• The Massachusetts men's basketball team will conclude its three-game road swing at Richmond on Wednesday night.
• UMass has won six-consecutive games and its last three A-10 games with late-game comebacks. Richmond is 7-2 in the renovated Robins Center and has won four of its last six overall.
• UMass ranks in the top 50 in the following categories: scoring offense (34th, 79.2 ppg), 3-point FG pct. defense (15th, 28.5%), assists (27th, 15.8 apg) and blocked shots (36th, 5.4 bpg).
• This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,223-1,072 (.533) in 2,295 games. UMass is 453-308 (.593) in conference games, including a 287-288 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference championships and five tournament titles.
• The 2013-14 season marks the sixth for head coach Derek Kellogg ... Kellogg starred as a point guard for the Minutemen from 1992-95, playing for coach John Calipari ... Kellogg spent a year as a graduate assistant with Bruiser Flint at UMass, two years at George Mason with Jim Larranaga and eight at Memphis with Calipari, culminating with the 2008 NCAA Runner-up season ... UMass' win totals under Kellogg have gone 12, 12, 15, 25 and 21 last season with a second-consecutive NIT appearance.
GENERAL RPI & SOS INFO
• As we enter the fourth week of January, UMass is ranked 3 by CBS Sports and RealTimeRPI.com, No. 4 in the NCAA RPI, StatSheet.com and ESPN Insider RPI, No. 25 by Jeff Sagarin and No. 31 by Ken Pomeroy.
• Their strength of schedule is No. 11 by CBS, RealTime RPI and Ken Pomeroy, No. 15 by Stat Sheet and Jeff Sagarin, and No. 18 by ESPN.
SERIES HISTORY WITH RICHMOND
• This will be the 15th meeting between the two programs in a series which began during the 2000-01 campaign. Richmond leads the series 8-6 overall and 4-2 in Richmond.
• The home team has won eight of the 12 games played on campus.
• UMass has won the last two games, with the previous nine outcomes being three different 3-game winning streaks.
• At UMass, the Minutemen have won four of the six games. In games played at the Robins Center, UMass is 2-4, claiming scoreboard bragging rights twice in the last three visits.
• UMass' first win of the series was on Feb. 12, 2003 in the Mullins Center. The Minutemen held off the Spiders for a 54-53 victory.
• The first meeting was in Charlotte at the Tournament of Champions in 2000, a 63-59 Richmond win.
• LAST SEASON IN AMHERST: UMass used an 11-0 run over 3:35 to erase a seven-point deficit and come away with a 70-65 win at the Mullins Center. Three Minutemen scored in double figures led by 18 from Chaz Williams. Cady Lalanne added 12 points, while Sampson Carter had 10 points in the win. Richmond got 13 points from Wayne Sparrow, 12 from Cedrick Lindsay and 10 from Greg Robbins. The Minutemen shot 52.3 percent for the game connecting on 23-of-44 shots. The free throw line was big as well for UMass which converted 21-of-27 attempts. Richmond hit just 36.4 percent for the game on 20-of-55 shooting.
KELLOGG PICKS UP WIN NO. 100 IN AMAZING FASHION
• Sixth-year head coach Derek Kellogg's earned his 100th career victory - all at UMass - with a thrilling 88-87 come-from-behind victory at George Mason last Wedensday night. UMass trailed by eight midway through the second half and by five (86-81) with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• What made the game special for Kellogg was that his first full-time job after college came in the late 1990s when he spent two seasons at George Mason working for Jim Larranaga from 1997-99. That stint included the 1999 CAA regular-season and tournament titles en route to a NCAA Tournament First Round appearance.
• With 101 victories entering the Richmond game, Kellogg is in third place on the school's career victories list. Jack Leaman won 217 over 13 seasons and John Calipari is second with 193 over eight years in Amherst.
16-1 MARK AFTER 17 GAMES EQUALS THE SECOND-BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• With a 16-1 record entering the Richmond game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1994-95 squad (Derek Kellogg's senior year) for the second-best start after 17 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games.
