• UMass returns home to the friendly surroundings of the Mullins Center to play host to La Salle Wednesday night on the CBS SN.
• UMass ranks in the top 75 in the following categories: scoring offense (47th, 77.4 ppg), scoring margin (61th, 7.6 ppg), FG pct. (47.1, 52nd), 3-point FG pct. defense (20th, 29.3%), assists (20th, 16.0 apg) and blocked shots (35th, 5.3 bpg).
• This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,224-1,075 (.533) in 2,299 games. UMass is 454-311 (.593) in conference games, including a 288-291 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. 9 in the NCAA RPI and RealTimeRPI.com, 9 by Statsheet.com, 11 by ESPN Insider RPI, 20 by CBS Sports, 34 by Jeff Sagarin and 36 by Ken Pomeroy.
• Their strength of schedule is No. 14 Ken Pomeroy, 20 by Jeff Sagarin, 21 by RealTimeRPI, 22 by CBS Sports, 26 by ESPN and 27 by Stat Sheet.
• UMass is 15-14 all-time against La Salle, including a 7-4 mark in Amherst and 1-1 in Springfield, while the Explorers hold a 9-7 lead in Philadelphia. La Salle seven of the last nine after UMass’ win in Philly last season. The first meeting was an 82-75 win for La Salle on Dec. 30, 1971 in Philadelphia.
• From 2006-08 UMass won three-consecutive games. That included the Minutemen’s last win in Tom Gola Arena and two games by large margins in 2007 and 2008 at the Mullins Center. UMass won those games by an average score of 101-63, a 38-point margin. On 2008’s Senior Night, UMass defeated La Salle, 100-63 on March 5, 2008. That came a year after a 102-63 triumph on Feb. 28, 2007 at the Mullins Center.
• UMass’ three-game win streak followed a run where La Salle won five of six from 2003-06. UMass won six in a row from 1991-98.
• UMass coach Derek Kellogg is 2-7 against La Salle as a coach. La Salle joined the Atlantic 10 in the 1994-95 season, Kellogg’s senior year and the Minutemen beat the Explorers, 87-64 in Atlantic City. La Salle coach John Giannini stands 10-8 against UMass (10-6 since moving to La Salle, as he lost twice at Maine).
• LAST SEASON IN PHILADELPHIA: Chaz Williams hit a running layup with 8.0 seconds left and Raphiael Putney finished with 17 points in a 61-60 UMass win to snap a four-game losing skid at Tom Gola Arena. La Salle’s Jerrell Wright’s shot at the buzzer was partially blocked by Putney to preserve the win. The Minutemen shot 43 percent and converted 14 offensive rebounds into a 15-6 edge in second chance points. Putney shot 7-of-11 from the floor and 3-for-5 from outside. Maxie Esho added 11 off the bench with two blocks and two steals in 22 minutes. Cady Lalanne finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, including six offensive. La Salle (14-6, 4-3) was led by Ramon Galloway and Wright who had 16 each.
UMASS TOUGH IN THE MULLINS CENTER
• UMass is unbeaten in the Mullins Center this year with an 8-0 record. Over the past three seasons, the Minutemen are 26-5 in regular-season games and 15-4 in Atlantic 10 contests in the facility.
• UMass finished its regular-season non-conference home slate on Jan. 4 with a win over Miami (Ohio) and has compiled a 15-1 record with a current eight-game winning streak against non-league foes that it will take into next year.
• The Minutemen have been strong during the winter break as well, winning their last 11 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 198-85 (.700) following the Fordham game. The Minutemen also own a 110-51 (.683) 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 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 20th nationally in assists per game at 16.0. Individually, Williams ranks tied for third at 7.4 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.
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 Jan. 26 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. 8 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 on Jan. 15. 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.
17-4 MARK AFTER 21 GAMES EQUALS THE FOURTH-BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• With a 17-4 record entering the La Salle game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched a quartet of squads for the fourth-best start after 21 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games. That team was one of 27 in NCAA history to start a season with at least 20 victories.
UMASS & THE POLLS
• After losing three of its last four games, UMass fell out of the national rankings in both polls this week. The Minutemen did receive 24 votes in the coaches poll, placing them fifth among the others receiving votes.
• 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 126-33 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 29.3% from outside and 4.8 makes per game. That percentage ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 and 20th nationally.
• Since Boston College made 40 pct. in the season-opener, only twice 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 11 games - an that includes nine makes by Elon five games ago.