Bubble Watch: Massachusetts Minutemen Back In NCAA Tourney Picture

By Mike Gillmeister
Frank Victores-USA Today Sports


I went to the school for four years and even I didn’t see the No. 6-seeded UMass Minutemen knocking off the No. 3-seed Temple Owls in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

Ten free-throws on 10 attempts with an 8-of-13 performance from the field. That was the line for UMass’ Chaz Williams, who led all scorers with 28 points to go along with his five assists and four steals.

The senior point guard put forth an effort that is expected of a No. 1 scorer, but the storyline that was just as big as Williams was the work in the post done by Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho. The two Minutemen bigs combined for 15 of UMass’ 36 rebounds, outrebounding the Owls by 14.

Esho also finished with a pair of blocks but more miraculously, both players finished with just a single foul against them.

UMass as a team held A-10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt to just four makes from the field, but nine FTs still gave Wyatt 19 for the game.

Gritty defense and the play of Williams has UMass facing the No .2-seeded VCU Rams today at 4 p.m. for the chance to play the winner of the game between the top-seeded Saint Louis Billikens and No. 5-seed Butler Bulldogs in the A-10 Championship game.

The Minutemen lost by 22 when last facing the Rams at VCU during the regular season, but all bets are off at the Barclays Center.

Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@gmail.com, or on Twitter:@mgillmeiRantCBB. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-10 men’s basketball.

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