• The Massachusetts men’s basketball team will open the 2012 season against Harvard as part of the 2012 ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon event.
• This is the 104th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,186-1,059 (.537) in 2,245 games. UMass is 439-301 (.593) in conference games, including a 275-281 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference championships and five tournament titles.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMAN 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’ MARATHON GAME NUGGETS
• Tuesday’s 10 a.m. tipoff with Harvard is the sixth game of the 2012 ESPN College Hoops Marathon where the network shows 24-consecutive hours of games across the country.
• The Minutemen participated in the initial event in 2008 when they played at Memphis in a game that began at midnight EST as the first contest of 14.
• The day will be a showcase for the Atlantic 10 Conference as five teams will be among four of the games. Temple will play at Kent State in the game following UMass, while league newcomer Butler will travel to Xavier in a non-conference game at 4 p.m. VCU will also host Wichita State at 7 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY WITH HARVARD
• UMass and Harvard will be meeting for the 25th time as the Minutemen hold a 14-10 series lead. UMass won the most recent match-up, 98-63, in Springfield on Dec. 27, 1991.
• Derek Kellogg played 15 minutes as a true freshman in 1991, scoring two points and handing out four assists. Lou Roe had 15 points and six rebounds in the contest.
• The Crimson won the initial contest, 25-21, on Jan. 26, 1921.
• The teams met at least once every year from 1971-82, with the Minutemen holding a 10-4 edge during that time.
• Alex Eldridge collected a school-record eight steals in the Minutemen’s 73-66 road win on Nov. 30, 1977.
• UMass’s 67-44 win on Feb. 2, 1980 snapped a 29-game losing skid - the longest in program history.
• The schools both participated in last season’s inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas but did not meet in the bracket.
WELCOMING THE WORLDWIDE LEADER
• ESPN’s visit to Amherst will be the first in two seasons, dating back to Jan. 30, 2010 when the Charlotte game was carried on ESPNU. The last ESPN/ESPN2 broadcast from the Mullins Center, which turns 20 this season, was a year earlier for the Minutemen’s victory over Temple on Jan. 19, 2009.
• ESPN will return to Amherst on Feb. 3, 2013 to broadcast the UMass-Saint Joseph’s contest.
• UMass will play its first four games on the ESPN family of networks. On Thursday, it will open play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on ESPNU, with subsuquent games on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3. The Minutemen’s final four games of last season were played before national audiences as a part of ESPN’s NIT coverage.
• UMass has a special relationship with ESPN as the network has televised some memorable games in the past 20 years. They aired the final “Rage in the Cage” on Jan. 29, 1993 against Louisiana-Lafayette (then SW Louisiana) and the first game in the Mullins Center on Feb. 4, 1993, an overtime win over West Virginia.
WILLIAMS, RILEY PACE UMASS IN 87-82 EXHIBITION WIN
• Chaz Williams had 24 points and 11 assists while Freddie Riley added six 3-point field goals to lead Massachusetts to a 87-82 exhibition victory over American International at the Mullins Center on Saturday.
• UMass shot 48 percent from the floor and was 12-of-24 from outside as four Minutemen scored in double figures. Terrell Vinson had 11 points and seven boards with Maxie Esho providing 11, three and four assists. Sampson Carter came off the bench to collect seven points, five rebounds and three assists.
• UMass assisted on 22 of its 31 field goals, including 11 of its 12 triples.
• AIC, which lost at UConn by 15 two days earlier, was led by Ricky Hudson’s 20 points, along with David Campbell’s 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Yellow Jackets shot 47 percent on the day and made 11 3-pointers.
• The Minutemen converted 12 Yellow Jacket turnovers into 16 points but yielded 17 second-chance points.
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.
MULLINS CENTER TURNS 20 IN 2012-13
• UMass is entering its 20th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 192-75 (.719). The Minutemen also own a 103-49 (.676) 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 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.
2012-13 SCHEDULE ONE OF THE STRONGEST UNDER KELLOGG
• 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 12 games against teams that participated in the postseason last year (7 NCAA, 4 NIT, 1 CBI), with the potential of as many as 14 based on the Puerto Rico Tip-Off bracket. Eight of the 14 home games fall on Saturdays with one Sunday contest.
• The schedule currently features 14 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.
UMASS POSTSEASON HSISTORY
• 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.
UP NEXT: PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
• Tuesday evening UMass will fly to San Juan to take part in the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which will be held Nov. 15-18 at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon. Joining UMass in the field are Akron, UNC Asheville, NC State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Providence and Tennessee. The Minutemen are one of four teams in the field that finished the 2011-12 season with a top-100 RPI, and all eight teams finished in the top 160. NC State and UNC Asheville each made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, while Akron and Tennessee joined the Minutemen in the NIT.
• UMass will be making its second-ever appearance in an event in Puerto Rico, having previously participated in the 1999 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic in Bayamon. The Minutemen have an all-time record of 77-67 in regular-season tournaments, including a 7-6 record in Kellogg’s four years at the helm. Atlantic 10 schools are 9-6 all-time in the previous five years of the event.
• Former Minutemen stars Edgar and Giddel Padilla (1993-97) came to UMass from their hometown of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, located 30 minutes west of San Juan on the northern side of the island, while Carmelo Travieso (1993-97) was born in the San Juan suburb of Rio Piedras before moving to Boston at age 11.
• The UMass swimming & diving teams have made training trips to P.R. each of the past four years. The teams spend 10 days in early January training in San Juan before returning to Amherst for the final two months of their seasons. The association with the U.S. territory goes back to the mid 1980s when current men’s swimming & diving coach Russ Yarworth coached the UMass water polo team. Yarworth would routinely recruit the island with the majority of the Minutemen roster being comprised of member of the Puerto Rican National Team. To bring the story full circle, the pool that the current teams train at is one of the pool used by the Puerto Rico national Water Polo team.