• UMass opens play in the Atlantic 10 Championship with a first round game against George Washington at 9 p.m. Thursday in a rematch of a 79-76 Colonials win in Amherst on Jan. 19. UMass went 9-7 - for the second-straight season - and tied for sixth place with Xavier and is the No. 6 seed, while George Washington finished in a three-way tie for 10th at 7-9 and is the No. 11 seed in the tournament.
WHERE TO WATCH
• Thursday’s game will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network with Mike Corey, Dave Kaplan and Brooke Weisbrod on the call. Comcast/Xfinity subscribers in the Springfield and Amherst markets can watch the game on channels 66 and 865 (HD). Additionally, the network can be found on the following satellite stations: DirecTV Ch. 220; Dish Ch. 159 and 9466; 4DTV Ch. W5287; C-Band Ch. G7-21; and FAVE Ch. 213.
• Charter Cable on the UMass campus carries the NBC Sports Network on channel 28.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
• The winner will advance to the quarterfinal round against third-seeded Temple on Friday night at 9 p.m.
• A win would give UMass 20 on the year, marking the second-consecutive season and 16th in school history.
• 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 43.6 pct. from the field, 34.0 pct. from outside and 76.8 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 73.5 points per game overall. In A-10 games, those numbers were 45.9 pct., 37.0 pct., 71.3 pct. and 74.1 ppg.
• UMass averages 7.3 3-pointers made and 21.6 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 213 steals thus far for 7.3 spg, which ranks 103rd 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 25th in blocked shots with 5.0 bpg.
• Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.6, fifth in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (6). In A-10 games, he averaged 15.3 points (eighth in the A-10) and shot 46 pct from the floor and 80 pct from the free throw line.
UMASS’ NATIONAL 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 for third).
UMASS’ ATLANTIC 10 TOURNAMENT HISTORY
• UMass has an all-time record of 32-31 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament dating to its inception in 1977. The 32 wins trail only Temple (53-21) and Saint Joseph’s (33-28) in terms of wins in the tournament. UMass has captured five titles -- consecutively from 1992-96, only Temple has more with eight. UMass has been to the finals on seven occasions which is third all-time.
• UMass is 9-9 all-time in first-round games, 10-17 in the quarterfinals, 8-3 in the semifinals and 5-2 in championship games.
• With the format of keeping the A-10 in one division of 16 teams, UMass is the sixth seed for the first time since 1990, the year it advanced to its first tourney final. All-time, UMass is 2-2 all-time playing as the sixth seed.
• Last season, the Minutemen opened one of the most memorable postseason runs in recent memory with a strong showing at the A-10 Tournament. UMass tied for fifth and was slotted into the 8-9 game as a the No. 8 seed. UMass defeated Duquesne in the highest scoring of the four first round games, 92-83. That set-up a second meeting in nine days with No. 21 Temple. The Owls claimed an overtime game in Philadelphia a week earlier, but the Minutemen upset the No. 1 seed with a 77-71 victory. A day later, UMass fell behind to St. Bonaventure by 16 with 6:50 to play, only to go on a 19-5 run and trim the margin to 77-75 with 1:37 left. After a number of free throws by both teams, Raphiael Putney’s 3-point attempt down by two was a few inches long and the Minutemen fell 84-80.
MORE UMASS & A-10 TOURNEY NUGGETS
• Following four seasons where the first round games were held at campus sites, the event opens a new chapter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with the more consolidated format of all four rounds in consecutive days at the same location.
• As mentioned in the previous bullet, this marks the first year the event is being held at the Barclays Center, following seven seasons in Atlantic City. It is at a neutral site for the tenth year in a row, as it was at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati in 2005 and 2006.
• Lou Roe (1992-95) is the only player in Atlantic 10 history to be named to four All-Championship teams. Harper Williams (1990-93) is the only player in league history to earn two Most Outstanding Player awards (1992, 1993).
• Five former UMass stars earned All-Atlantic 10 Tournament honors more than once in their career. The five players to accomplish the feat are Jim McCoy (1990 and 1992), Harper Williams (1992 and 1993), Lou Roe (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995), Marcus Camby (1995 and 1996) and Monty Mack (2000 and 2001).
• The longest winning streak in Atlantic 10 Championship play is 16, set by UMass when it was winning five straight titles from 1992-96. The Minutemen won three games a year for five years, as well as their first round match-up with La Salle in 1997 before falling to George Washington in the quarterfinals.
KELLOGG’S A-10 TOURNAMENT SUCCESS
• UMass head coach Derek Kellogg never lost a game in the Atlantic 10 Tournament as a player, posting a perfect 12-0 record as a Minuteman from 1992-95. Kellogg and UMass were in the midst of that 16-game tournament win streak in capturing the crowns from 1992-96. He is 1-3 as a coach in the tournament, winning in the first-round at Charlotte in 2010.
