UMass enters the final three regular season games with a two-game road trip, beginning Saturday morning at Dayton. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
The game is the sixth this season for the Minutemen where the start time is at 1 p.m or earlier. UMass has won all five previous instances, including two against A-10 opponents.
UMass ranks in the top 75 in the following categories: scoring offense (44th, 76.8 ppg), scoring margin (64th, 6.8 ppg), FG pct. (50th, 46.8), 3-point FG pct. defense (29th, 30.3%), assists (19th, 15.9 apg) and blocked shots (20th, 5.7 bpg).
This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,229-1,076 (.533) in 2,305 games. UMass is 459-312 (.593) in conference games, including a 293-292 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.
The Last Meeting
February 23, 2013
This will be the 21st meeting between UMass and Dayton, with the scoreboard all knotted at 10-10. UMass has won six of the last nine games, but has lost the last two in UD Arena.
Derek Kellogg is 3-3 against Dayton including his first win as a head coach in his hometown of Springfield back in 2009, a 75-62 victory against the Flyers, who entered the game 14-1.
Six seasons ago, UMass ended Dayton's 13-game win streak as the No. 14/18 Flyers fell at home, 82-71 on Jan. 16, 2008. A year earlier, UMass ended the Flyers' 14-game home win streak at UD Arena with a 77-69 victory on Feb. 22, 2007.
UMASS SECURES THIRD-CONSECUTIVE 20-WIN SEASON
With its win at George Washington two weeks ago, the 2013-14 team earned its 20th victory, becoming the 17th 20-win team in school history. All 17 have come in the past 43 seasons dating back to Jack Leaman's 1970-71 team that went 23-4 and participated in its second-straight NIT.
It also marks the third-consecutive 20-win season for the Minutemen, marking the first time that has happened in Amherst since the end of John Calipari's eight-year run in Western Mass. which concluded with six 20-plus win campaigns and the 1996 NCAA Final Four.
UMASS EARNS 200TH MULLINS CENTER VICTORY
UMass has been very strong in the Mullins Center this year with an 10-1 record (11-1 in home games since the BYU game in Springfield is counted as such by the NCAA). Over the past three seasons, the Minutemen are 28-6 in regular-season games and 17-5 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 200-86 (.700) following the VCU game. The Minutemen also own a 112-52 (.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.
MINUTEMEN MILESTONE WATCH
All three UMass seniors are nearing some impressive milestones as we enter March.
Chaz Williams is in ninth place on the UMass career scoring list with 1,557 points, two away from moving into eighth. He also has 667 assists in three years with the Mintuemen, placing him 12 away from the record, held by Chris Lowe with 678 from 2005-08. For his college career, Williams has 805 assists which is 18 from moving into 26th in NCAA Division I history.
Raphiael Putney is poised to become the next 1,000-point scorer at UMass. He enters the Dayton game with 991 points and would be the 46th player to reach the mark at UMass.
Sampson Carter is also looking to add his named to the 1,000 Point Club at UMass, although he has a fair amount of work to get there. He enters the Dayton game with 914 points and is averaging 10.9 ppg this year, meaning the Baton Rouge, La. native would need eight games at that pace to achieve the mark.
Putney and Carter are also climbing the games played list at UMass. Carter is tied for sixth (with Ricky Harris) with 129 and Putney is tied for 11th (Freddie Riley and Tyrone Weeks) with 125.
UMASS NOT SO CHARITABLE AT THE LINE
One area that has continued to give UMass troubles lately has been the free throw line. Over the last five games the Minutemen have made 63.6% (91-for-143) of their attempts. On Wednesday against URI, the Minutemen made 67.7% (21-of-31), but were 10-of-12 down the stretch.
UMass started the year making 73 percent of its shots in its first eight games, but just 65 percent over the last 19.
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 107 victories entering the Dayton 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.
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 15.9. Individually, Williams ranks third at 7.2 apg.
Further evidence of the team's ability to distribute across the court is that it has assisted on 57.4 pct. of its field goals this season. That is the highest since the 2005-06 squad assisted on 57.8 pct. of made baskets.
22-5 MARK AFTER 27 GAMES EQUALS THE FIFTH-BEST RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY
With a 22-5 record entering the Dayton game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1993-94 squad for the fifth-best record after 27 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games before going 35-2. That team was one of 27 in NCAA history to start a season with at least 20 victories.
UMASS & THE POLLS
As a result of losing three of four games three weeks ago, UMass fell out of the national rankings after a 10-week run of being ranked. The Minutemen have now won three of their last four and are receving 9 votes in each poll this week, putting them as the fifth team receiving votes in each poll.
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).
UMass was ranked for 63-consceutive weeks during the mid-1990s.
In seven of UMass' nine Atlantic 10 victories, it has trailed in the final five minutes of the game before coming back to win (1/8 vs. Saint Joseph's, 1/11 vs. St. Bona, 1/15 at George Mason, 2/9 at URI, 2/15 at GW, 2/21 vs. VCU, 2/26 vs. URI). The Minutemen were behind in the final 95 seconds in three of those (Saint Joseph's, St. Bona and GMU). You can read more about those comebacks in the next note.
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 nine 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 30.3% from outside and 4.9 makes per game. That percentage ranks fifth in the Atlantic 10 and 29th nationally. Dayton is tenth in the league at 34.4%
Since Boston College made 40 pct. in the season-opener, only three times has a team made better than 38 pct. in a game. Teams have been held to five or fewer makes 15 times, with opponents averaging 4.7 over the last 15 games.
DEFENDING THE RIM
With an arsenal of long, athletic players who can defend the rim, UMass has been among the nation's blocked shot leaders all season long, entering the Dayton game with 5.7 blocks per game, good for 20th in the NCAA and first in the Atlantic 10.
They have been particularly unkind over the past nine games, altering 61 shots for an 6.8 bpg average. UMass has blocked at least nine shots four times in the last eight contests.
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.