• UMass travels to Rhode Island on Saturday as it concludes the regular-season against the rival Rams. UMass is currently in a tie for seventh place with Saint Joseph’s. The Minutemen could finish anywhere from sixth to 10th place based on various outcomes this weekend.
WHERE TO WATCH
• Saturday’s game will be televised by the Ocean State Networks, formerly Cox Sports, in Rhode Island. The channel can be found on Cox channel 5 and 1005 (HD).
WHAT’S AT STAKE
• By virtue of UMass’ loss to Butler on Thursday, the Minutemen can finish no higher than sixth in the league standings. UMass can earn the No. 6 seed in the postseason tournament with a win Saturday and a Xavier loss (at Butler, 6:30 pm on CBS SN). If UMass and Xavier both win, UMass will be the No. 7 seed and Xavier the No. 6 seed.
• If the Minutemen fail to defeat Rhode Island, they would fall into a myriad of scenarios with as many as five other teams (Charlotte, Dayton, Richmond, St. Bonaventure and Saint Joseph’s) at 8-8 in the league.
• The 2012-13 season marks the fifth 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 and 25 last season with an NIT FInal Four appearance.
• The Minutemen are shooting 43.4 pct. from the field, 33.3 pct. from outside and 71.2 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 73.5 points per game overall. In 15 A-10 games, those numbers are 45.8 pct., 35.7 pct., 71.6 pct. and 74.0 ppg.
• UMass averages 7.2 3-pointers made and 21.6 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 209 steals thus far for 7.5 spg, which ranks 98th in the nation. Last season, UMass collected a school-record 326 steals and 8.8 spg. UMass is also second in the A-10 and 27th in blocked shots with 5.1 bpg.
• Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.5, fifth in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (5). In A-10 games, he is averaging 15.0 points (eighth in the A-10) and shooting 44 pct from the floor and 81 pct from the free throw line.
SERIES HISTORY WITH RHODE ISLAND
• Saturday’s game against Rhode Island will be the 140th between the schools, the most played series in UMass’ history. UMass has faced UConn 108 times, the only other series with more than 100 meetings. The Minutemen also have more wins over Rhode Island than any other program, holding an 81-58 advantage dating to the first game on Jan. 11, 1908, a 32-14 UMass win in Amherst. The teams have met six times in conference tournament play, with the Minutemen holding a 4-2 edge dating back to the 1981 Eastern 8 Tournament.
• UMass has won 37 of the last 51 games in the series. That includes season sweeps by UMass in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2011 and URI in 1999 and 2003. The Minutemen’s two longest win streaks also came during the stretch, collecting eight-straight from 1990-93 and 10-straight form 1993-98.
• UMass is 29-36 in the Ocean State and the teams have split all 10 meetings in the Ryan Center. Overall, for games played in Amherst, the Minutemen lead the series 51-20, with a 14-4 mark at the Mullins Center.
• UMass coach Derek Kellogg is 5-3 as a coach against the Rams. As a player at UMass from 1992-95, the Minutemen were 9-1 vs. Rhode Island, losing once in 1993 in Providence.
Terrell Vinson NOW UMASS’ CAREER STARTS LEADER
• Senior Terrell Vinson made his 122nd career start last Saturday at Xavier, placing him in first place on the UMass career list and ahead of all-time leading scorer Jim McCoy, who set the record of 121 following his career from 1988-92.
• Vinson has also appeared in 127 games, placing him in sixth place. Other players with attainable games played for TV include Carmelo Travieso (1993-97) with 130 and Ricky Harris (2006-10) with 129. The complete individual record book can be found near the back of this notes packet.
RILEY, VINSON & CO. MAKING IT RAIN
• Prior to making just 4-of-18 (.222) from outside against Butler on Thrusday, UMass had shot 37-for-84 (.440) in its four preceeding contests, making at least seven in each while averaging 9.3 treys per game, including a season-best 13 at Xavier. The squad had posted a season-high in shooting pct. from outside in its previous two games, shooting 50 pct against Dayton and 52 pct at Xavier.
