 in both polls since Feb. 24, 1998.
• UMass has now appeared in the AP Poll 87 times and is 126-32 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).
REFUSE TO LOSE
• With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. The Minutemen have pulled off some late-game heroics in three of their four A-10 wins.
• UMass trailed at George Mason by eight in the second half and 86-81 with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• Against St. Bonaventure the game prior, they erased a 13-point deficit with nine minutes remaining and outscored the Bonnies 21-8 to close the game. That marked the first time this season and the seventh time in the last three seasons a UMass club has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
• Three days earlier against Saint Joseph's, UMass trailed by nine seven minutes into the game and again with six minutes to play. More full court pressure and timely shooting saw the Minutemen close the game on an 18-5 run.
DEFENDING THE THREE
• UMass has done a solid job with its three-point field goal defense this season, holding opponents to 28.7% from outside and 4.7 makes per game. That percentage ranks second in the Atlantic 10 and 16th nationally.
• Since Boston College made 40 pct. in the season-opener, only Richmond's 40% (6-of-15) three games ago has a team made better than 38 pct. in a game. Teams have been held to five or fewer makes 14 times, with opponents averaging 4.1 over the last 10 games - an that includes nine by Elon four games ago.