By Dan Kamal, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 5, 1971
“There is no doubt in my mind that we’ll approach it much differently. Last year we were delighted they even thought of us, but this year we feel we belong there.”
This quote by assistant basketball coach Raymond Wilson reflects the confident atmosphere permeating this campus in the face of the expected National Invitational Tournament bid which was extended to the UMass basketball team yesterday afternoon.
In an extreme contrast to last year when the Redmen were quite unsure right up to the last minute whether they would get a bid, this year the big was offered surprisingly early.
Admitting his surprise at the early date of the offer, assistant coach Peter Broaca cited the UMass excellent season record as the primary factor, “Our record of 23-3 is the one of the best in the country.” He went on to mention that although there was some disappointment at being shunned by the NCAA, the honor of being chosen so early for the NIT is a great tribute to the great job done by Coach Leaman and the players.
It is quite interesting to note that New England rival Providence College also received the NIT nod yesterday. That brings up the thoughts of a first round meeting between the Redmen and the Friars. However, both Wilson and Broaca expressed doubt that the two teams would be seeded against each other so early.
Wilson felt that Providence’s rout of St. Bonaventure, which had accepted an NIT bid on Tuesday, was also a major factor in the early choosing of the two New England teams. “PC approached the game with the thought of making the NIT Committee realize what kind of team it is and what the caliber of New England basketball is.”
As of yesterday, there were only five teams chosen for the New York tournament. Thus it is very difficult to attempt to project the Redmen chances in the post-season play. One thing is sure, however. The attitude of the team, the coaches, and the fans is a lot different than it was about a year ago. There is a distinct air of confidence this season. This is a team that has shown that it can go with any team around on a good night like the one it had against Syracuse last week.
With their second straight NIT bid under their belts, the Redmen are looking to make a great ending of the 1970-71 UMass basketball story. The early season scares at Vermont and Rhode Island, the frustrating defeats at the hands of Providence and Fordham University, the crucial wins over Holy Cross, Boston College, and Syracuse University, and the humiliation at Springfield College are just history, just memories.
But if things go right in New York City's Madison Square Garden starting in about two weeks, these memories will go down as the Sage of 1970-71, the year of the Redmen.
Redmen Seek Third Goal At N.I.T.
Maine Trip For The Birds
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 8, 1971
It didn’t take long this year. Only a couple of days after the first bids went out to St. Bonnies, Dayton, and Tennessee, the word came to UMass (and later to Orono, Maine) that the Redmen had received a bid to the N.I.T. Just a few moments later the Friars from Providence College received a bid and if the pollsters in New England have any smarts they’ll wait until after the tournament to make judgement on the final ranking of the two New England powers.
With a record of 23-3, which is one of the best in the nation, an undefeated Yankee Conference slate and the drawing power in the City of the Redmen it appears that it came as no surprise to anyone.
On returning from the long awaited journey to Orono, head coach Jack Leaman took a few moments to speak on the N.I.T. bid. “We feel we’re a better team than last year. We’ve had the experience of playing in this tournament last year and have already played once this year at the Gardens and should be ready to put on a good performance down there again.
“Last year we felt it was a novelty just to be picked, but this time we fully expect to win this year. The players are happy with the bid. It relieved a lot of pressure on the team. Last year we had to wait. The pressure built up even more when the New England writers said it was between UMass and P.C., but the only realistic thing to do was to pick both teams and they did.”
Before the season began Leaman and his hoopsters set three goals for themselves in an effort to better the accomplishments of last year’s squad. These were in order: to win 20 games, win the Yankee Conference Championship and win a game at the N.I.T.
With the first two goals not only reached, but bettered, there is no reason to suspect that the Redmen will not keep this trend going in the N.I.T. With the class and the pride that these ball players have shown this season, they should fit in quite well with the classy setting of Madison Square Garden and the National Invitational Tournament.
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After the trip to Orono, coach Leaman came up with the best solution to bring any form of action on the breaking up of the YanCon or just the complete withdrawal of UMass from the league. “The first duty of the new Athletic Director next year should be to take a trip with the basketball team to an away game at Maine.”