• Two of the primary shooters in recent games have been seniors Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson. Riley, who leads the team with 55 triples, has blistered the nets to the tune of 19-for-40 (.574). Due to his continued success, he has entered the NCAA Rankings for 3-pointers made per game, checking in at 198th with 2.0 per outing. Vinson’s stretch of strong shooting dates back nine games where he has shot 17-of-30 (.567). He has also produced the two highest 3-game totals in his career, totalling eight makes against Charlotte, URI and Saint Joe’s, before topping that in his most recent trio with nine against St. Bona, Dayton and Xavier. He had a career-high four en route to his game-high 20 points over the Musketeers.
RPI NUMBERS & BRACKETOLOGY
• At the start of the week, UMass’ Official NCAA RPI is 54, following two-consecutive weeks at 55. The Atlantic 10 had six teams in the top 60 and 10 in the top 100, behind only the Big East’s 11. Saint Louis (28), Butler (29), VCU (31), Temple (42) and La Salle (45) are ahead of the Minutemen. Following the Butler loss, UMass is 55 with a strength of schedule of 62 in the ESPN Insider RPI, along with 55 and 64 in the CBS Sports.com RPI.
• In the game that is sweeping the nation this time of year known as Bracketology, UMass appears to be a 50/50 choice to be in the field of 68 among some of the leading ‘Bracketologists.’ Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com has moved the Minutemen from the Last Four In to the First Four Out following the Butler game, while Patrick Stevens of USA Today has also relegated UMass to the First Four Out. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi doesn’t have UMass among his first eight schools left out of the bracket and Bleacher Report has them as the second team out.
OFFENSE TURNING THE CORNER IN SECOND HALF OF A-10 ACTION
• The UMass offense has appeared to hit its stride in the second half of the Atlantic 10 season. The Minutemen are averaging more points per game, shooting better, rebounding at a higher rate and sharing the ball more in the past eight games compared to the first seven.
• In the past eight games, UMass is averaging just under 80 points, 35.2 rebounds and 17.5 assists per contest while shooting 47 pct. overall, 39 pct. from outside and 75 pct. from the free throw line. Seven players are seeing at least 20 minutes per game and the team has put at least four players in double figures in five of the eight contests.
KELLOGG AMONG UMASS TOP FIVE IN VICTORIES
• With 82 victories entering Saturday’s game, fifth-year head coach Derek Kellogg has passed Robert T. Curran (1952-59) for fifth all-time in coaching victories at UMass. Curran finished 81-80 in seven seasons. Next on the list is Harold M. Gore, who collected 85 victories in three stints covering 11 years surrounding World War I. One of Kellogg’s mentors, Bruiser Flint is third on the list with 86 ‘W’s.
• UMass has been in its share of close game this season, fashioning a 10-4 record in games decided by 5 points or less. While they haven’t all been decided in the final minute, here is a brief breakdown of the ones that were.
• Nov. 13: Sampson Carter 3-pointer with 1.2 left beats Harvard 73-70 in ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.
• Nov. 15: Terrell Vinson tip-in off Chaz Williams miss as time expires to beat Providence in Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
• Nov. 28: Chaz Williams’ 5-footer off the glass with 3.3 seconds left completes a 17-point comeback in the 64-63 win at Siena.
• Jan. 30: Chaz Williams driving layup with 8.1 seconds left lifts UMass to 61-60 win at La Salle. Raphiael Putney partially blocks Jerrell Wright’s baseline jumper and Cady Lalanne secures the rebound as time expires to snap a four-game losing streak at Tom Gola Arena.
• It hasn’t always been UMass with the ball and a chance to win... Jan. 2: Leading 70-69 at Miami (Ohio), Carter missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play but Red Hawk guard Will Sullivan missed a layup before Putney corralled the rebound as time expired.
• And the four losses in a game decided by 5 points or less...
• Jan. 19: Trailing 77-74 against George Wash., Freddie Riley is fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 3.0 seconds left. The senior missed the first and made the last two before having to foul the Colonials, who made two free throws to account for the 79-76 final score as the Minutemen were unable to get a shot off.
