The Massachusetts Minutemen play their final regular season home game on Wednesday as they host the Richmond Spiders. While UMass may be NIT bound (meaning more home games are possible) this could be the last time fans get to see Lalanne and Esho in person. The game tips at 7:30 and will be aired on NESN for the New England area folks.
Records and Rankings
Richmond 17-12 (10-6)
RPI: 65 BPI: 62
Richmond is on an impressive four game winning streak that include a 2OT victory over VCU and an eight point win at home over George Washington. They have actually swept their season series with VCU. Richmond has played some tough teams in the non-conference like Northern Iowa and NC State (both losses) so they are battle tested. Don't expect them to be intimidated at the Mullins Center at all.
UMass 17-12 (10-6)
RPI: 61 BPI: 101
They finally righted the ship after that three game losing streak after they beat Fordham on Saturday. Their only hope to make the NCAA tournament now is to win the A-10 so if Kellogg needs to mess around and tinker with the lineups then now would be the time.
Players to watch
Kendall Anthony: He's the Spiders leading scorer with 16.4 per game. Anthony is more than competent from three at 38 percent. In the Spiders last game against Saint Joe's Anthony went for 23 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. He can score in bunches but he is just 5-8 which UMass will have a better time guarding.
Terry Allen: Allen is the leading rebounder and has had a double-double in three of his last four games. On top of that he also has scored double digits in the last four games. At 6-8 he can bang down low and will give the UMass frontcourt all they can handle.
Cady Lalanne: Cady is having his best statistical season yet and it would be fitting for him to have a career day in his last official home game. He's given the UMass faithful much to cheer about and against Fordham he did it on defense with five blocks and 12 rebounds. Look for him to have a big game.
Maxie Esho: He finally broke out of his funk last Saturday with 17 points. Esho loves to excite the crowd with his high flying acrobatics. There will be at least one SportsCenter nominee play from him.
I'm sure it will be an emotional day for UMass as arguably the two most important players on the team say goodbye to the Mullins Center. Richmond isn't a team to be taken lightly as they have shown they are more than capable of beating to top teams.
Richmond is fairly weak on the inside as they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the country at 29.1 per game which is good for 343 place. UMass should have no problem attacking the glass and both Esho and Lalanne could see double-doubles.
Defensively UMass matches up nicely with the Spiders and I don't see Anthony torching the Minutemen defense. Lalanne should also be able to control the paint as he did on Saturday.
It will come down to the two seniors wearing down Richmond. They don't have a serious answer to them both and if UMass is patient and attacks inside then they should take control of the 5th seed. UMass wins it 74-71.