Following its thrilling, come-from-behind 65-61 win over Rhode Island on Thursday, Massachusetts is back at Friday night at 9 p.m. against George Washington. The Minutemen won the only meeting in the regular-season, 67-61, at the Smith Center in Washington D.C. UMass went 10-6 and tied for fifth place with Dayton and is the No. 6 seed, while GW finished tied for third with Saint Joseph's at 11-5 and is the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The winner will advance to the semifinal round against the VCU-Richmond winner on Saturday at 4 p.m.
A win would put UMass into the semifinals for the third-consecutive year and the 12th time overall.
WHERE TO WATCH
Friday's game will be televised nationally on NBC SN with Mike Corey and Stan Van Gundy on the call.
Fans can also watch online at NBC Sports Extra and on their mobile devices using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, available on IOS and Android devices.
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 Minutemen are shooting 46.6 pct. from the field, 35.5 pct. from outside and 67.5 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 76.4 points per game overall. In A-10 games, those numbers were 46.0 pct., 33.6 pct., 66.2 pct. and 73.3 ppg.
UMass averages 5.5 3-pointers made and 15.4 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 210 steals thus far for 6.7 spg, which ranks 124th in the nation. UMass leads the A-10 and is 19th in blocked shots with 5.7 bpg.
Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.1, third in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (5). In A-10 games, he averaged 15.8 points (12th in the A-10), 6.9 assists (1st) and 1.7 steals (2nd).
UMASS' A-10 TOURNAMENT HISTORY
UMass has an all-time record of 35-32 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament dating to its inception in 1977. The 35 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 11-9 all-time in first-round games, 11-17 in the quarterfinals, 8-4 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 second-consecutive season. Prior to last year, it marked the first time since 1990, the year it advanced to its first tourney final. All-time, UMass is 5-3 all-time playing as the sixth seed.
UMass and Saint Louis are the only two teams to reach the semifinals in each of the last two seasons. The Minutemen are 5-2 over the last two A-10 tourneys and 6-5 under Derek Kellogg. Prior to its first round win over Duquesne two years ago, UMass had gone 1-11 in its previous 12 games.
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 now 6-5 as a coach in the tournament, winning in the first-round at Charlotte in 2010 with a pair of 2-1 semifinal showings each of the past two tourneys before last night's win over Rhode Island.
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.
A-10 1ST RD - RHODE ISLAND LEFTOVERS
UMass closed the game on a 19-6 run over the final 9:51 and held URI without a point on 15-consecutive possessions during the stretch.
UMass shot just 32 percent and was 3-for-15 from outside, but made 28-of-36 from the line, continuing a trend that has seen the team make 73 percent over the last six games. The team is a 67 percent group on the year.
The Minutemen also had a season-best 13 steals, which tied for the fifth-most in an A-10 tourney game.
SERIES HISTORY WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON
GW leads the overall series 36-29, with UMass holding a 15-13 edge in games payed in Amherst and 5-3 in neutral sites, while the Colonials have controled the series in Foggy Bottom, 20-9. The Minutemen have won 13 of the last 19.
UMass won the earlier meeting 67-61 on Feb. 15 in D.C. Sampson Carter made a career-high four 3-pointers while tying his career high of 20 points to lead UMass, who outscored GW 8-2 over the final four minutes.
The teams split the two games a year ago. GW spoiled the retirement of Marcus Camby's jersey in Amherst with a 79-76 win, while UMass claimed a 77-72 victory in the Atlantic 10 Championship first round.
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.
10 of the last 14 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
Derek Kellogg is 4-3 against GW as a coach after going 4-4 as a player from 1991-95.
UMASS SOLID IN MARCH LAST 3 YRS
UMass has played some of its best basketball the past three seasons in the month of March. The Minutemen are a combined 12-7 in March dating back to ther 2011-12 season.
STRONG GUARD PLAY PACING UMASS
They say good guard play is what teams need to advance in the postseason and UMass has gotten just that over the past six games. The Minutemen's three-headed monster of Chaz Williams, Derrick Gordon and Trey Davis have combined to score 245 of 434 points (56.5%) of their offense over the last six games.
Going a step further and looking at the final 4:00 of those last six games, Williams and Davis have scored 46 of the team's 64 points (opponents with just 47 during the same span). The duo is a 22-of-26 (84.6%) from the FT line as well.
GORDON 5-0 IN CONFERENCE TOURNEYS
Sophomore G Derrick Gordon has never lost a conference tournament game in his career. As a freshman at Western kentucky in 2011-12, the Plainfield, N.J. native led the No. 7 seed Hilltoppers to four wins in four days and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. He is now 5-0 in conference touenament play after Thursday's win over URI.
WILLIAMS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-A-10 & FIRST TEAM ALL-DISTRICT
Redshirt senior PG Chaz Williams was named to the First Team All-Atlantic 10 squad as voted on by the 13 head coaches and added USBWA All-District 1 First Team accolades earlier this week. Williams leads UMass in scoring (15.8 ppg), assists (7.1 apg), steals (1.4 spg), FT made (130, 4.3/gm) and minutes (35.1 mpg). He also ranks among the A-10 leaders in scoring (5th), assists (1st), steals (6th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (t-1st, 2.2).
In 16 A-10 games, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native posted the following stats: 12 double-figure scoring games ... 5 games with at least 20 points (third-straight season) ... 3 games with at least 9 assists ... 8 games with at least 7 assists ... 1 double-double.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native is the 56th first team all-conference selection in school history and just the fifth to earn three-straight, joining Al Skinner, Jim McCoy, Lou Roe and Rashaun Freeman. UMass now has 22 first team honorees since the league's inception prior to the 1976-77 season.