UMass men’s basketball announces 2012-13 schedule

By Nick Canelas

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian File Photo

One of the few consequences of having a successful season in any sport is the difficult schedule that follows.

That appears to be the case for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team.

After arguably their best season under head coach Derek Kellogg, one in which they finished the season with a 25-12 mark and reached the National Invitation Tournament semifinals, the Minutemen will play 12 of their 29 regular season contests against teams that participated in postseason play last year.

“No matter how it played out, we knew we were going to have a tough schedule just from being in the Atlantic 10, which is one of the premier conferences in the nation,” Kellogg said in a UMass Athletics press release.

UMass will also be rewarded for its efforts with nine regular season matchups that will be televised nationally, the most since the 1997 to 1998 campaign, including the opener Nov. 13 at the Mullins Center against Harvard at 10 a.m. as part of the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Just two days later, the Minutemen take a trip to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against Providence. The next two games will be determined based on whether or not UMass can advance in the winner’s bracket with a win.

Other non-conference highlights include home games against Miami (Fla.) (Dec. 1), Elon (Dec. 15) and Ohio (Dec. 19), which reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament last March.

The Minutemen close out their non-conference slate on the road against Northern Illinois (Dec. 29) and Miami (Ohio) (Jan. 2) before coming back home to take on Eastern Michigan on Jan. 5.

UMass begins conference play on the road against Saint Louis (Jan. 10) and Fordham (Jan. 13) before coming back home to host Duquesne (Jan. 17), George Washington (Jan. 19) and Richmond (Jan. 27).

After a road contest with La Salle on Jan. 30, the Minutemen head to Charlotte on Feb 2. It will be the final time these teams play as conference foes because the 49ers are in the last season in the A-10.

After a nationally televised game in Amherst against Saint Joesph’s on Feb. 9, UMass will get its first crack at newest A-10 member Virginia Commonwealth on the road on Feb. 14. Following that is a matchup with Temple two nights later.

After that is a rematch with defending conference tournament champion St. Bonaventure, which eliminated the Minutemen in the A-10 semifinals, then close out February three days later at home against Dayton.

UMass finishes the regular season with games at Xavier (March 2), then plays its final home game against another A-10 newcomer in Butler on March 7 before traveling to Rhode Island to take on the Rams two nights later.

The A-10 championship follows March 14-17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

UMass, Kellogg close to extension

Both UMass and Kellogg are reportedly in agreement on a contract extension that would keep the fifth-year head coach in Amherst through the 2016-2017 season, although it has yet to be made official, according to Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Kellogg had two years remaining in his original deal, but after a 25-12 record and NIT semifinal appearance, it appears the school sees the 39-year-old UMass alumnus as a fit to lead a Minuteman team that is on the rise.

The Springfield native is 64-65 in his four years on the UMass bench, but has gone 40-27 in the last two seasons.

Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Canelas.