Being one of those present on the trip, I think Leaman might just have the solution. Through a nor’easter we travelled on a Peter Pan Bus for four and half hours to our first destination, Portland, Maine.
The next morning was more of the same with more snow and more wind and a wild three hour bus trip to Orono. With the sliding of the bus from side to side one felt the team that was being driven had a record of 3-23 and not the one that Redman fans are proud to announce.
As for the game, the contest went pretty much as expected. The Black Bears played their best game of the year, running and gunning and shooting the eyes out of the basket in the opening stanza giving the Redmen all they could handle.
Throughout the season in away games in Yankee Conference action UMass has been faced with the same situation game after game. On paper it just seems impossible that they can be beaten by a YanCon foe.
But as it turned out the Redmen have brought out the best in the opposition. Leaman said at a Varsity M luncheon after the loss to Springfield, “It’s very hard to convince the team that they can be beaten by an inferior product.”
As we at UMass are accustomed to wild displays at the Cage so are the fans on the road when the Redmen come to town. At UNH just last week the crowd went berserk as the Wildcats played probably their finest game of the year. At Maine the fans also went out of their minds in support for their team.
The heck with Dunkel. Games aren’t won on paper. They’re won on the floor. The Redman season has proven this to be so.
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For any of you who expect to travel to Orono in the near future, the definite “in place” is the Shamrock across from the already renown Pat’s Pizzaria. Just ask the people in the streets for the directions to “the Rock.”
NIT TICKETS - Tickets for the first UMass NIT game will be available sometime after the pairings are announced for the first round. Student price will be $2.50 with adult prices set at $7.50 and $8.50.
NIT BUSES - The Student Senate Transit Service will offer a charter bus transportation to the National Invitational Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
The first round of the NIT will be held March 20th and 21st. Because many students will have left campus by the time of the game, we have arranged for special charter busses to originate in Amherst, Springfield, Boston, and Worcester.
Tickets on these busses will be sold on the first come serve basis. We reserve the right to cancel any bus which is not filled by noon Thursday, March 18th. Announcement of any cancellation will be made on WMUA and in the Collegian on Friday, March 19th.
Five More For N.I.T.
From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, March 9, 1971
Five teams were given berths yesterday by the N.I.T. committees to bring the number of teams already set for the tournament to ten.
St. John’s came as no surprise as it is a perennial entry being the top New York City team remaining after Fordham was picked for the N.C.A.A. After its big victory over P.C. on Saturday the Redmen (yes, they are also Redmen) have a record of 17-8.
Hawaii has been the surprise of the west this season finishing the regular season 22-4 and number 20 in the national rankings.
Georgia Tech will be led by its All-American center Rich Yunkus who has averaged 26 points a game this year. The Rambling Wrecks as they are called have a season record of 20-7 and will be making their second straight visit to the N.I.T.
La Salle was eliminated from N.C.A.A. Tournament play by losing the Middle Atlantic Conference playoff to St. Joseph’s. The Explorers are led by 6’7 consensus All-American Ken Durrett who has been selected to every first team along with Sidney Wicks of U.C.L.A. at the forwards.
And finally the Orangemen from Syracuse who have a season record of 19-6. They are led by 6’11 center Bill Smith and guard Greg Kohls. They defeated La Salle earlier in the season, but were crushed by UMass at Curry Hicks Cage.
Free Play Suspension Explained
By Jim Mitchell, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 11, 1971
Free play time in Boyden has been suspended according to Paul Graham, Assistant Director of Intramural Activities. He said that basically, the problem has been created by the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastic League who will be occupying The Cage this week.
Graham went on to say that not only has free play time been disrupted but also the Varsity basketball and baseball teams have had to suspend practice there until the tournament is over and will be temporarily using Boyden. The gym will be in The Cage from March 11-13, and another week or so will be spent to remove the floor.
A far greater problem that faces the whole Physical Education Department is a general lack of space, said Graham. When Boyden was completed in 1964, its size was ideal for 9,000 students.
