UMass Men’s Basketball Team Is In The Top 15
Sneaky quiet season by the Minutemen so far, huh? 16-1 with their only loss being a bit of a referee snafu at the end of the game. No excuses and no reason to lean on that one loss when they’ve got 16 wins so far. However, the stat that jumps off the page isn’t the top 15 ranking (forthcoming), it’s UMass’ RPI. Via Yahoo, UMass currently ranks 4th in RPI which takes into account strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. So if you’re scoring at home, UMass is playing a tough schedule and succeeding against that tough schedule. The teams above them are Kansas, who it seems plays a top 25 team every game, Villanova, who is ranked #6 in the country and Arizona, who is currently undefeated and #1 in the country. Not bad company for a team out of the A-10, ranked #16th in country and is just a few years removed from being relatively unknown. The boys up in Amherst have the Mullins Center rocking again and it’s time to take notice. Derek Kellogg has the team playing uptempo, energetic basketball led by senior Chaz Williams who averages 16 points and seven assists a game. They are a team that in all seriousness isn’t playing outstanding basketball but is learning how to win. They have played a ton of close games, including last week’s nail biter against George Mason. This UMass team is beginning to show the confidence needed to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. Speaking of the Big Dance, it’s almost safe to say that the Minutemen will be headed back there for the first time since 1998. It’s been a long time coming and if they can get back there, I think it is safe to say that this team has come full circle since their demise in the late 90’s. Besides a few successful Travis Ford years, this is the best we’ve seen this team play since Coach Cal and his “Refuse to Lose” teams in the mid-90’s. Having Kellogg lead this team makes it all the more better. Here’s hoping Kellogg sticks around long enough to see this thing through.
P.S. Nice sideburns / goatee combo from Kellogg.