• UMass returns to the Mullins Center to play host to Ohio as the Minutemen close-out the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule with a pair of home games. East Carolina will pay a visit on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
• UMass is looking to win three-consecutive games for the first time this season and the first time since last year’s NIT run.
• The Minutemen will play four Mid-American Conference teams in its next five contests. The quartet comes as a result of the UMass football program’s membership in the FBS league and the games are decided by the MAC office.
• 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 and 25 last season.
• The Minutemen are shooting 39.4 pct. from the field, 28.2 pct. from outside and 69.5 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 70.6 points per game.
• UMass averages 6.9 3-pointers made and 24.4 attempts per game.
• The Minutemen have 69 steals thus far for 8.6 spg, which ranks 70th in the nation. Last season, UMass collected a school-record 326 steals and 8.8 spg.
SERIES HISTORY WITH OHIO & MAC
• Wednesday’s game will be the second all-time meeting with Ohio. The Minutemen won the initial contest, 95-82, on Nov. 28, 1975 at the Hall of Fame Tournament in Springfield.
• UMass is 6-5 all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference. The record against those schools includes: 1-0 vs. Akron, 1-0 vs. Buffalo, 1-0 vs. Eastern Michigan, 0-2 vs. Kent State, 1-0 vs. Northern Illinois, 1-0 vs. Ohio and 1-3 vs. Toledo. UMass lost its last game against a MAC school, falling at Toledo, 57-56 on Dec. 3, 2008. A season earlier, the Minutemen defeated Northern Illinois (102-87) in Cedar Falls, Iowa and Toledo (68-61) in Amherst.
• This will mark the first of four games this season against MAC schools. UMass is contractually obligated to play two games at home and two on the road as part of the football program’s membership in the conference. The four opponents and their locations are determined by the MAC.
UMASS WITH STRONG 3FG DEFENSE LATELY
• UMass has held its last two opponents to the two lowest 3-point shooting efforts of the eight-game season. Northeastern (3-27 .111) and Elon (8-35 .229) have combined to shoot .177 on 11-of-62 from beyond the arc.
• As a result of its perimeter defense, UMass opponents are shooting .313 for the season. That ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 and is tied for 117th nationally.
UMASS UP-AND-DOWN FROM OUTSIDE
• At the other end of the floor, UMass has struggled to consistently find its stroke from downtown, shooting just .282 on 55-of-195 thus far - a year removed from last season’s 288 makes, the second-most in school history.
• The Minutemen have shot over 35 percent in a game just once this season and have made just 14-for-53 (.264) in two games at the Mullins Center. Last season, UMass shot .386 over its 16 home contests.
VINSON NAMED UMASS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
• Massachusetts men’s basketball player Terrell Vinson was named the Athlete of the Week, as announced by the award committee on Tuesday.
• Vinson led UMass to a thrilling 78-73 win over Elon in the 2012 Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at the MassMutual Center with a career-high 22 points. He scored 14 after halftime, including a team-high three in overtime. Made his first 13 free throw attempts before missing with three seconds remaining in the extra period, leaving him one shy of tying the UMass single-game record for consecutive makes.
• It was the Baltimore native’s sixth double-figure scoring game of the season and 45th of his career. He also moved his career scoring total to 976 points.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMEN 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 TO RETIRE MARCUS CAMBY'S NO. 21 JERSEY
• The Massachusetts athletic department announced Tuesday that it will retire the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen host George Washington at the Mullins Center.
• One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league's Freshman of the Year in 1994.
• He left UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season for the Maroon & White.
• This will be the fifth men's basketball jersey retired at UMass and ninth in school history. Previous hoops numbers to be hung at the South end of the Mullins Center include George "Trigger" Burke (#32), Julius Erving (#32), Lou Roe (#15) and Al Skinner (#30). Additionally, Dick Bergquist in baseball (#26), Danielle Henderson in softball (#44), Greg Minton in water polo (#6) and Eric Sopracasa (#43) in men's lacrosse have had their jerseys retired in their respective sports.
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 in its 20th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 193-75 (.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.
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 HISTORY
• 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.