Graham feels that in order to alleviate over-crowding, and to provide the excellent hockey team with a rink, the much talked about Athletic Convocation Center should be built. (This was the early thinking for what would eventually become the Mullins Center complex.) Not only will this ensure adequate athletic space in the future, but it could be used for concerts, he added.
NIT Discussed At Varsity M
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 11, 1971
Head basketball coach Jack Leaman and assistant coach Peter Broaca were the featured guests of the UMass Varsity M Club luncheon yesterday at the Newman Center.
With the regular season completed the main topic was the N.I.T. Commented Leaman, “We are happy that we were invited. I don’t see any reason why they weren’t invited early. We were only the second team in the history of the Yankee Conference to win all ten games in a season and we have a record of 23-3.
“We’ll feel a whole lot better playing this year in the tournament. Last year it was just a novelty to be invited and as a result we took to the task that we had ahead of us a little too lightly. Mentally we think we’re ready to play and this is a big part of playing basketball. From the teams picked already, no one team stands heads and shoulders above us.”
He went on to say, “At the beginning of the season we set as one of our goals to win one game at the N.I.T. But if you win one, you get greedy and want to win two, three and maybe four games.”
The coach also introduced backcourt stars Mike Pagliara and senior Bill Greeley. Leaman added, “Bill and the other two seniors Ken Mathias and Bob Dempsey, are the only seniors ever to graduate from UMass without losing a Yankee Conference Championship and this is quite an accomplishment.”
Word on the pairings and seedings for the tournament will not be available until either Monday or Tuesday of next week. The coaches of all the participating teams will meet on these days to set up the pairings.
A film of the Rhode Island game was shown. Leaman called this a big game for the team. “We had just come off the loss to Springfield and needed this game to get back our winning ways. They had good personnel and we had to be ready.”
Broaca narrated the film and gave his usual interesting commentary on the action. He pointed out the big thing in this game was getting the early lead and making the Rams play catch up ball which resulted in them playing sloppy basketball and letting UMass run up a comfortable lead.
Redman Pair Named All-YanCon
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 12, 1971
Julius Erving and John Betancourt, who sparked UMass to its fourth consecutive Yankee Conference Championship and its second straight N.I.T. bid were named along with Bob Staak of UConn and Nate Adger and Dwight Tolliver of Rhode Island to the All Yankee Conference First Team.
Erving, who led all New England scorers and rebounders and was eighth and third in both departments in the nation, was the only unanimous choice of the six league coaches and this came as no surprise. The 6’6 junior All American, who was honored earlier in the week in being named to Basketball Weekly's All American team, was the dominating force in all Redman games during the regular season. His scoring, his rebounding and his defense were the driving force in the Redman surge to basketball prominence.
Betancourt was named on four ballots for first team and two for second. In his second straight season as a starter, the 5’10 junior averaged 12.8 points a game and led all Redmen in assists with 113. He was the spark of the team with his ability to come up with the big game when needed a major factor in UMass basketball success.
Coach Jack Leaman commented on his play, “John is the spark that ignited the team. When he played well the team played well. He did a good job both defensively and offensively and was the key to our running game which is our most effective type of play.“
Adger and Tolliver are both seniors and all Yankee Conference opponents are happy to hear this. Adger averaged 17 points per game and was the big guy under the boards for the Rams. Tolliver, 5'9, was consistent throughout the season and was deadly from the outside with his left-handed shot. On defense he was as good at his position as any guard in New England.
Staak is also a senior and one of the best shooters in New England. He averaged 20.9 points a game and hit almost 50% from the floor with his stylish jump shot.
Mathias came on strong in the second half of the Redman season to establish himself as one of the best big men in New England. He hit 56% from the floor averaging 10.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a game.
The selection of Rowell, a sophomore and Hickson, a junior, gives Rhode Island four starters on the two all-conference teams. Both forwards are strong up front with Rowell leading the Rams in scoring with 17.1 points and Hickson one of the leading percentage shooters in the region. Both will be back next year.
Boyd is the second half of the hot-shooting UConn duo along with Staak. He averaged 18 points on the season and along with Staak will be graduating this year which is also good news for UConn opponents.