UMASS EARNS FIFTH 3-0 A-10 START IN LAST 20 YEARS
• Wednesday's win at George Mason put UMass at 3-0 in Atlantic 10 Conference play. In doing so, it marks just the fifth time since the 1994-95 season that a UMass squad has opened with three-consecutive league wins. The 2006-07 team was the last to do it on its way to the regular-season title with a 13-3 record. Prior to that, the last time a Minutemen club started with three-straight was the 1997-98 group with an 8-0 start. The 1995-96 Final Four team holds the record for consecutive wins to start conference play with 15.
UMASS RETURNS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS & COACHES POLLS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1998
• Following last Saturday's 84-74 win at Elon, UMass moved up a few spots in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, coming in at No. 13 in the AP and No. 12 (tied with Oklahoma State) in the coaches. UMass received 781 points in the AP and 444 in the coaches poll. For the second-straight week, the Minutemen appeared on every AP voter's ballot.
• When the Minutemen debuted in the rankings this season, it ended a drought that dated back to Nov. 1998 in each poll. Last week's No. 19 ranking marked the first foray in the Top 20 in both polls since Feb. 24, 1998.
• UMass has now appeared in the AP Poll 86 times and is 125-30 all-time as a ranked team. The Minutemen have been ranked in the top 10 48 times, the top five 31 times and No. 1 15 times (32-4).
UMASS & THREE-GAME ROAD TRIPS
• UMass is concluding its only regular-season three-game road trip of the season on Wednesday at Richmond. It is the tenth such trip in the last 20 campaigns. Of the nine prior trips, the team has gone 3-0 three times, 2-1 once, 1-2 twice and 0-3 three times.
• Two years ago, UMass won consecutive road games at Mississippi State, Seton Hall and Drexel in the Postseason NIT en route to a Final Four appearance.
REFUSE TO LOSE
• With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. The Minutemen have pulled off some late-game heroics in their last three contests.
• Last Wednesday, UMass trailed George Mason by eight in the second half and 86-81 with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• Against St. Bonaventure the game prior, they erased a 13-point deficit with nine minutes remaining and outscored the Bonnies 21-8 to close the game. That marked the first time this season and the seventh time in the last three seasons a UMass club has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
• Three days earlier against Saint Joseph's, UMass trailed by nine seven minutes into the game and again with six minutes to play. More full court pressure and timely shooting saw the Minutemen close the game on an 18-5 run.
DEFENDING THE THREE
• UMass has done a solid job with its three-point field goal defense this season, holding opponents to 28.5% from outside and 4.5 makes per game. That percentage ranks second in the Atlantic 10 and 15th nationally.
• Since Boston College made 40 pct. in the season-opener, none of the last 16 opponents have made better than 38 pct in a game. Teams have been held to five or fewer makes 13 times, with opponents averaging 3.7 over the last seven games - an that includes nine by Elon on Saturday.
CHAZ IS LIKE A FINE WINE, HE GETS BETTER WITH AGE
• Chaz Williams continues to impress with his on-court talents year-in and year-out. While his scoring has been consistently strong throughout his college career, his shooting percentages are at or near all-time highs and his assist-to-turnover numbers are at an all-time high.
• He has 16 double-figure assist games in his career and 14 at UMass, one shy of Carl Smith's record set from 1983-87.
WILLIAMS EARNS THIRD A-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Chaz Williams earned his third Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honor after he averaged 23 points, 6 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 rebounds in road victories against George Mason and Elon.
• The Brooklyn native left his mark in both wins last week, scoring a game-high 26 points with eight assists, and a career-high tying five steals in the thrilling come-from-behind win at George Mason. He scored 15 in the second half and was the catalyst during their final 41 seconds comeback. He scored five of the final seven points and his steal with 10 seconds left led to the game winning basket. Against Elon on Saturday, he had 20 points, all in the second half and was instrumental in numerous plays that kept the UMass lead between 7-12 points the entire second half. Williams, who won his third Player of the Week award this season, passed Carmelo Travieso for third all-time in school history with 598 assists in just 87 games.
