Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass men’s basketball prepares for possibility of four games in four days

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

There’s a reason why so much emphasis is put on finishing in the top four of the Atlantic 10.

An easier path to the championship game is certainly one reason, but more important is the automatic bye that comes with it, eliminating the need to win four games in four days.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team won’t have that fortune this weekend, as it slipped up on the final day of the regular season against Saint Louis, which caused it to slide to the No. 6 seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

UMass already has experience playing numerous games in a short span of time. It had to win three games in four days to win the Charleston Classic back in November. Now, it must channel that same mentality in order to tackle this much taller task, especially if it wants to win its first A-10 title in 16 years.

“This is probably a little more daunting,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “But the biggest thing I look for is, have you won four games in a row throughout the season because if you haven’t, then the chances of doing it now are probably not great.”

The Minutemen have won four games in a row this season multiple times.

The Charleston Classic victory came in the middle of a 10-game winning streak to open the season. Then, following its first loss of the season to Florida State, UMass went on a six-game winning streak. But now is the time when a long winning streak is most important for the Minutemen. One or two slip ups could spell the end to their season.

In order to prevail on Thursday against Rhode Island in the opening round, mental toughness will be the key, according to senior Sampson Carter.

“At this point it’s just mental toughness,” he said. “We’ve been here before. We’ve played in a tournament three years in a row and the Charleston Classic proved that we can do it.”

Should UMass get by the Rams on Thursday night, then the second part of the test kicks in, as it will only have roughly 20 hours to regroup and prepare for No. 3 seed George Washington on Friday.

“It is (a quick turnaround), but they don’t know who they’re playing either,” Kellogg said. “At this point, we all know what we’re doing and how we’re playing. I don’t think anybody’s changed too, too much in the last week or month really.

“Now it’s who can do what they do best for four straight days, or for the fortunate teams, three straight days.”

Added to the task of potentially playing four straight games is the familiarity that every team within the A-10 has with each other.

“Teams know how we play individually,” Raphiael Putney said. “We’ve been playing for four years against these guys, so it’s a lot harder than what you think it is in Charleston.”

To serve as a friendly reminder that his team can win multiple games in a short span, Kellogg has had the Charleston Classic trophy sitting courtside at practice this week.

“I want them to see that we’ve won a championship this year and we’re going for another,” he said. “That we’re capable of winning three or four games in a row and we’ve done that on a neutral floor.”

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @P_Strohecker.

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