HOOP NOTES-Two more teams were added to the N.I.T. field a couple of days ago. From the Big Ten league runner-up Michigan was picked to become the first Big Ten team to compete in the N.I.T. An interesting note on the Michigan selection is that its coach John Orr was the former head coach of basketball at UMass and his assistant was none other than Jack Leaman… Also picked was Big Eight runner-up Oklahoma which will be making its second straight appearance in the tournament. The Sooners have a record of 19-7. The last four bids will come from the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is presently completing its league playoffs, and from the Missouri Valley Conference… Pairings will probably be made on Monday and Tuesday at which time a notice will be made of ticket sales.
Dempsey And Greeley: Two Reserves, True Assets
By Mark Vogler, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 12, 1971
For many hoopsters the scoring average is a true estimate of one's playing ability. But for senior reserve veterans Bob Dempsey and Bill Greeley it just presents a total picture of deception.
While the pair's scoring credentials combined probably don't amount to much more than the average sum, their availability and readiness to come off the bench in key situation reflects credibly in the final analysis. Marking time on the bench doesn’t come easy to anyone. But it's an even more difficult task to come into a ball game prepared to do the job when you're called upon. Head Coach Jack Leaman feels that they have been more than adequate in bolstering the bench and adding depth to a squad which is already blessed in balance.
“I don't think that it's any accident that UMass started winning when Dempsey and Greeley came into our program,” declares the Redman mentor. “Their three-year record is 58-17 and by the end of this span, they will have played in two national tourneys. You can’t ask much more than that from any player.”
“They've both been excellent team players. Their enthusiasm and desire have definitely helped us to the best three-year varsity record in UMass basketball. Both have made significant contributions to this ball club. At some time in their careers either one has started in a key ball game and has come through with clutch play.”
Looking back over his schoolboy days, Dempsey was quite the basketball player for Durfee High (Fall River) where he was an All-State guard for two years. In his senior season the co-captain averaged 17 points per outing while his school secured the state title with a 25-12 log (1966).
The other members who rounded out Durfee's starting cast that year did well for themselves, too. Brother Ted, a former Providence hurler who registered a 10-6 record with the Friars, is currently working towards his PHd in education here at the university. Former teammate Ernie Fleming brought along a junior college buddy in Artis Gilmore and has helped to make Jacksonville the team it is. One mate played ball at Vermont for two years before withdrawing and another received a grid scholarship.
Dempsey insists that baseball was always his game and he sometimes regrets having abandoned it for the hardwood. He qualified for the Hearst sandlot team two of the three years he played on the high school diamond.
All it took was a one year stay at North Yarmouth (Maine) Prep Academy and the athletic Fall Riverite never knew the confines of a dugout again. His 25-point scoring average complimented that of Ray Johnson's 35 (now at P.C.) and carried North Yarmouth into the finals of the New England Prep School Tourney where they bowed after a 22-game unbeaten streak.
But the ball didn't stop for Dempsey there - it kept rolling for 10 more games. Selected to the NE All-Star Prep team, he was just one of the better reasons his squad went undefeated in a three week tour of Europe. He paced his mates with an 18 point scoring average and toted home the MVP honors.
Greeley, an All-State guard for Melrose High, likewise led his team to a state championship in basketball - and they did it a year after Durfee turned the trick.
A campaign earlier the Class B champs were nearly afforded the opportunity to tangle with Dempsey’s team. But the chance was scratched out when they lost by one to Westboro. Westboro, by the way, was immediately banished by banner-bound Durfee in the semi-finals.
Two of Greeley's team mates went on to play collegiate ball. Bill Jacobsen, 6’6“, is at Dartmouth. Wayne Peiria, 6'8”, had the dubious distinction of playing against Ernie Fleming (a Durfee boy don't forget) when the later attended Gardner Webb Junior College.
Greeley was a three-sports standout at Melrose, competing in football and baseball besides basketball.