• Feb. 2: After rebounding a pair of missed Charlotte free throws with 14.8 seconds left, Chaz Williams drives but lost the ball when he made contact with a pair of 49er defenders near the right elbow as UMass lost 66-65.
• Feb. 16: UMass and Temple wrote one final memorable game in their storied rivalry, with the Owls claiming a 83-82 win at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen had the ball, down by one with 17 seconds left. Chaz Williams handed the ball off to Freddie Riley, who drove to the free throw line, faked a shot and attempted a bounce pass to a cutting Williams, but the ball was partially tipped and time ran out in the ensuing scramble.
• Feb. 20: Three days ago UMass and St. Bonaventure played to a 99-94 shootout with the Bonnies emerging with the win. UMass had a chance to tie the game with 20 second left but Chaz Williams’ 3-pointer fell short and the teams traded free throws for the remainder of the contest.
UMASS GETTING THE TRANSITION GAME GOING
• One of the primary factors during its strong play all season long has been UMass’ ability to put together momentum-building scoring runs, while limiting its opponent’s opportunities. Probably the most blunt example of this came against Duquesne, the Minutemen collected their third-most lopsided scoring stretch of the season when they outscored the Dukes 32-15 over much of the latter part of the first half, turning a 3-point deficit into a 17-point lead with five seconds to play in the period. They also rode a 14-2 run over the final seven minutes to pull away after the Dukes had trimmed the margin to 65-52.
• They produced a season-high four stretches of plus-9 or better against Rhode Island en route to the most lopsided victory of the season four weeks ago.
• This season the Minutemen have compiled 31 scoring runs where the margin was at least nine points, compared to 17 by their opponents.
• The attendance of 9,341 marked the largest non-sellout in Mullins Center history. There have been 59 sellouts (9,493) in the 20-year history of the facility. The #3KforDK initiative to attracte 3,000 students was reached, as the total student attendance was 3,526.
• UMass forced Butler into four turnovers as a result of its press, giving the Minutemen 60 on the season.
• The Minutemen shot just 4-for-14 from outside (22.2 pct.). The four makes were one shy of the season low of three (Elon & Richmond).
• UMass shot 18-for-21 from the free throw line. The 85.7 percentage is tied for the second-highest of the season.
• UMass trailed by eight at the half, its third-largest deficit this season. The Minutemen are now 2-7 when trailing at the half.
• UMass’ 20 rebounds against the Bulldogs was its lowest this season. The minus-17 rebounding margin also was a season low.
• Senior Terrell Vinson finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He now has 17 double-figure scoring game this season and 56 in his career.
• Junior Chaz Williams had eight points, four rebounds, eight assists and a season-high-tying four steals.
• Junior Sampson Carter totaled 12 points, his first in double figures since a season-high 16 against Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 9. He now has five double-figure games this year and 18 in his career.
UMASS NEVER OUT OF A GAME
• With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. UMass erased a 12-point deficit in defeating Ohio, marking the second time this season and the sixth time in the last two seasons it has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
• Three weeks earlier at Siena, the Minutemen trailed by 17 points (33-16) before outscoring the Saints 45-12 over a period of 13:02 for a 51-45 lead at the midway point of the second half, eventually getting a running jumper by Chaz Williams with 3.3 seconds left to win the game. It was the third time in the last 11 months that UMass has erased a 17-point deficit and won - at home against Saint Joseph’s and at Drexel in the NIT Quarterfinals.
• The Minutemen trailed by as many as 16 in the second half against George Washington before climbing back to within one twice in the final 15 seconds. Despite running out of time against the Colonials, it’s another example of the comeback power of UMass.
• UMass has done an excellent job making its free throws of late, shooting .775 from the free throw line in the past four games. The Minutemen have posted three games over 80 pct during the stretch, with the lone poor performance being a 10-for-20 effort at Xavier.
1,000-POINT CLUB GAINS NEW MEMBERS
• Junior PG Chaz Williams scored his 1,000th career point in the win over Siena and recorded his 1,000th point at UMass three weeks ago against Temple. Earlier in the season, senior F Terrell Vinson finished with 10 points against Northern Illinois in December to become the 43rd member of the 1,000-Point Club at UMass. He now ranks tied for 21st at UMass with 1,224 points following his 17 points versus Butler.
