Max Moore: We're officially one third of the way through the A-10 schedule as the Massachusetts Minutemen are an even 3-3, which is good for eighth place. This is certainly lower than what the Minutemen and the fans thought this squad would be at this point. Even with the non-conference not going totally to plan I still think this team has the talent to be better than eighth. Have you noticed any difference in UMass' play in the A-10 compared to the non-conference?
Jesse Allen: I guess we should start with the good. The emergence of Zach Coleman is quite the story line. After scoring five or more points just once before league play, Coleman has done it four of the six conference games so far, along with going 7-11 from three point land. He's had more than 10 minutes in all three wins, while the Minutemen have two of their three losses when he doesn't get more than 10 minutes. Why Kellogg isn't playing this guy more is beyond me. Anyone stand out to you?
Check out our UMass midseason review
Check out our UMass midseason review
MM: Well I guess I'll mention the bad. For me I expected more from Derrick Gordon this year. Not to say that players like Trey Davis and Cady Lalanne haven't lived up to their potential this year but I think we all thought Gordon would take a big step forward this season. Gordon got a lot of much deserved press over the offseason and was reported to have had a weight lifted off his shoulder and would play even better now. While he still plays defense with that crazy intensity and hustles more than anyone, I still think he is more or less the same guy as he was last year. Not only but he did tell reporters that there has been a rift in the locker room based on their bad play. Hopefully airing the dirtying laundry to the public will light a fire in these guys.
The NCAA tourney now seems to have passed us by barring a crazy run at the A-10 tournament. Am I crazy or is it totally plausible that we are also in danger of missing the NIT?
JA: At this point I think the NIT is a pipe dream, but that may be the hate talking more than anything. Cady seemed to use the offseason learning anything that isn't a low post move. I've never seen a player so reluctant to pass out from under the hoop. Tyler Bergantino has just two rebounds in A-10 play to go along with eight total points, which makes his only use picking up fouls. Trey Davis has been icy cold since Iona. If I told you after the NCAA tournament last year you'd be more excited for 2015 football then basketball, would you have believed me?
MM: Only if you had told me that Bill Belichick had gotten into some huge scandal that got blown out of proportion before the Super Bowl and was subsequently banned from the NFL and forced to coach UMass football. And even then, probably not. Speaking of football, maybe Jean Sifrin can suit up for the rest of the season before the NFL draft? That guy could definitely through it down with Maxie Esho.
We can save our thoughts on the 2015 MAC Champs some other time. Obviously Kellogg's job is safe regardless of the results of the season and the recruiting class is looking pretty good with four star PG Luwane Pipkins. My last question is, what kind of priority will you put on watching the rest of the season? With the team playing a brand of basketball that isn't always easy to watch and post season hopes dwindling away, will you be putting your dodgeball career ahead of the Minutemen?
JA: The next UMass date in my calendar is signing day. I think that pretty much says it all. We will have Kellogg for the long haul, for better or worse. I think he still has a long way to go coaching, and he's not making huge splashes recruiting. The last ESPN top 100 recruit we had was Terrell Vinson in 2009. He did lead us to our first NCAA tournament this millennium, which is an amazing accomplishment that should not be overlooked, but last year is feeling more and more like a fluke. If Chaz Williams doesn't transfer to UMass, do we still have Kellogg? I'm interested to see if the current crop of freshman (Coleman, Clark) can change my perception. I'll follow every game this season closely, but my minds on football.