Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

Minutemen host Dowling in exhibition

It’s just an exhibition game. Regardless of what happens, Saturday’s match-up isn’t going to make a difference and the statistics aren’t going to count.

But after nearly losing to Dowling in 2008, Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg’s first game as a head coach, he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Last year, the Minutemen pulled off a 91-87 victory over the Golden Lions, as guard David Seagers put up 32 points while keeping his team in the game.

“They played us really tough last year,” Kellogg said, and isn’t sure if the match-up the second time around will be any easier.

UMass was supposed to play a closed-door scrimmage against Boston University last Saturday, but several Terriers came down with influenza, and Kellogg didn’t want to risk his players getting sick.

However, Kellogg wanted his team to play someone other than themselves before playing in front of the Mullins Center crowd, and arranged a scrimmage with what he described as a “makeshift group of guys” on Thursday night.

According to NCAA rules, the scrimmage cannot be seen by the public or media, and no official scores or statistics can be kept, except for private use. But Kellogg sees the scrimmage as an opportunity to evaluate his players heading into the exhibition game.

“I think our guys are tired of going against each other every night,” Kellogg said.

One of the things Kellogg still wants out of his team is for it to improve it half-court defense. He also knows that just like last year, Dowling will play a zone defense, which is something the Minutemen aren’t used to playing.

Although Kellogg would like a better win than last year, he is also looking mostly at what his players can do, and how they react to different situations. He would like to play the entire bench, and try out different combinations to see which mix of players will make UMass more competitive by the regular season.

Kellogg will also look at the conditioning of his team, specifically the big men, in order to see how much he will need to shuffle his four frontcourt players [Hashim Bailey, Sean Carter, Raphiael Putney and Trey Lang] during games throughout the season.

That’s why, despite his feeling that his team isn’t ready, he expects Dowling to be a good challenge, especially with last year’s result.

Prior to last year’s game against the Golden Lions, Kellogg felt more comfortable with his team because of their experience. But with five freshmen, two transfer students and players who for one reason or another aren’t used to the Minutemen’s system, he doesn’t see this year’s team as ready for the regular season.

“I think we’ll be ready to play a game, but we won’t have half of our stuff in,” Kellogg said. “It will be kind of a work in progress. We won’t have our full-court man-to-man in, and we won’t have plays and sets in.”

The amount of preparation that UMass needed last year wasn’t quite as crucial because its first game was against Arkansas-Monticello, who the Minutemen beat 90-71.

This year, Kellogg and Co. face similar fortune in facing an inexperienced team, but a squad that is much more talented than UAM.  He feels that his team’s first game against Central Florida – who has six freshmen and two redshirt freshmen – is similar in style and readiness with his own team, and will be a good first opponent.

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

Leave A Comment