CHAZ AMONG ELITE COMPANY
• Chaz Williams has had a very impressive career dating back to this freshman season at Hofstra in 2009-10, and has maintained his high level of play through his career at UMass. He is currently one of only three active Division I players to have 1,500 points, 500 assists and 100 steals. Here is the list of current active players who fit this category as well...
Chaz Williams (UMass)1,741 points736 assists226 steals
Kendall Williams (New Mexico)1,573 points539 assists163 steals
Shabazz Napier (UConn)1,542 points558 assists214 steals
* Expect Anthony Ireland of Loyola Marymount to join this list soon as he is five assists from 500.
CARTER PERFORMING AT HIGHEST LEVEL OF HIS CAREER
• Redshirt senior Sampson Carter entered the year averaging 6.1 points per game over 102 appearances, but has played like a senior who wants to go out with a bang. He is scoring a career-best 10.9 ppg, while his shooting averages - .408 FG%, .333 3FG% and .742 FT% - are all career-highs or close to his season best.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY... Maxie Esho
• Redshirt junior Maxie Esho, who has been described as the X-factor by head coach Derek Kellogg at times, is producing at a high level with 8.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg, ahead of his previous season benchmarks of 5.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg set last year. He has raised both categories each of the past two seasons and has produced three-consecutive double-figure scoring games twice over the last nine games for the first time in his career. He also went off at Ohio with game highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. He became the sixth different Minuteman to lead the team in scoring this season.
• In the last 10 games, he is UMass' second leading scorer and rebounder at 11.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. His field goal percentage is tops on the team during that span at .706 (48-for-68) and he has seven of his eight double-figure scoring games in the stretch.
UMASS PLAYING WITH A LEAD... A LOT
• Part of the UMass formula for success through 16 games has been to not fall behind. In 685 minutes, the Minutemen have trailed for a total of 82:23 - just 11.9 pct. of the season.
• Furthermore, UMass has used its pressing, attacking style to wear down opponents and pull away in the second half. UMass has only trailed for 14:44 of the second half this year, with 5:46 coming in the opener against BC, 4:40 at Eastern Michigan, 3:50 vs. Florida State and 0:28 vs. Providence. It is outscoring teams by an average of 37.6-33.2 in the first half and 41.3-36.4 in the second half.
UMASS TOUGH IN THE MULLINS CENTER
• UMass is unbeaten in the Mullins Center this year with a 7-0 record. Over the past three seasons, the Minutemen are 25-5 in regular-season games and 14-4 in Atlantic 10 contests in the facility.
• UMass finished its regular-season non-conference home slate last with a win over Miami (Ohio) and has compiled a 15-1 record with a current eight-game winning streak against non-league foes that it will take into next year.
• The Minutemen have been strong during the winter break as well, winning their last 11 non-league games when the classes are not in session.
• UMass is in its 21st season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 197-85 (.710) following the St. Bonaventure game. The Minutemen also own a 109-51 (.682) all-time record in regular-season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests. The first game was played on Feb. 4, 1993 as UMass defeated West Virginia 64-59 in overtime.
UMASS POSTS TOP SHOOTING GAME OF KELLOGG ERA IN ROAD WIN OVER OHIO
• UMass entered last month's game at Ohio having posted two of its three highest shooting games of the year in its two most recent contests. Going up against an Ohio team that ranked 11th nationally in field goal pct. defense (.372), the Minutemen recorded their best shooting night in more than seven seasons, connecting on .615 (32-for-52) from the floor. Additionally, the .643 (9-for-14) from three-point range was the highest since a .727 performance against Duquesne on Jan. 27, 2000.
• Derek Kellogg has mentioned that he will play the early part of the season with an eight-man rotation and will use the freshmen more and more as they develop. He has this luxury because his team is one of the most experienced in the country, with six of the first eight over 21 years old.
• Ken Pomeroy lists UMass as the 47th most experienced team in the country.