Dempsey and Greeley had proven themselves enough to be dubbed fine schoolboys in every sense. UMass wasted no time in recruiting them. When given their first test of the collegiate brand they didn't exactly shine on, but were contributing cogs to the freshman's 12-7 slate under coach Broaca. Despite a 28 point debut, Dempsey could muster only a 7.3 average. Greeley scored at 6.6 clip.
In any event the two guards made a good enough impression to graduate into the varsity ranks. With an incomparable backcourt combo in All-YanCon greats Ray Ellerbrook and Joey DiSarcina, it would appear that Dempsey and Greeley wouldn't see much action as sophomores. Well, as it turned out DiSarcina was inactivated for a spell and a guard post had to be filled. Leaman went to his young guards, alternating the duty. They responded to the opportunity and performed well. Of seven games Dempsev started, the Redmen won seven. As for Greeley, he played more than last year and this year combined. UMass ranked second in New England and had a 17-7 mark.
It was rather unfortunate for Greeley and Dempsey that they came at a time when the Redmen were loaded with talented guards. For any possible steady starting role eluded them last year when John Betancourt and Mike Pagliara worked their way into the scene after an unbeaten frosh year. DiSarcina was gone but Ellerbrook was rounding out the final leg of his career. As a result, the amount of action they saw was considerably lessened.
Much of the same is true this season. Pagliara and Betancourt are established starters, and transfer student Tom McLaughlin gets his share of playing time. But there have been situations this season when Dempsey and Greeley have demonstrated that they possess the ability of a starter, despite their consistent role as a reserve.
Dempsey had his night in the Northeastern tilt, fitting in for Pagliara who was struck with the flu. In 30 minutes of action he caged eight points, two for three from the floor and four in as many charity shots. Tabbed as one of the better ball handlers on the club, Dempsey pleased the crowd well.
The UConn evening belonged to Greeley. He was inserted with 13 minutes left, hit on four of five long bombs, and employed his usually tenacious defense.
Asked if the role of being a reserve has been frustrating at times, Greeley replied: “I'm not going to say that it doesn't bother anyone from accomplishing from what he sets out to do. But you have to adjust to things or else you're going to be in trouble. And I guess I’ve sort of adjusted to this situation.
“I know my contributions haven’t been overwhelming because I've been on the bench. But if I've done anything, I can say I've worked pretty hard in practice to get the team ready to play. Everybody likes to think they're No. 1, and it's hard when someone else comes along who can do it as well if not better. But one good consolation is that I've been a member of a championship team. That's the way I've rationalized it.”
Greeley says he intends to work with coach Broaca next year as Ray Ellerbrook did this season, then he hopes to secure a high school coaching job the following fall.
Dempsey gives his version to being a reserve: “As time went on I didn’t improve, from my freshman to my sophomore and junior and senior years because of a lack of playing time. I never saw anyone improve who sat on the bench. It's partially my fault, since I didn't play up to my potential. In order to play up here you have to put out 150 percent in practice. Sometimes I didn't. The coach says if he doesn't have confidence in you in practice he can't play you in a game. And that's what happened to me.
“But now I see things in a different light. It's kind of tough sitting on the bench. A lot of times you see a certain spot where you could've done the job. But any time the coach calls you, you've got to be ready. That’s the thing you're waiting for. And I think that every time the coach has called on me I feel I've been ready.”
Dempsey and Greeley have been in perpetual competition against each other for four years. They've remained the best of friends - they roomed together as freshmen, went to Sam Jones' basketball camp together and belong to Theta Chi Fraternity. How much action one sees in the NIT will certainly be influential upon the other's playing time. Asked if there has been any friction amongst them Dempsey took a friendly jab: “The only friction there has been has been caused by a few girls we've dated!”
Redmen Draw No. Carolina
Tar Heels Rated Tops In Tourney
From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, March 16, 1971
New York - UMass will face 12th-ranked No. Carolina in the opening game of the N.I.T. Saturday at 11 a.m. It’s the second straight year that the Redmen have to face the top-ranked team in the tourney.
Final selection of No. Carolina, Louisville, Purdue and Duke, in that order, to fill the 16-team tourney, and the pairings, were announced by the N.I.T. committee at a press luncheon at Madison Square Garden Penn Plaza Club Monday noon.
