Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

UMass prepping for hard schedule

The schedule over winter break could be pretty frustrating for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team based on its schedule and how it’s done against other quality opponents.

However, UMass coach Derek Kellogg believes that tonight’s game against Grambling State could be a good test to see if playing a competitive schedule has done anything to the Minutemen’s confidence. At the very least, he knows that matchups against top-40 teams are what will make fans more interested in watching his team.

“When you talk about schedules and tough scheduling, I think that will translate into people wanting to come watch a team that’s playing pretty much everyone,” Kellogg said.

The most recent quality opponent to play UMass (4-5) was Seton Hall on Dec. 7. After being down 44-19 at the half, the Minutemen turned around in the second half with 49 points.

However, the effort was not enough to overcome a combined 43 points by Herb Pope and Jeremy Hazell in an 86-68 loss to the Pirates. Seton Hall was one of four non-conference teams in the top 40 to play UMass this year.

Most of the top-tier opponents that played or are scheduled to play the Minutemen do so at neutral sites or on their home turf. But when it comes to non-conference opponents coming to the Mullins Center, Cornell was the only team to even receive a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Tigers (1-4) will be a similar opponent to what UMass is now accustomed to on its home court.

GSU’s only win game against Paul Quinn College in a 75-61 victory. Since then, it has failed to pull any closer than 10 points to its last three opponents.

The meeting between the two teams will be the first ever and the first time a team from Louisiana played in Amherst since 1992.

The Tigers’ recent struggles should give Minutemen’s younger players plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent considering how little attention they received during practice on Thursday.

“We haven’t really started talking about [Grambling St.] much, so I really don’t know too much about them,” guard Ricky Harris said.

The Tigers have struggled offensively, averaging 58.8 points per game while giving up 74.8. Their leading scorer is point guard Ariece Perkins (13.2 points per game), who is one of three players to average in double-figures.

Kellogg hopes to see an improvement with his team’s effort during games and in practice now that the non-conference schedule is coming to a close. One of his biggest challenges has been getting the newer players to understand how hard they have to play at the Division I level.

“When you tell them to sprint, I don’t even know if they know what a sprint is at this level, so I’m going back to the minute details of ‘this is how we do things,’ and they’ve responded pretty well,” Kellogg said.

Some of the reserves who don’t have many minutes will get their opportunities tonight with Harris, Freddie Riley and Javorn Farrell out with various injuries. Since all three players are guards, junior Gary Correia will likely play much of the game at point guard.

Following the meeting with GSU, UMass will have a week of rest before it plays Kellogg’s former team, Memphis, at the TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 19.

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

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