• No. 21/22 UMass meets BYU in the third-annual Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase game on Saturday afternoon at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
• This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,214-1,071 (.537) in 2,285 games. UMass is 448-308 (.593) in conference games, including a 284-288 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference championships and five tournament titles.
• 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.
GENERAL PREGAME NOTES
• Yes, its early for the various RPI numbers to matter, but UMass is ranked No. 1 by the ESPN Insider RPI, the CBS Sports RPI, RealTimeRPI.com, No. 2 by Stat Sheet, No. 22 by Jeff Sagarin and No. 26 by Ken Pomeroy ... The Minutemen’s strength of schedule is No. 1 by ESPN, No. 2 by Stat Sheet, and No. 3 by CBS and RealTime RPI.
• Saturday’s game could resemble a track meet as both teams average more than 64 shots per game. Additionally, BYU is scoring 89.2 ppg and UMass is at 81.6 ppg.
SERIES HISTORY W/ BYU & THE WCC
• UMass will face BYU for the first time ever on Dec. 7 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Minutemen are 1-1 versus West Coast Conference programs, beating Santa Clara in the 1991 Great Alaska Shootout and falling to Gonzaga at Seattle’s Key Arena in 2004.
• The Cougars are in their second year as a member of the WCC, after spending time in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (1917-37), Mountain States Conference (1937-62), WAC (1962-99) and Mountain West (1999-2012).
UMASS & SPRINGFIELD HAVE STRONG HISTORY
• Saturday’s game against BYU in the third Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase marks the sixth-consecutive year that UMass has played at least once at the MassMutual Center, with an active five-game winning streak in the building. The Minutemen went 3-0 in the facility two seasons ago, defeated Siena and Elon in the first two Hall of Fame Showcase games over the past couple of seasons. UMass is 44-24 all-time at the MassMutual Center (formerly Springfield Civic Center).
• UMass is 19-4 since 1990 in the building. The first UMass game played there was on Dec. 28, 1970 as UMass defeated Fairfield, 95-82.
• UMass’ also had a nice win in Springfield against Oregon on Nov. 27, 2001 as the Minutemen beat the Ducks 62-58. Oregon had three players on that squad who turned pro: Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, and Chris Christoffersen.
• One of the most memorable contests in the facility came in the 1994 Tip-Off game when third-ranked UMass defeated the defending national champion Arkansas with a stunning 104-80 loss -- its worst defeat since the 1987-88 season -- and the victory catapulted UMass into the nation’s top-ranked position. UMass senior Lou Roe set the tone of the evening with a slam dunk five seconds into the game and dominated the game from start to finish. Roe scored a career-high 34 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and connected on 10-of-11 free throws in a sterling performance. Roe had help from teammates Donta Bright (24 points), and sophomore Marcus Camby, who scored 13 in 17 minutes.
• The Minutemen played their entire home schedule at the Civic Center during the 1984-85 season -- as the Curry Hicks Cage was being renovated -- going 7-4. That is the only year that UMass has not played its home schedule on campus.
JUST WIN BABY!
• At seven games, UMass is riding its longest winning streak since the end of last season’s non-conference slate, when it had a similar seven-game stretch before losing at Saint Louis on Jan. 10. Prior to that, the Minutemen opened the 2010-11 season with seven victories. That marks the longest stretch in Derek Kellogg’s six years.
• The next longest streak prior to any of those was in 1998 when the Minutemen won 10 games in a row from Jan. 3-Feb. 1 under Bruiser Flint.
BEST STARTS IN UMASS HISTORY
• With a win on Saturday, UMass would continue the best start since the 1995-96 season. A 8-0 start would equal the sixth-best start in the 105 years of UMass basketball. UMass also started 8-0 in 1977-78. Currently, at 7-0, UMass also had the same mark in 1968-69 and 2010-11, and was 6-0 in 1975-76, 1971-72 and 1956-57.
• Back in 1995-96, UMass started with a school-record 26 consecutive wins on to the way to a 35-2 season and an NCAA Final Four appearance.
• Here are the best starts at UMass: 1995-96 (26-0); 1933-34 (12-0 undefeated season); 1970-71 (11-0); 1973-74 (9-0); 1925-26 (9-0); 1977-78 (8-0); 2010-11 (7-0); 1968-69 (7-0); 1975-76 (6-0); 1971-72 (6-0); 1956-57 (6-0).
• The program started 5-0 in 1991-92 (Derek Kellogg’s freshman season) and 1930-31.
UMASS RETURNS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS & COACHES POLLS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1998
• Despite not playing last week, UMass climbed three spots in the Associated Press poll to No. 21 this week. The Minutemen received 274 points, their most this season after collecting 178 the week prior. UMass also returned to the coaches poll on Monday for the first time since Nov. 23, 1998, coming in at No. 22 with 122 points.
• After a 6-0 start to the season with wins over teams from the ACC, the SEC, and the Big Ten, the UMass men’s basketball team was ranked 24th in last week’s Associated Press poll. It was the first appearance in the rankings for the Minutemen since the Nov. 17-23, 1998 poll - just over 15 years to the day.
• UMass has appeared in the AP Poll 79 times previously and is 116-29 all-time as a ranked team. The Minutemen have been ranked in the top 10 48 times, the top five 31 times and No. 1 15 times (32-4).
UMASS PLAYING WITH A LEAD... A LOT
• Part of the UMass formula for success through seven games has been to not fall behind. In 280 minutes, the Minutemen have trailed for a total of 38:49 - just 16.17 pct. of the season.
• Furthermore, UMass has used its pressing, attcking style to wear down opponents and pull away in the second half. UMass has only trailed for 10:26 of the second half this year, with 5:46 coming in the opener against BC and 4:40 on Tuesday at Eastern Michigan. They are outscoring teams by an average of 37.1-34.0 in the first half and 44.4-37.4 in the second half.
GETTING OFFENSIVE ON THE GLASS
• One of the stronger parts of the play of UMass through the opening seven games has been its ability to control the offensive glass, and capitalizing on those opportunities. UMass has averaged 15.1 offensive boards per game and turned those into 16.0 points per contest. The Minutemen have grabbed at least 17 rebs over the last four games and five times overall (season-high 20 in the opener against BC).
• One of the biggest beneficiaries has been junior C Cady Lalanne. He leads the team with 42 offensive rebounds (40 percent of the team’s 106 this season) and has scored 47 points off them for 6.7 ppg. That is 40.9 percent of his scoring on the year.
• Senior F Sampson Carter is also among the opportunistic ones as his nine offensive boards have netted him 10 points - or 9 percent of his scoring.
DAVIS NOMINATED FOR NABC GOOD WORKS TEAM
• Sophomore G Trey Davis has been nominated for the 2014 Allstate WBCA/NABC Good Works Team®, as announced by the organizations this week.
• Davis is one of 117 men’s nominees from all three NCAA divisions and the NAIA who have been chosen for their charitable achievements and community involvement. The players nominated for this prestigious honor are committed to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of their communities.
• The DeSoto, Texas native has been involved in a number of community service activities, including serving as a counselor at the Basketball Hall of Fame, St. Brigid’s Basketball Clinic, The Big E Clinic for Kids, The Special Olympics and the UMass Basketball Camp.
DECEMBER UNDER KELLOGG
• UMass is 21-12 (.636) in the month of December under Derek Kellogg and has won 14 of its last 16. The Minutemen have claimed their last six dating back to a home loss to Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 1 of last season. UMass has gone 5-1 each of the past two Decembers with both losses to the Hurricanes.
• Things won’t be easy in 2013 as four of their remaining five opponents currently have a winning record and the group has a combined 24-13 (.649) mark.