Going on the road as a ranked team is never easy in college basketball. The newly-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen faced that challenge for the first time in a long time when they went on the road to take on (5-1) Eastern Michigan.
The first half looked like it could be the end of the Minutemen’s undefeated season. In the first six games, UMass had beat quality teams by running the floor and getting to the foul line. They were one of the most exciting teams to watch in the country. In the first half against Eastern Michigan, they got away from what they do best. Trailing by four at the half, the Minutemen made some adjustments in order to overcome Eastern Michigan’s upset alert.
A strong second half was all led by Chaz Williams. The Nate Robinson-like point guard is the key to the Minutemen’s success, and his ability to run the floor and create plays for his teammates with his speed and quickness was enough for Umass to survive the upset.
The Minutemen can take a lot out of the game from both the first and second half. They will learn that they are not an outside shooting team and not very good in half-court offense. When watching film, UMass will see just how different and better they were as a team in the second half and will realize that is how they played every other game this year.
UMass is a very exciting team to watch when they are playing at a high level, but they need to remain consistent in their play and keep that underdog mentality even though they are ranked No. 21 in the country. Teams are going to look at games against them as “nothing to lose” situations, and UMass needs to be able to match their opponents’ intensity night in and night out to be as good as they can be.