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Don’t Look Now, but the Minutemen Sit Atop the A-10

By on February 13, 2015 at 8:20am
Cady Lalanne and the UMass Minutemen are all smiles after moving into 1st place in the A-10. (Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics) Cady Lalanne and the UMass Minutemen are all smiles after moving into 1st place in the A-10. (Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)

Well, they’re not alone at the top of the conference, but after a very good stretch of conference play, the UMass Minutemen find themselves part of a four way tie at the top of the Atlantic 10. Dayton, Rhode Island, and current #20 VCU are the three others tied with UMass, but for once it seems that conference play seems to be the better part of the season in Amherst. There’s still a lot of games left to be played, but UMass seems to have gotten lucky at the right time and are having balls bounce their way to get into this position. If you had asked me in December if I thought it was possible UMass had a chance at first place in the conference or even just a shot at one of the first round conference tournament byes, I would have thought you were crazy, but here we are on February 12th with the Minutemen headed in the right direction.

I mentioned that UMass has been lucky over the last couple of weeks and while that is true, one cannot discredit the Minutemen’s play and ability to have such a good stretch. Right now, UMass has won five straight and eight of their last ten, something they haven’t done since rattling off a string of six in a row last season from 12/28-1/18. Continue reading Don’t Look Now, but the Minutemen Sit Atop the A-10 »

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March Madness is around the corner, and unless our local college sports teams have any luck in their conference tournaments (i.e. win the whole thing), we could be betting on other teams in the 68-team tournament. As for what’s on tap for the local college sports teams on Saturday, here are the latest odds, where I also find the best NCAA basketball news and predictions at Sportbet.

Boston College:
2/28, 12 p.m. — NC State (-5) at BC: -110 Continue reading With March Madness Coming up, Check the latest odds at SportBet »

Donte Clark develops as UMass improves (Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)

The 2014 calendar year was one of ups (a thrilling ride to the NCAA Tournament) and downs (a mediocre start to the 2014–15 season) for the UMass Minutemen basketball team. However, a new year means new year’s resolutions, and while most of you are probably saying things like “I’m going to eat healthier!”or “I’m going to the gym more!”, the Minutemen seem to have made a resolution to play better and try to right the ship. Let’s throw out the loss to St. Bonaventure and concentrate on everything else that has happened since the season’s low point.

On December 20, UMass hit the road to finish off the New England portion of its non-conference schedule against the Providence Friars, a team they defeated in a thriller at the Mullins Center a season ago. Without going into too much detail, UMass was anything but thrilling as Ladontae Henton and the rest of the Friars embarrassed UMass in an 85–65 beatdown. Since then, the Minutemen have played very, going 2–2. Continue reading New Year’s Resolution in Full Swing for Minutemen »

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Wesley Saunders (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Harvard

Record: 8–3 (2nd in Ivy League)

The Crimson got off to a good start in December, extending its win streak to six games with double-digit wins over Northeastern, Vermont and Boston University. The wheels came off, however, when Harvard visited #6 Virginia on December 21, a 76–27 dismantling that could not have been much uglier. Ten days later, the Crimson lost by 10 at Arizona State, but rebounded for a 13-point win over Grand Canyon to close out 2014. As the calendar turns, Harvard is once again in a tight battle with Yale for Ivy League supremacy. The Bulldogs currently have a half-game advantage but the Crimson has three games in hand.

Harvard ranks 32nd nationally in points allowed and 10th in blocks, but could be suffering from a lack of offensive options. The entire gameplan runs through shooting guard Wesley Saunders, who is averaging a team-high 17.7 points (9.1 more than any teammate) and 2.3 steals, and is second on the team in rebounds (6.1) and assists (4.1) per game. He has also been shooting the lights out at 52 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from beyond the arc. Continue reading College Basketball December Roundup: Gearing Up for Conference Play »

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Christian Hackenberg (Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports)

Boston College, 30; Penn State, 31 (OT)

The Pinstripe Bowl matchup between Boston College and Penn State at Yankee Stadium could not have been much closer. It started as a defensive battle, with just two big plays preventing a scoreless first half. The offenses came alive in the second half, but neither team could pull away. In overtime, the game was decided by one of the recurring themes of the Eagles’ 2014 season: the laughably poor play of their kickers.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg got the Nittany Lions on the board with a 72-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Godwin. Two plays later, running back Jon Hilliman tied it up at 7–7 with a 49-yard TD rush. Continue reading Missed Extra Point Brings Boston College Season to a Fitting Close »

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If you’re a UMass fan and you haven’t hit the panic button, you’re a bit late to the game. The Minutemen are playing their worst basketball in some time and the loss at Providence on Saturday was the low point. Since blowing out Northeastern back on November 26, they have lost four of their last five with two blowouts to LSU and the aforementioned Providence Friars, two teams they defeated a season ago. One lone victory over Canisius salvaged what could have been a five-game losing streak, and even that one wasn’t pretty at times despite the final score. What’s going wrong?

The Road Less Traveled

All of the Minutemen’s losses have come away from the cozy confines of the Mullins Center. They did manage to beat Boston College and Florida State away from Amherst, but those games were both at neutral-site locations. They have now lost to Harvard, LSU and Providence on the road, plus neutral-site losses to Notre Dame and Florida Gulf Coast. It looks like the Minutemen just need some home cooking in order to get wins, but they won’t be having that anytime soon with their next game coming up at BYU on December 23. Continue reading Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling »

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Tyler Murphy (John Wilcox/Boston Herald)

The Boston College Eagles won’t have to travel far for their postseason game this year, as they have been drawn into the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Eagles will take on Penn State on December 27 in the first postseason meeting ever between the two teams. BC will be looking for its first bowl win since 2007, having lost four straight since then.

The Eagles are in the postseason for the second consecutive year after a two-year absence with a 7-5 record, despite losing their two key offensive players, quarterback Chase Rettig and running back Andre Williams. Rettig’s successor, Florida transfer Tyler Murphy, led the team with his running ability, racking up an ACC-record 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground with an outstanding average of 6.3 yards per carry. He was much shakier as a passer, completing just 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, 11 scores and 10 interceptions. Continue reading Boston College to Take On Penn State in Pinstripe Bowl »

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