Back-to-Back Losses Likely Cripple At-Large Chances for UMass Minutemen

Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

At 16-6 overall and 6-3 within the Atlantic 10 Conference, the UMass Minutemen were facing a unique situation here in mid-February.

A road game to VCU and a visit from Temple presented equal opportunities to better their resume and potentially put the Minutemen in a position where they could make a case at the conference’s regular season crown.

Well, the pair of games could not have been scripted any similar or any worse for that matter for UMass fans. Using a halftime advantage in a high-scoring affair against both VCU and Temple, the Minutemen virtually could not slow down either squad after the break, eventually getting outscored and dropping each crucial contest.

The losses now dip UMass to 16-8 overall and more importantly 6-5 within the A-10. Long story short, the at-large potential for the Minutemen likely took a devastating tool with the back-to-back blemishes.

The remainder of the schedule remains intriguing for UMass and there is no doubt that the Minutemen can’t once again put their name back into the NCAA Tournament discussion, but now, their backs are seemingly against the wall.

It quickly became a week of “what ifs” for the Minutemen as terrific first halves turned into disappointing endings. In fact, UMass failed to even get a shot off, trailing by one in the final 17 seconds against Temple on Saturday. That’s a head-scratching situation for a team chasing a potential tournament dream.

Overall, the door is still open, but very slightly at this point for UMass. The Minutemen needs to make a run down the stretch here and have success within the conference tournament if they still hope to dance.

UMass will hit the road to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS

 

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