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UMass Basketball's Has One, Possibly Two, Opponents Ranked in Preseason AP Top 25

The Atlantic 10 promises to be a competitive league, but they didn't get a ton of love in the first media poll of the 2013-14 season.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The votes are in and Kentucky will be the first No. 1 team to have a target painted on its back in 2013-14. Luckily, the UMass Minutemen don't have to face them, but they do have to face VCU Rams during conference play and Shaka Smart's group represents the lone ranked opponent in UMass' initial schedule.

The Rams come into the season ranked No. 14 in the land and UMass will face them at home on Feb. 21. If everything breaks right, UMass will also face No. 23 New Mexico at the Charleston Classic. That matchup is dependent on UMass beating Nebraska and New Mexico beating UAB.

Among those also receiving votes is non-conference opponent LSU and fellow A-10 members Saint Louis and La Salle, according to Matt Vatour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. All five of these games will be determining factors when it comes time for the NCAA selection committee to set its field of 68 and UMass will need to play well -- and win a few -- to increase its chances of making the cut.

Other big games that will loom large come Tournament season will be the aforementioned matchup with Nebraska, the season-opening contest with Boston College and a televised matchup with Providence towards the end of the non-conference schedule.

Truth be told, there just aren't a ton of holes in the Minutemen's schedule in 2013-14 and while that can be a blessing, it can also be a curse.

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