Coverage from:
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - 9/7 - 9/7
The Springfield Union-News - 9/8
The Springfield Union-News - 9/12, Springfield game

Tough hoop schedule for UMass
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 9/7/2000

The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team already knew who it would play and where. Wednesday the Minutemen found out when they would play, as the Atlantic 10 conference schedule was released.

UMass' 2000-01 itinerary features 14 opponents who played in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT last year. Thirteen of the 27 games are at home, and 19 are scheduled to be televised: The Minutemen will appear on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional, ABC, Raycom and the Atlantic 10 Network, which airs locally on Fox Sports New England.

"We are always going to play a tough schedule, and this year is no exception," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. "We have some good TV games and some tough road games, but I believe the schedule is manageable."

For the second straight year, the Minutemen will open against Iona, this time in the Mullins Center on Nov. 18. The opener will be followed two days later with a date at Marquette in Milwaukee.

UMass will return to the Centrum after a year's hiatus on Nov. 25 for a game with Holy Cross.

The farthest the team will travel in the regular season will be across the country, where the Minutemen will play Oregon Dec. 2 at the Rose Garden in Portland.

Five games in 11 days follow the Oregon date: Providence at Mullins (Dec. 7); at Ohio St. (Dec. 10); Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center (Dec. 12); at Boston University (Dec. 14); and Boston College at the Mullins Center (Dec. 17), which will mark BC's first trip to Amherst since 1977.

The Minutemen will break for Christmas before reuniting in Charlotte, N.C., for the Tournament of Champions Dec. 29-30, where they will face North Carolina in the first game and either Richmond or College of Charleston in the second. North Carolina went to the Final Four last year.

Flint said the tough early schedule is good preparation.

"Our non-conference schedule should prepare us for the Atlantic 10, which is always a grind."

The Atlantic 10's one-year status as an 11-team league has spawned an unusual schedule for 2000-01. Each of the 11 teams in the conference will face six teams twice (home and home) and four teams once. The schedule became unbalanced when Virginia Tech left to join the Big East. The league will go back to a balanced slate in 2001-02, when Richmond becomes a full member of the conference.

The Minutemen will face all of the Atlantic 10's postseason (NCAA or NIT) participants - Dayton, Temple, St. Bonaventure and Xavier - twice, as well as George Washington, which returns a solid nucleus of players. Rhode Island is the only team to finish below .500 that UMass will face twice.

The Minutemen will play at home against Duquesne and Fordham and will travel to St. Joseph's and La Salle.

UMass Announces 2000-01 Men's Basketball Schedule
Minutemen to play 14 postseason teams this year
From, 9/7/2000

Amherst, Mass. -- The 2000-01 University of Massachusetts men's basketball schedule features 14 games against teams which participated in postseason play a year ago, and a minimum of 19 regional or national television broadcasts, according to the slate released today by UMass Athletic Director Bob Marcum and Head Basketball Coach James "Brusier" Flint.

"We are always going to play a tough schedule, and this year is no exception," said Flint. "We have some good TV games and some tough road games, but I believe the schedule is managable. Our non-conference schedule should prepare us for the Atlantic 10, which is always a grind."

Flint's team, which returns three starters from last year's team which advanced to postseason play for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, will face 2000 NCAA Tournament teams Iona (Nov. 18), Oregon (Dec. 2), Ohio State (Dec. 10), Connecticut (Dec. 12), North Carolina (Dec. 29), Dayton (Jan. 18 & Feb. 6), Temple (Jan. 27 & Feb. 17) and St. Bonaventure (Jan. 13 & March 3). In addition, UMass will play three games against teams which played in the 2000 NIT--Marquette (Nov. 20) and Xavier (Jan. 9 & Feb. 14).

After opening the season with a pair of exhibition contests, UMass tips-off the 2000-01 campaign against Iona in the Mullins Center, Nov. 18, then plays three straight games outside of Amherst before returning home to face traditional Big East power Providence on Dec. 7. The Minutemen then play three more road games, before hosting Boston College in the annual Commonwealth Classic, Dec. 17. It will mark B.C.'s first trip to Amherst since 1977.

The Minutemen close out their non-league schedule in the Tournament of Champions at Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 29-30. UMass will play 2000 Final Four entrant North Carolina on Dec. 29, and will tackle either College of Charleston or future Atlantic 10 member Richmond the following night.

UMass then begins its quest for a 12th-straight winning record in the Atlantic 10 at home against George Washington on Saturday, Jan. 6. Other A-10 home games will come against Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, Xavier, Temple, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure.

While additional games may be added to the television schedule in the coming weeks, 19 of 28 UMass games have been slated for TV this season. UMass' game against Temple in Amherst will be broadcast on ABC, with ESPN airing three games (UConn, at Temple, Fordham) and ESPN2 picking up three contests (at Marquette, Rhode Island, at St. Joseph's). The Minutemen will be featured eight times on the Atlantic 10 Conference package, twice on opponent's local packages produced by ESPN Regional and in both games of the Tournament of Champions, which will be distributed by Raycom.

Season tickets, which are priced at $230.00 for the 13-game home schedule, may be purchased by calling the UMass Athletic Ticket Office at 413-545-0810.

UMass set for game at Civic Center
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News, 9/8/2000

AMHERST The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team is poised to announce a return to the Springfield Civic Center as part of its 2000-2001 schedule.

