Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass basketball announces schedule

By Steve Levine

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts basketball team will play its first game of the 2011-2012 season in the historic Curry Hicks Cage when it hosts Elon on Nov. 11. It will be the second game in Curry Hicks in the last 18 years.

The Minutemen will move to the Mullins Center for their next two games against Northeastern and New Jersey Institute of Technology, set to play on the 14th and 17th, respectively.

A highlight game will follow when UMass travels to Chestnut Hill for a game against in-state foe Boston College on the 21st.

Last year, the Eagles defeated the Minutemen, 76-71, at the TD Garden behind 17 points apiece from Joe Trapani and Reggie Jackson, the latter of whom was selected by the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder with the 24th overall pick in 2011 NBA draft.

UMass will then travel to the Bahamas in late November to play three games in the first-ever “Battle 4 Atlantis” tournament.

The Minutemen drew a Sweet Sixteen finalist in Florida State for the first round. Following the Seminoles, the Minutemen will go on to face either Harvard or Utah before the final round, which is to be determined.

UMass will return to Amherst on Nov. 30 to host Towson before traveling south for games against Miami and East Carolina.

On Dec. 9, the Minutemen will participate in the annual Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase when they play Siena.

UMass will then host four-straight games, the final of which will be the conference-opener against Fordham. UMass hopes to avenge last year’s matchup with the Rams, when the Minutemen were defeated 77-73 in a heartbreaking loss in the Bronx.

UMass will play the Atlantic 10 powerhouses (Richmond, Xavier and Temple) later on in its schedule – at Richmond on Jan. 21, vs. Xavier on Feb. 21, and at Temple on Feb. 29. All three conference foes defeated the Minutemen last year en route to the NCAA Tournament.

UMass is slated to appear on television eight times in 2011-12.

The Dec. 3 game at Miami will air on ESPNU. CBS Sports Network will televise games at Richmond (Jan. 21), at home against La Salle (Feb. 18) and at Dayton (Feb. 25), while CBS Sports Regional Networks will carry games at La Salle (Jan. 8), home vs. Saint Louis (Jan. 28), home vs. Xavier (Feb. 21), and home vs. Rhode Island (Mar. 3).

“I am really excited about our schedule,” said UMass coach Derek Kellogg in a UMassAthletics.com interview. “As the state university, I am happy we get to play across the state in Amherst, Springfield and Boston. The Battle 4 Atlantis will give us a great feel for tournament-style play against a Sweet Sixteen team in Florida State and our conference schedule provides plenty of tough tests including three NCAA Tournament teams in Richmond, Temple, and Xavier. This is going to be a fun and exciting team to watch and our fans need to come out and support their team.”

Steve Levine can be reached at [email protected]

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