• The Massachusetts basketball program has earned its second-consecutive berth in the National Invitation Tournament and will play host to Stony Brook, the America East Conference regular season champion, on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN3.
WHERE TO WATCH
• The game will be broadcast by ESPN over the Internet and shown on the web-based ESPN3. The contest can also be seen on various smart phones and tablet devices using the Watch ESPN app.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
• The winner will advance to the Second Round and face the Iowa-Indiana State winner. The dates for the next round are March 21-25 and will be announced by the NIT.
• 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, 25 last season with an NIT FInal Four appearance and 21 entering the NIT First Round.
• The Minutemen are shooting 43.6 pct. from the field, 34.0 pct. from outside and 71.6 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 73.4 points per game overall. In A-10 games, those numbers finished at 45.9 pct., 37.0 pct., 71.3 pct. and 74.1 ppg.
• UMass averages 7.2 3-pointers made and 21.5 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 236 steals thus far for 7.4 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 5.2 bpg.
• Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.5, tied-fourth 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’ 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 are making their 12th NIT appearance this season and bring a 13-13 record which includes three Final Fours and a runner-up finish in 2008.
• UMass is 6-6 in NIT First Round games, 4-0 in NIT home games and 5-3 in true NIT road games. The Minutemen have played 16 of their 26 games in New York state, going 5-11 in those contests.
RECAPPING LAST YEAR’S NIT RUN
• Last season, UMass produced one of the more memorable postseason stretches in recent memory, reaching the semifinals of both the Atlantic 10 and NIT tournaments. The NIT run featured the Minutemen collecting three road victories en route to the Final Four, becoming just the fourth team in since campus sites came to be in 1977 to accomplish the feat.
• UMass was sent to fourth-seeded Mississippi State for the first round where it blitzed the Bulldogs in the first half before holding on for a 101-96 double overtime win.
• In the second round, the Minutemen traveled to top seeded Seton Hall where they emerged from cozy Walsh Gymnasium with a 77-67 win. Chaz Williams took over the game down the stretch as he finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
• The quarterfinal round saw UMass travel to Drexel where the Derek Kellogg (pupil)-Bruiser Flint (teacher) storyline took center stage. But with temperatures inside the Daskalakis Atheltic Center in the low 80s, the Minutemen found themselves trailing by 17 points with just over 16 minutes left before mounting a furious rally, outscoring the Dragons 26-7 over the next nine minutes. UMass shot 71 pct. in the second half and 59 pct. in the 72-70 triumph.
• UMass fell to eventual champion Stanford 74-64 in the semifinals. The Minutemen trailed by as many as 12 midway through the first half before eventually taking a 50-49 lead with 8:05 remaining. But the Cardinal responded with an 11-3 run to advance to the finals. Williams led all players with 19 points and Freddie Riley came off the bench to score 10 for UMass, which shot 34 pct. and was 5-for-22 from outside.
SERIES HISTORY WITH STONY BROOK & THE AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE
• UMass and Stony Brook will be meeting for the first time on Wednesday.
• Wednesday’s game will mark the 295th game against a current America East team, fashioning a 198-96 (.673) mark. The most frequent opponents include former Yankee Conference foes New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, which comprise 182 of the match-ups (62 pct.). They also have 71 games played against Boston University.
• UMass hasn’t played an AE team since splitting a pair with Maine (L, 68-56) and BU (W, 71-54) two seasons ago - the only meetings in Derek Kellogg’s five seasons. Prior to the loss to Maine, the Minutemen had won eight-consecutive dating back to a 72-66 loss to Hartford in the third game of the 2003-04 season.
UMASS STRONG IN MARCH LAST TWO YEARS
• UMass has played some of its best basketball the past two seasons in the month of March. The Minutemen are a combined 10-4 in March dating back to last season. The break down includes a 4-2 mark this year and 6-2 a year ago, which included a 2-1 run in the A-10 Tournament and 3-1 in the NIT.
SENIORS CLOSE CAREERS WITH FIVE A-10 TOURNEY WINS
• UMass seniors Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson have made a large impact on the program during their careers. As part of the first full recruiting class by Derek Kellogg, they will conclude their careers with five Atlantic 10 Tournament victories, going 5-4 following the team’s second-straight A-10 Semifinal appearance.
• To put that in perspective, the last senior group to win as many or more was the Class of 2003 who won five from 2000-03. UMass didn’t record any postseason league victories from 2003-09 and that included a pair of NIT Tournament qualifiers in 2007 and 2008 and an A-10 regular-season championship team in 2007.
WILLIAMS ON THE CUSP OF MORE RECORDS
• Chaz Williams enters the Stony Brook game with 236 assists this year, needing just 12 to pass Edgar Padilla for the UMass single-season record. Padilla had 247 over 37 games during the NCAA Final Four season in 1995-96.
• Passing Padilla would place Williams in second place on the Atlantic 10 single-season list, behind Howard Evans of Temple, who handed out 294 dimes during the 1987-88 campaign. Padilla’s mark is also the benchmark for all juniors in the A-10.
WILLIAMS NAMED TO A-10 ALL-CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR
• Playing in his hometown of Brooklyn, Chaz Williams made the Barclays Center his own personal playground. In leading UMass to the tournament semifinals for the second-consecutive year, he averaged 20.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals while shooting 50 pct. from the field and 94 pct. from the free throw line over three games. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Championship team, along with Dwayen Evans (MOP) and Juvonte Reddic of VCU.
• Last year he averaged 17.7 points, 6.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals over three games.
• It marked just the second time in league history that a player was named to multiple all-championship teams without playing in a title game. Roy Hinson of Rutgers was named to two teams as a freshman and senior in 1980 and 1983.
• Williams has scored 115 points in six A-10 Tournament contests. With one tournament remaining, he could end his three-year A-10 career among the top scorers in championship history. Mark Macon scored 207 points over 10 games from 1988-91. UMass’ all-time leading scorer Jim McCoy is second with 173 over eight games from 1989-92, while A-10 Legend Lou Roe is third with 172 over 12 games from 1992-95.
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 1 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.
MINUTEMEN MAKIN’ IT RAIN
• Despite tying its season-low with three 3-pointers against VCU on Saturday, UMass is shooting 34.0 percent on the season. But a further disection of the shooting shows the Minutemen have shot 51-for-124 (.411) in its last seven contests, making at least seven in four of those while averaging 7.5 treys per game, including season-highs of 13 at Xavier and 11 at URI.
• At the start of the week, UMass’ Official NCAA RPI is 56, following weeks of 55, 55, 54 and 58. Stony Brook is at 80, while the second round opponents matched up with Wednesday’s game show Indiana State at 72 and Iowa at 81.
• 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 (16), Butler (22), VCU (24), Temple (41) and La Salle (46) are ahead of the Minutemen. Entering the NIT, UMass is 55 with a strength of schedule of 73 in the ESPN Insider RPI, along with 56 and 72 in the CBS Sports.com RPI.
OFFENSE TURNED THE CORNER IN SECOND HALF OF A-10 ACTION
• The UMass offense definitely hit its stride in the second half of the Atlantic 10 season. The Minutemen averaged more points per game, shot better, rebounded at a higher rate and shared the ball more in the final nine games of league play compared to the first seven.
• In those nine games, UMass is averaged 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 saw at least 20 minutes per game and the team put at least four players in double figures in six of the nine contests.
KELLOGG AMONG UMASS TOP FIVE IN VICTORIES
• With 85 victories entering Wednesday’s game, fifth-year head coach Derek Kellogg has tied Harold M. Gore (1952-59) for fourth all-time in coaching victories at UMass. Gore 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.