A Springfield appearance, which would be the Minutemen's first since 1995, was not listed on the schedule released yesterday. But sources close to the situation said the UMass-Duquesne game on Jan. 20 will be played at the Civic Center.

No one involved with the negotiations would confirm the scheduling of the game. UMass athletic director Bob Marcum could not be reached and coach Bruiser Flint refused to comment, as did Civic Center general manager Stuart Hurwitz, who has made it clear that he wants a UMass game in Springfield.

"I've worked so hard on this that I don't want to do anything to blow it," Hurwitz said. But the Civic Center has announced a news conference for Monday morning at 11, which will include Marcum, Flint and Springfield Mayor Michael J. Albano.

Hurwitz said the news conference announcement was simply made to alert the media in advance. He said he could give no further details.

Negotiations leading to a possible Springfield game have targeted contests when students are not on campus.

UMass has home games against George Washington Jan. 6, Dayton on Jan. 18 and Duquesne on Jan. 20, a Saturday. The Springfield Falcons hockey team, the Civic Center's prime tenant, is at Hartford Jan. 20.

UMass has not played at the Civic Center since scoring a 95-65 victory over West Virginia Jan. 3, 1995.

While Flint would not comment on the Springfield situation, he did analyze the entire 27-game schedule that includes 16 Atlantic 10 Conference games and includes non-conference tests at Marquette (Nov. 20) and Ohio State (Dec. 10).

There is also a game against Oregon in Portland (Dec. 2) and one against Connecticut in Hartford (Dec. 12).

"We're always going to play a tough schedule, and this year is no exception," Flint said as he prepared for his fifth season, one in which UMass hopes to improve on last year's 17-16 record and NIT appearance. "We have some good TV games and some tough road games, but I think the schedule is manageable."

UMass will play at least 19 games on TV. The Atlantic 10 schedule, altered somewhat by Virginia Tech's departure that creates a one-division, 11-team setup, features a Jan. 27 game a Temple and a Feb. 17 rematch against the Owls at the Mullins Center.

UMass will also face North Carolina and new Tar Heels' coach Matt Doherty in the first round of the Tournament of Champions Dec. 29 in Charlotte, N.C. The four-team tournament concludes Dec. 30 with Richmond which joins the A-10 in 2001-2002 and College of Chargleston as possible second round opponents.

"The non-conference schedule will help prepare us for the conference season, which is always a grind," Flint said.

The schedule, which starts with a Nov. 18 opener at home against Iona, also includes a regional flavor. The UMass-Holy Cross series will be renewed Nov. 25 in Worcester, and on Dec. 17, Boston College will make its first appearance in Amherst since 1977 and its first ever at the Mullins Center. UMass hosts Providence Dec. 7 and visits Boston University Dec. 14.

Basketball: UMass, Civic Center seal deal
By Bea O'Quinn Dewberry, The Springfield Union-News, 9/12/2000

SPRINGFIELD The Civic Center will play host to Minutemen basketball for the first time in six seasons in January, after agreeing to give the University of Massachusetts half the game's revenues.

The men's basketball team will play Atlantic 10 conference rival Duquesne Jan. 20 at 7 p.m., Civic Center general manager Stuart J. Hurwitz said at a press conference yesterday.

The Minutemen, who last appeared at the Civic Center in 1995, play their home games on campus at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

"In my opinion, this is to bring economic development to the city and the Civic Center," Hurwitz said. "UMass has given us a slight cushion but the bulk of revenue goes to UMass, as it should. We just want to break even."

Hurwitz, a businessman who took over the position of general manager last year, negotiated for several months with University of Massachusetts athletic director Robert Marcum and assistant athletic director Bill Strickland to get a game played in the city when the university is on winter break.

Marcum was unable to attend the press conference.

Strickland said issues that prevented the team from coming to the city included the potential loss of money and concern that its 4,000 season ticket holders would not get comparable seating.

"We couldn't make a habit of going to a different building with our team if we're not going to make money," Strickland said. "We now have a reasonable amount of quality tickets to work with to make the seats for season ticket holders as desirable as possible."

The UMass men's basketball team last appeared in Springfield Jan. 3, 1995, against West Virginia. The Minutemen stopped playing at the Civic Center for several reasons, the most obvious of which was its ability to draw capacity crowds to the 9,493-seat Mullins Center.

The university formerly played host to an annual four-team Christmas tournament at the Civic Center called the "Abdow Classic," and appeared in the Tip-Off Classic in 1994.

The Civic Center holds about 8,500 fans for basketball. But crowds at the Mullins Center have dwindled the past few years, and last year's average was 5,836.

Coach Bruiser Flint said he has wanted to bridge the gap between the university and the Springfield market.

"What better way than with a game," Flint said. "We've always enjoyed ourselves here in Springfield."

Asked if the change in locale would diminish the home court advantage, Flint said "no."

"We've always had a good atmosphere here and when you have a full building they you play good basketball," Flint said.

At the Minutemen's last game at the Civic Center, the team downed West Virginia 95-65. The teams record at the Civic Center is 11-1, with a loss to Cincinnati in 1994.

Marcum has previously said there are no other UMass sports teams on the table to play at the Civic Center.

Still, Hurwitz said if the game proves to be a financial success, the university will likely commit to future games during winter break.

"We hope the city welcomes them back with open arms so this is not just a one-shot deal but opening the door to the UMass sports world," Hurwitz said.

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