• Additionally, senior G Freddie Riley enters the URI game with 950 career points. With his current average of 8.6 points per game, the Minutemen would need to play at least six more games to reach the milestone. That number of games could be reduced if Riley continues to score in double figures, as he has done in six of the last seven games, posting 13.0 ppg in that stretch.
CHAZ AMONG SELECT COMPANY
• As a sophomore last season, PG Chaz Williams was one of just three players in the country to average 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds, joining Nate Wolters of South Dakota State and Tim Frazier of Penn State. This year he has replicated those numbers and is the only Division I player with averages of at least 15.0 ppg, 7.0 apg and 4.0 rpg.
WE LOVE THE MULLINS CENTER
• That's probably a pretty accurate statement from the men's basketball program over the past couple of years as the squad is 23-4 at the Mullins Center since the start of last season and 25-4 in home games.
• UMass was dominant at home last season, posting a 15-1 record in Amherst, which included a 14-1 record at the Mullins Center (1-0 at historic Curry Hicks Cage) and a renewed home-court advantage with the student-based Mullins Militia. UMass averaged 4,359 fans in 15 dates last season. Those numbers got increasingly higher as the season evolved to 5,411 for eight A-10 home games and 6,614 for the last five regular-season home dates. The Minutemen saw four crowds of more than 6,200 in the final six games, with a season-high 8,399 in the victory over Saint Louis.
• UMass is in its 20th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 191-78 (.710) following the Temple game. The Minutemen also own a 108-50 (.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 TURNING INTO ROAD WARRIORS
• The Minutemen now hold a 6-2 record on the road this season and a 2-2 mark in A-10 play. Prior to its loss at Saint Louis in the opening week of league play, the Minutemen had won seven-consecutive road games dating back to the postseason NIT run last year - a figure that ranked as the third-longest active streak in the country. The last time they won as many true road games was during the 1997-98 season when Bruiser Flint's second team reeled-off seven-consecutive in opposing arenas.
• Last season UMass went 2-6 on the road in A-10 action, collecting wins at George Washington and Richmond. The eight road opponents this season - Charlotte, Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, VCU and Xavier - combined to go 44-21 at home in 11-12.
Jesse Morgan OUT FOR SEASON WITH ACL INJURY
• Junior guard Jesse Morgan was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee two weeks ago. He suffered the injury early in the second half of UMass' loss at Saint Louis in the A-10 opener. He underwent surgery last Friday, February 1.
• At the time of the injury, he was UMass' second leading scorer at 14.5 ppg and leading 3-point shooter with 37-of-104 for .356. He ranked 37th in the NCAA in 3-pointers per game and 81st in 3-point FG pct. His .808 free throw pct. was also first on the team.
• The injury was his second this season, following a broken right wrist he sustained in July that saw him miss three months.
WILLIAMS NAMED TO BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST
• After posting a banner season in 2011-12 in his first season playing for UMass, junior point guard Chaz Williams has garnered national attention for running the fast-paced Minuteman offense. Last Thursday, the Brooklyn native received yet another accolade as he was named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Award Watch List.
• The award is given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation's top point guard in college basketball and is named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy.
• In 2011-12, Williams earned NABC First Team All-District 4 honors in addition to being named to the All-Atlantic 10 First-Team and the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team. He averaged 16.9 points per game and 6.3 assists. The addition of the transfer from Hofstra helped guide UMass to the NIT Final Four last year before a lose to Stanford in the Semifinals.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMEN BACK FROM 25-WIN SQUAD
• UMass welcomes back four starters, including its top four scorers and nine of its top 10 rebounders from last season's team that went 25-12 and reached the NIT Final Four. Led by All-America candidate Chaz Williams at the point guard spot, the Minutemen will look to continue their up-tempo offensive style and full-court pressure defense in head coach Derek Kellogg's (64-65) fifth year at his alma mater.
