Massachusetts Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Massachusetts Minutemen
Atlantic 10 (22-11, 9-7)

Massachusetts is a solid team that slid a little bit late in the season to really cost them a stellar year.  After a strong start, they became a streaky squad.  They lost four of their last six, including a couple of games to teams that they were ahead of in the standings.  They battled Temple for the strongest offensive team in the league.  The Minutemen were the best on defense.  Unfortunately, they were unable to turn that strong defense into an NCAA tournament bid.  Still, this is a strong enough team to advance a few rounds in the NIT.

Big Wins: 11/25 vs Utah (89-75), 1/28 Saint Louis (72-59), 2/21 Xavier (80-73)
Bad Losses: 11/26 vs Charleston (61-85), 1/18 at Duquesne (69-80), 2/1 at Rhode Island (78-81)
Coach: Derek Kellogg (4 seasons at Massachusetts)

Why They Can Surprise:
As stated above, Massachusetts is a strong defensive team.  They hold their opponents to 40.4 percent from the field, which is top 40 in the country.  From beyond the arc, they are even more stout.  They are the best in the Atlantic-10 at 30.5 percent.  They also lead the conference in steals at nearly nine per game.  They also block five shots per game.  They have a star in sophomore guard Chaz Williams.  He averaged over 16 points per game.  He will be relied on a lot this postseason to carry the Minutemen through.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Where UMass falls down is ball control and self-control.  UMass gives up the ball more than almost any other team in Division I.  They average 15.3 turnovers per game.  Though they score in the mid-70s, it’s difficult to win games when you have a tough time holding onto possessions.  They also foul an awful lot.  Most of their opponents find themselves in the double bonus by the end of games.  They tend to risk losing players to foul trouble.  They are also a little thin on shooters from behind the arc.  They only shoot 34.7 percent.

Probable Starters:
Chaz Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 16.4 ppg, 6.4 apg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 spg
Jesse Morgan, Sophomore, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 2.4 apg
Raphiael Putney, Sophomore, Forward, 10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Terrell Vinson, Junior, Forward, 9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Sean Carter, Senior, Forward-Center, 7.8 ppg, 6.3 ppg, 1.1 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Freddie Riley, Junior, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Maxie Esho, Freshman, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.1 (28th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.2 (273, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (189, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (38, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (31, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (145, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.0 (242, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (170, 8)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (17, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.3 (297, 14)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Massachusetts        2008    NIT           First Round win over Stephen F. Austin
Massachusetts        2008    NIT           Second Round win over Akron
Massachusetts        2008    NIT           Quarterfinal win over Syracuse
Massachusetts        2008    NIT           Semifinal win over Florida
Massachusetts        2008    NIT           Final loss to Ohio State
Massachusetts        2007    NIT           First Round win over Alabama
Massachusetts        2007    NIT           Second Round loss to West Virginia
Massachusetts        2000    NIT           First Round loss to Siena
Massachusetts        1998    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Saint Louis
Massachusetts        1997    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Louisville

*all team stats through 3/4

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