UMass Seeks First NIT Title Against Ohio State, Thursday
2008 MasterCard NIT Championship
UMass Seeks First NIT Title Against Ohio State, Thursday
The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla and Bill Raftery calling the action. It will be carried by ESPN Radio with Marc Kestecher and Bob Valvano on the call. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM in Western Massachusetts and 830 AM and 95.9 FM in the Eastern portion of the state. Bob Behler and Tim Kenney call the action for UMass.
UMass is seeking its fourth overall national championship in its athletic history. The school most recently captured the I-AA football championship in 1998 in addition to the first NCAA women's lacrosse title in 1982 and the 1973 AIAW women's gymnastics championship. The Minutemen have played for two national championships in the last three seasons as they lost the NCAA men's lacrosse title to Virginia in May 2006 and the NCAA I-AA football title to Appalachian State in Dec. 2006.
UMass' program had a chance to reach another national title game, in men's soccer this past fall, but Ohio State, defeated the Minutemen in the 2007 Men's College Cup, 1-0, in Cary, N.C. on Dec. 14, 2007.
UMass Support Strong
The Minutemen have used their full compliment of tickets again and more than 3,500 UMass fans are expected to pack MSG on Thursday.
Famous Alums In The House
Entertainer, actor, comedian and writer Bill Cosby is also expected to be at the game. Cosby earned a masters from UMass in 1972 and a doctorate in 1976.
UMass-Ohio State Series
Travis Ford is facing Ohio State for the first time in his coaching career. Thad Matta is 4-0 all-time vs. the Minutemen with all four wins coming from 2001-04 while he was at Xavier.
Beating The ACC, Big East, SEC
UMass has never beaten teams from the ACC, Big East, SEC and Big Ten in the same season. Something it seeks to do on Thursday.
UMass Against The Big Ten
UMass has never played Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
On the season, UMass has 21 games in which it trailed at one point. Of those 21 wins, UMass trailed by 10 or more in five games which they have won.
UMass' NIT Stars
Ricky Harris has been the most consistent scorer with and 18.8 average in the four NIT games, he has scored 16 vs. Stephen F. Austin, 20 against Akron, 23 vs. Syracuse and 16 against Florida. He is the only Minutemen with double-figures in all four postseason games. Harris has made 14 3-pointers in the four games as well, 3.2 per game.
UMass' 20-Win Season
With 25 wins this season, UMass has the fifth-most wins in school history passing last year's team (24-9) an the 1992-93 squad (24-9). Fourth on the list is 28 wins set in 1993-94.
Game Number 36
At The World's Most Famous Arena
UMass has had two of the biggest wins in school history at the Garden, beating a ranked team for the first time ever and beating a No. 1 team for the first time ever.
The Minutemen are 6-3 in regular-season games at the "Mecca of Basketball" including a 1-1 mark in the 1993 Preseason NIT and 5-2 in other regular-season games, mostly against metro New York area teams. The Minutemen are 1-8 in the postseason NIT, winning only once in 1973, over Missouri, 78-71 -- the first win over a ranked team in school history.
Prior to the 2005 Holiday Festival, UMass had not played at MSG in nearly 10 years when then-No. 1 UMass beat Fordham, 73-47 on Feb. 6, 1996 as part of the Chemical Bank Challenge. In that game, current Denver Nugget Marcus Camby led UMass with 26 points as then UMass coach and current Memphis coach John Calipari won his 100th Atlantic 10 game.
The most memorable game for UMass at the Garden came in the 1994 Preseason NIT. then-No. 18 UMass beat No. 1 North Carolina, 91-86 in overtime on Nov. 24, for the Minutemen's first win over a No. 1-ranked team in school history. Lou Roe led UMass with 28 points. With the big win and nation taking notice, the Minutemen played No. 6 Kansas tough two nights later but lost to the Jayhawks, 86-75 as Roe had a team-high 25 points.
UMass played its first-ever game at MSG against St. Peter's. The then-Redmen beat St. Peter's 94-75 on Feb. 1, 1962. UMass played Iona in each of the next two seasons at the Garden, losing both times.
UMass made its postseason NIT debut at the Garden in 1970, falling to Marquette, 62-55 on Mar. 14. Hall of Famer Julius Erving was held to just 18 points in the game -- only the second time that season he failed to score 20 in a game -- as he averaged 25.7 that season.
In the lone postseason NIT win, coming at MSG, UMass defeated No. 15 Missouri, 78-71 on Mar. 17, 1972 for its first-ever win over a ranked team in school history after being 0-10 against Top 10 teams. Coached by UMass Hall of Famer Jack Leaman, current Boston College coach Al Skinner had 14 points and six rebounds in the win. UMass lost to No. 11 North Carolina in the second round, 73-63 on Mar. 20 as current Louisville coach Rick Pitino scored eight points.
UMass advanced to the NIT Final Four for the first time in school history in 1991, playing at the Garden, but lost in the semifinals, 73-71 to Stanford on March 25, 1991. In the third place game, Colorado beat UMass, 98-91 on March 27.
Forbes Hits 1,000 UMass Points
Forbes is now 29th all-time with 1,093 points at UMass. Next at No. 28 is Mike Williams (1,122 from 1991-95).
Forbes is also moving up the charts in terms of single-season marks at UMass. He has the third-most single-season points with 663. Only Erving (727 in 1970-71) has scored more in a single-season. Ricky Harris is eighth on the list with 629.
Forbes' 19.5 points per game stands as the ninth-best single-season scoring mark in history. He could be the first 20-point scorer since Camby in 1995-96, who scored 20.5 per game.
Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
Lowe has five games with 10 or more assists all in the last 12 outings, most recently with 11 at Syracuse in the NIT Quarterfinals. He set a then-career-high 13 against Saint Louis (2/17). That was the highest total since all-time leader Carl Smith tied the school record with 15 on Jan. 23, 1986. Then, Lowe bettered it in the La Salle game, which with 14 is tied for the fourth-most assists in a game in UMass history.
With his 204 assists this season, Lowe is up to fourth-best single-season in UMass history after passing Smith (191), Alex Eldridge (174) and Rick Pitino (168). Smith is also next with 212 in 1983-84.
With a similar season as a senior, Lowe would be on pace to pass all-time career assist leader Smith (633).
Lowe is averaging 8.2 assists in his last 12 games with his first five career games with 10 or more assists with double-doubles in the three of the last 10 games including the sixth triple-double in UMass history.
Harris on The 3-point Charts
With seven attempts vs. Florida on Tuesday, Harris is also tied for first in 3-pointers attempted with 266. He is tied with Mack (1999-200) and will most certainly break that mark in the NIT title game.
Milligan's Block Party
Milligan's 69 blocks stand ninth in a single-season. Stephane Lasme is No. 8 with 72 in his sophomore season of 2004-05.
Stealing the Show
UMass' Senior Class
The senior class is made up five players, playing three different lengths of years at UMass. Over the last two years (Forbes and Brower), UMass is a combined 49-19 (72.1). Over the last three years (Milligan and Pennie), UMass is 62-34 (64.5). The lone four-year member is Ampim and UMass is 78-46 (62.9) in his tenure.
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