• In his senior year, Kellogg tied for team-high scoring honors in the A-10 title game with 14 points as UMass knocked off Temple for the third year in a row in the final, 63-44 on March 9, 1995. In his last game vs. Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament, Kellogg notched 16 points and handed out five assists in the 1995 A-10 Quarterfinals. His highest scoring game in the A-10 Tournament came in the 1993 Quarterfinals with 19 points in a 75-62 win over St. Bonaventure on March 7, 1993. In that game, Kellogg also set the UMass A-10 Tournament record for assists in a game with 11.
• Kellogg has been a part of eight conference tournament winning teams, the four at UMass, George Mason as an assistant coach in 1999 and Memphis in 2006-08. The Tigers were a perfect 9-0 in conference tournament play over his last three years taking home the Conference USA crowns in 2006-2008.
UMASS & NYC HAVE LONG, STORIED HISTORY
• With this week’s Atlantic 10 Championship moving to Brooklyn, its gives us a chance to touch on UMass’ history in the New York City area, which includes 23 games at Madison Square Garden.
• UMass is 9-14 all-time at MSG, with its most recent visits coming in the 2008 and 2012 NIT Final Fours. The Minutemen are 6-3 in regular-season games at the “Mecca of Basketball.”
SERIES HISTORY WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON
• GW leads the overall series 36-27, with UMass holding a 15-13 edge in games payed in Amherst and 4-3 in neutral sites, while the Colonials have controled the series in Foggy Bottom, 20-8. The Minutemen have won 11 of the last 17.
• This will be the seventh meeting in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, marking the third-most played opponent in the event for UMass (10 w/ Duquesne, 9 w/ Temple). The series is tied 3-3, with UMass winning the last game, 73-62, in Philadelphia in 2002.
• UMass has won two of the three overtime games in the series, including the most recent extra-session contest - a 76-74 win in GW’s Smith Center in 2005.
• Eight of the last 12 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
Chaz Williams NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-ATLANTIC 10 & FIRST TEAM NABC ALL-DISTRICT 1 HONORS
• Redshirt junior PG Chaz Williams was named to the First Team All-Atlantic 10 squad as voted on by the 16 head coaches and added NABC All-District 4 First Team accolades earlier this week. Williams leads UMass in scoring (15.4 ppg), assists (7.6 apg), steals (2.0), FT made (119, 4.1/gm) and minutes (35.7 mpg). He also ranks among the A-10 leaders in scoring (6th), assists (1st), steals (6th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd, 2.3).
• In 16 A-10 games, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native posted the following stats: 11 double-figure scoring games ... 5 games with at least 20 points (second-straight season) ... 3 double-figure assist games ... 8 games with at least 8 assists ... 3 doubles-doubles with all coming in the last six games.
• The transfer from Hofstra is the 55th first team all-conference selection in school history and the first to go back-to-back since Rashaun Freeman picked up three-straight from 2005-07 (same note is accurate for the NABC award). UMass now has 21 first team honorees since the league’s inception prior to the 1976-77 season.
• For Williams, it marks the third career postseason honor following his selection to last year’s A-10 All-Conference First Team and the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team when he played for current Fordham coach Tom Pecora at Hofstra during the 2009-10 campaign.
• Temple senior guard Khalif Wyatt was named the Player of the Year and Saint Louis’ Jim Crews was named the Coach of the Year. VCU’s Briante Weber was named the Defensive Player of the Year while Xavier freshman Semaj Christon was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Senior Cody Ellis of Saint Louis was voted the Sixth Man of the Year and Xavier big man Travis Taylor earned the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player Award.
RILEY, VINSON & CO. MAKING IT RAIN
• After connecting on a season-high 55 percent (11-of-20) from outside on Saturday at Rhode Island, UMass has shot 35-for-77 (.455) in its last four contests, making at least seven in three of those while averaging 8.8 treys per game, including season-highs of 13 at Xavier and 11 at URI. The squad has posted a season-high in shooting pct. from outside in three of its previous four games, shooting 50 pct against Dayton and 52 pct at Xavier before the Rhody performance.
• Two of the primary shooters in recent games have been seniors Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson. Riley, who leads the team with 61 triples, has blistered the nets to the tune of 25-for-49 (.510) in the last six contests. Due to his continued success, he has entered the NCAA Rankings for 3-pointers made per game, checking in at 171st with 2.1 per outing. Vinson’s stretch of strong shooting dates back 10 games where he has shot 18-of-34 (.529). 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 against St. Bona, Dayton and Xavier with nine. He had a career-high four en route to his game-high 20 points over the Musketeers.