• UMass returns the following percentages in 2012-13: Scoring 89.3 pct.; Rebounding 83.2 pct.; Assists 94.7 pct.; Steals 91.7 pct.; Blocks 76.7 pct.; Minutes 85.4 pct.
• Williams (16.9 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.4 rpg), a first team NABC all-district and all-conference selection, was one of just three players in Division I last year to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. The others were Tim Frazier of Penn State and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State.
• UMass recorded a school-record 326 steals last season (8.8 spg, 7th in NCAA) which aided in its 76.6 possessions per game, ranking the Minutemen second nationally behind Seattle's 77.2.
UMASS TO RETIRE MARCUS CAMBY'S NO. 21 JERSEY
• The Massachusetts athletic department announced Tuesday that it will retire the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen host George Washington at the Mullins Center.
• One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league's Freshman of the Year in 1994.
• He left UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season for the Maroon & White.
• This will be the fifth men's basketball jersey retired at UMass and ninth in school history. Previous hoops numbers to be hung at the South end of the Mullins Center include George "Trigger" Burke (#32), Julius Erving (#32), Lou Roe (#15) and Al Skinner (#30). Additionally, Dick Bergquist in baseball (#26), Danielle Henderson in softball (#44), Greg Minton in water polo (#6) and Eric Sopracasa (#43) in men's lacrosse have had their jerseys retired in their respective sports.
UMASS SELECTED FIFTH IN A-10 PRESEASON POLL
• UMass was selected fifth in the preseason Atlantic 10 Poll in a vote by media and coaches. Saint Joseph's was picked to win the league followed by Saint Louis, VCU, Temple and UMass. The Hawks had 11 first place votes, while the Billikens had 10 votes. Temple, UMass and Butler all had two first place votes in the poll.
• Junior Chaz Williams was named to the preseason First Team. Williams had a banner campaign in 2011-12 in leading UMass to the NIT Semifinals. The Brooklyn native was named to the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, the A-10 All-Championship Team and the NABC All-District 4 First Team.
• Among national publications, Athlon picked the Minutemen to finish fourth and make a return trip to the NIT. They also tabbed Chaz Williams as the Preseason Player of the Year and one of the top 10 Floor Leaders in the nation. Lindy's had UMass seventh but listed it as a team folks may want as an A-10 sleeper team. Williams was bestowed the honor of being the Most Entertaining player in the league.
UMASS AMONG TOP 3-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS IN 2011-12
• UMass averaged 8.1 3-point field goals per game a year ago, which ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen made 288 triples to rank second all-time in school history.
UMass was one of just four schools in Division I with four players who made at least 50 treys. The others were Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State.
UMASS A POPULAR TV CHOICE IN 2012-13
• UMass is scheduled to appear on television 11 times this season with nine current match-ups slated for national broadcasts. That marks the most regular-season showings since the 1997-98 year.
UMASS POSTSEASON HISTORY
• UMass has an all-time postseason record of 24-21 in 18 combined appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. The Minutemen have made eight NCAA Tourney showings, with the last in 1998. The first came in 1962 before a string of seven-consecutive from 1992-98 in which it ran its all-time record to 11-8 with an Elite Eight showing in 1995 and the only Final Four appearance in A-10 history in 1996. Last season the Minutemen collected their 11th NIT appearance and ran their record to 13-13, which included Final Fours in 1991 (fourth), 2008 (runner-up) and 2012 (tied-third).
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
• The A-10 ranked seventh among all conferences in the final RPI in 2011-12. The league boasted eight Top 100 teams, third among all leagues behind only the Big East and Big 10. The eight teams matched the SEC and was more than the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Mountain West.
A-10 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• For the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 Conference earned at least three bids into the NCAA Tournament while it marked the 27th time in the league's 35-year history that the conference received multiple bids to participate in the national tournament. The A-10 also received multiple at-large bids for the fifth year in a row and 18th time overall. Over the last six years, the league has had 12 at-large selections - the seventh most among Division I conferences - behind only the Big East (42), Big Ten (29), ACC (26), Big 12 (26), SEC (23) and the Pac-10 (22). In fact, the A-10 is one of eight conferences to receive at least one at-large selection over each of the last six seasons.