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

Minutemen still looking for A-10 bid, travel to Dayton

Although getting an NCAA Tournament berth is out of the question, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team still has something to fight for: making the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

The Minutemen (10-17, 4-9 A-10) are 1.5 games ahead of Saint Joseph’s, who is currently in 13th place. The top 12 teams in the conference will play in the A-10 Tournament.

UMass is coming off of two straight losses to George Washington and Saint Louis, and hopes to knock Dayton out of its chances to make the NCAA Tournament after a week of rest.

The Flyers (18-9, 7-6 A-10) are also coming off of two straight losses to Duquesne and No. 18 Temple. Their losing streak hasn’t only hurt their chances of making it past the A-10 Tournament, it has also given the Minutemen a slight chance of finishing the league in seventh place.

If UMass can beat Dayton, it will be two games behind the Flyers with games against La Salle and Rhode Island. But before the Minutemen can worry about any of that, they have to overcome playing in a hostile environment.

The Flyers’ home-court is one of the few arenas with NBA-caliber facilities and holds 13,500 people. UMass coach Derek Kellogg expects the arena to be packed and rowdy.

Dayton media relations reports the game is sold out, the fourth time this season that the team has reached maximum capacity for a home game.

“It’s a huge homecourt advantage,” Kellogg said.

Despite having a high RPI and wins against quality opponents, Dayton’s performance in the A-10 schedule has put itself in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. It is currently the only team with six conference losses still on the bubble, and suffered a devastating loss earlier this season to the Hawks.

For Kellogg, it means his team will have to work harder to avoid its 10th in-conference loss.

“The one thing you’re going to know is that they’re going to bring maximum effort and play as hard as they possibly can, because when you have a berth like that at stake, that’s what they’re striving for,” Kellogg said.

At this point of the season, Kellogg has two objectives in mind. The first is to make sure his senior captain, Ricky Harris, leaves UMass on a positive note.

Kellogg also wants to allow the future of the Minutemen to gain experience heading into next year. Since losing sophomore David Gibbs to a broken foot, Kellogg has been starting three freshmen, and at times has played four at the same time.

“I’m interested to see where the young guys are,” Kellogg said. “Sometimes, young [players], especially freshmen, either kick it into high gear at this time of the season, or they hit a wall. I think my guys are ready to go.”

Unlike the last game the Minutemen had against the Billikens, the Flyers are an experienced team with seven seniors and four juniors. One of those juniors is Chris Wright (14.6 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game), who leads Dayton in scoring and rebounds.

He also gives the team a strong defensive presence, averaging 1.4 blocks per game.

As a team, the Flyers (44.1) have the fifth best field-goal shooting percentage in the A-10. While their offense isn’t going to scare anyone, they have allowed 61.2 ppg this season. The only teams allowing fewer points are the three currently tied for first place in the conference (the Owls, SLU and Richmond).

“We need to play smart and make sure we take care of the basketball, because they’re really good when they can pressure you,” Kellogg said.

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

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