• At the start of the week, UMass’ Official NCAA RPI is 58, following weeks of 55, 55 and 54. The Atlantic 10 had six teams in the top 60 and 10 in the top 100, behind only the Big East’s 11. Butler (21), VCU (27), Saint Louis (27), Temple (38) and La Salle (41) are ahead of the Minutemen. Entering the A-10 Tournament, UMass is 57 with a strength of schedule of 83 in the ESPN Insider RPI, along with 58 and 75 in the CBS Sports.com RPI.
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 nine games, UMass is averaging just under 80 points, 35.2 rebounds and 17.5 assists per contest while shooting 47 pct. overall, 41 pct. from outside and 74 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 six of the nine contests.
KELLOGG AMONG UMASS TOP FIVE IN VICTORIES
• With 83 victories entering Thursday’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 has done an excellent job making its free throws of late, shooting .750 from the free throw line in the past five 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.
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.
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.
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 A-10 Tournament with 968 career points. With his current average of 8.8 points per game, the Minutemen would need to play at least five 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 seven of the last eight games, posting 13.6 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 23-5 at the Mullins Center since the start of last season and 25-5 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 191-79 (.710) following the Temple 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 POSTS IMPRESSIVE ROAD RECORD
} The Minutemen went 8-3 record on the road this season and 4-4 in A-10 action. 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.
A SALUTE TO 21: UMASS RETIRES MARCUS CAMBY’S JERSEY
} The Massachusetts athletic department retired the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen hosted 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 at UMass.
} 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.
LOU ROE NAMED TO INAUGURAL ATLANTIC 10 LEGENDS CLASS
} Lou Roe, the fourth-leading scorer in UMass history was named to the Inaugural Men’s Basketball Legends Class by the Atlantic 10 Conference. He scored 1,905 points in his four-year career, was the first consensus All-American at UMass and the first player to earn Atlantic 10 All-Tournament honors four times. In addition to being a three-time first team All-Atlantic 10 selection, Roe finished his career as UMass’ career leader in rebounds, games played, free throws made and free throws attempted. He is one of only two players in school history to total over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Roe also led the Minutemen to a 111-24 record and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1995, he was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Atlantic 10 Championship MVP. Roe’s 1995 Minutemen also made the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight, while being ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history, a spot which they held on to for five weeks.
} Roe is a native of Atlantic City, N.J. and played professionally in the NBA, Europe, Asia and South America for 17 years before returning to UMass to complete his degree.
} The Men’s Basketball Legends will be honored on March 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. prior to the 2013 Men’s Basketball Championship semifinals. Each honoree will be saluted during a celebration awards brunch in the 40/40 Club, beginning at 11 am prior to the A-10 men’s semifinal games.
PAIR OF 6-FOOT-7 FORWARDS SIGN NLIs
} Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg announced that 6-foot-7 forwards Seth Berger and Zach Coleman have each signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Minutemen, beginning next season.
} Berger is entering his senior season at Ballard H.S. in the Seattle area and is listed as the fifth-best prospect in the state of Washington. He has helped the Beavers to three playoff appearances and one state tournament showing. He was a KingCo 4A Second Team All-League selection by the Seattle Times last year when he posted averages of 15.3 points and nine rebounds per game. As a sophomore he averaged 12.9 ppg and was Ballard’s second-leading rebounder while earning Honorable Mention All-League honors. The Beavers also made their first state tournament appearance since 2002 that season. Berger has been attending the Emerald City Pioneers Basketball Academy for the past seven years.
} Coleman attends Woodrow Wilson H.S. in Dallas and was recently named to the Dallas Morning News’ Preseason All-Area team following a junior year that saw him average 16 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Class 4A school. He was a Third Team All-Area selection last season. He plays AAU ball for the Dallas Mustangs.
4 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 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.
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. The Brooklyn native received yet another accolade as he was named to the initial 80-member 2013 Bob Cousy Award Watch List in early January.
} 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.
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.
2012-13 SLATE One of Strongest
} The 2012-13 UMass schedule has the potential to be one of the strongest since Derek Kellogg took over prior to the 2008-09 season. The ledger has 14 games against teams that participated in the postseason last year (8 NCAA, 5 NIT, 1 CBI). Eight of the 14 home games fall on Saturdays with one Sunday contest.
} The schedule features 16 games against schools that finished 2011-12 in the top 100 of the RPI.
} UMass will look to improve upon it’s 2-6 A-10 record away from Amherst, but will do so against one of the tougher slates. The Minutemen will travel to Charlotte, Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, VCU and Xavier in 2012-13. That group, which includes VCU’s 8-1 CAA home record, combined to go 44-21.
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.
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.