August 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass crime alerts reveal reports of lewd acts -

Friday, August 22, 2014

UMass women’s soccer hopes added depth brings more consistency in 2014 -

Friday, August 22, 2014

UMass mourns death of alumnus and journalist James Foley -

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kassan Messiah, Trey Seals to shoulder pass rushing responsibility for UMass football -

Thursday, August 21, 2014

UMass names Blake Frohnapfel as the starting quarterback -

Monday, August 18, 2014

Decision looms for Mark Whipple as UMass football looks to name starting quarterback -

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Former UMass star Marcel Shipp overseeing a strong running back competition -

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Former UMass basketball star Chaz Williams signs professional contract in Turkey, still eyeing NBA career -

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Minutemen anxious to display aggressive defense -

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

UMass football turns the page, excited for 2014 season -

Monday, August 4, 2014

UMass student struck and killed by vehicle Thursday night -

Friday, August 1, 2014

UMass receives anonymous $10.3 million gift -

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UMass football summer coverage 2014 -

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UMass basketball looks to rewrite recent history with Tennessee

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

RALEIGH, N.C. – The NCAA Tournament, by nature, provides the opportunity to give basketball fans unique matchups.

This year’s bracket is no different. In the Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s case, it will face Tennessee at 2:45 p.m. on Friday. Playing teams from some of the notable power conferences, such as the Southeastern Conference, is a fairly rare occurrence for UMass, often occurring only a handful of times a season.

But the Minutemen have recent history with the Volunteers, a history they’re hoping to rewrite on Friday.

“We owe (Tennessee) one,” forward Raphiael Putney said following UMass’ selection show party at Amherst Brewing Company on Sunday.

“(Tennessee) got us in Puerto Rico when we were first coming together as a team. We’re here now, I don’t think they want to face us this time. Hopefully we get a win and do big things.”

Indeed, the Volunteers pulled away from the Minutemen in November of 2012 at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, scoring 14 unanswered points in the second half to win 83-69.

Both teams were tied 54-54 with just eight minutes, 28 seconds left. But Tennessee outlasted UMass to close out the game. Current Volunteers forward Jarnell Stokes led all scorers with 24 points and added 12 rebounds. Tennessee shot 45 percent to the Minutemen’s 35 percent and outrebounded UMass 51-37.

It’s something Minutemen guard Chaz Williams hasn’t forgotten. But he’s also cognizant that the situation is different now.

“We’re a different team from last year, a totally different team,” Williams said. “So what Tennessee saw last year is not the same UMass they’ll see tomorrow afternoon.

In the 83-69 loss, former Minutemen guard Jesse Morgan led the team with 18 points. UMass didn’t have current shooting guard Derrick Gordon, just as the Volunteers didn’t have point guard Antonio Barton, who also transferred. But Williams acknowledged there’s an added incentive to beat a team which handed them an out-of-conference loss in a season in which the Minutemen narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s not necessarily a rematch, but it would be good to beat them guys after they defeated us last year in the consolation game,” he said.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg also noted there are striking differences between the personnel of both squads now. But the ability to re-watch film from last season – something Williams said he would do Thursday after practice – is helpful to the coaching staff as well.

“We’ll browse through (the tape) just to see how maybe they play some different sets we’re running or ball screens or our press,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg has also watched the Volunteers often on television this season, finding time to familiarize himself with a lot of what they do.

“I think you got a pretty good feel for who they are from watching them a ton on TV this year,” Kellogg said. “I think because of how often they’re on television, we’ve been able to watch them a lot this year.”

UMass balancing NCAA Tournament attention

The Minutemen appear in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years on Friday, an exciting prospect for a program eager to return to national prominence. With the grand stage comes increased attention, something both Kellogg and the players are processing.

“Just the fan base and how much support you see around the community,” center Cady Lalanne said of the new experience.

“People messaging you, texting you, social media and all that. So it feels pretty good having everybody supporting you,” Lalanne said.

Kellogg knows that the social media aspect is something he has to accept as a coach, especially when it comes to the attention UMass is receiving in the media.

“I think the kids and social media today, you can’t hide them from it,” he said.

“They’re telling me what people are saying more than me going to them. So they’re fully aware that maybe people think we’ve been overseeded or that we might be the trendy upset pick, whatever you might call it.

“I didn’t shy away from that before the selection show. I haven’t shied away from it since. The kids are perceptive on that social media. They’re good. They get a lot more information than you might imagine.”

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at mchiarel@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

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