Other Saturday pairings have P.C., 19-7, and Louisville, 20-8, at 1 p.m., Dayton, 18-8, and Duke, 18-8, at 3 p.m., Tennessee, 20-6, at St. John’s, 18-8, at 7 p.m. and Georgia Tech, 20-8, and La Salle, 20-6, at 9 p.m.
Sunday Syracuse, 19-6, meets Michigan, 19-6, in a 1 p.m. television game, followed by St. Bonaventure, 18-6, and Purdue, 18-6. Hawaii, 22-4, and Oklahoma, 19-7, complete the first round play at 5 p.m. followed by quarterfinal games at 7 and 9 o’clock.
Quarterfinals will conclude with two games Wednesday and the semifinals will be played Thursday. The championship game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday with the consolation game at 11 a.m.
Ben Carnevale of New York U., president of the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association which runs the tourney, said that Duke and Purdue were selected as independents among a final pool of 12 teams. Kentucky State, winner of the NAIA for the second straight year, was among those not chosen. He said top consideration in the pairings went to the A.C.C. and the Southeastern Conference in one bracket, and La Salle, the Big 10 and St. Bonaventure in the other bracket.
The coaches were asked to speak for their teams. Coach Leaman said, “It’s a pleasure to come back to the N.I.T. and New York. We’re a better team than most people give us credit for and are looking forward to the tourney.”
Johnny Orr of Michigan, “It’s a great honor for us. We’re a young team led by sophs Henry Wilmore, 6’4, and Ken Brady, 6’9. We lost our first three games to Notre Dame, Kentucky and Duke but then won 19 of the last 22.”
Ray Mears of Tennessee, “Jimmy England is the most complete player in the S.E.C. and our quarterback. We’ve averaged just seven turnovers per game and soph Mike Edwards has been playing really well.”
Paul Westhead of La Salle, “Ken Durrett is healthy again after being sidelines with strained lateral ligaments in his right knee. Rich Yunkus against Durrett should be a great match.”
Red Rocha of Hawaii, “We’ve got four J.C. transfers who start. We run and play pressure defense. 6’8 Bob Nash of Hartford, Conn. and San Jacinto J.C. in Texas is one of our better players.”
George King of Purdue, “We’ve won the last seven games and 6’3 Larry Weatherford has been averaging 21 points.”
Tom Ferrick of Dayton, “This is our seventh straight year in a post-season tourney. Ken May, 6’6, is our top player averaging 20 points.”
Frank Mulzoff of St. John’s, “Mel Davis has been great and is shooting really good from outside. We’re healthy and we think we can hurt Tennessee’s zone defense.”
If the Redmen can win Saturday morning, they will advance to a quarterfinal game Monday night against the winner of the Providence - Louisville game.
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, March 16, 1971
As announced last week, the Student Senate Transit Service will sponsor buses to the NIT at Madison Square Garden. With the announcement that the game will be played at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, 1971, the departure times of each bus can be established.
Amherst: Price $7.50 round trip; Peter Pan buses leave Campus Center Bus Stop at 7:00 a.m.
Amherst-Boston: Price $10.00 round trip; special arrangements will allow students to take the 7:00 a.m. bus from Amherst and return to Boston after the games.
Springfield: Price $7.00 round trip; bus leaves the Springfield Bus Terminal, across from the Hotel Charles at 7:30 a.m.
Worcester: Price $8.25 round trip; bus leaves the Worcester Bus Terminal at Seven Hills Plaza at 6:30 a.m.
Boston: Price $9.00 round trip; bus leaves Park Square Terminal at 6:00 a.m.
Each bus will display an orange sign with the number which appears on the bottom of your ticket. Buses will leave Madison Square Garden about 5:30 p.m. or thirty minutes after the third game.
Tickets are on sale in room 114 of the Student Activities Office, Campus Center, ask for Blanche. Ticket deadline is noon Friday.
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N.I.T. TICKETS - Tickets for the first UMass N.I.T. game against North Carolina are now on sale at the Boyden Ticket Office and will be through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the event the Redmen win on Saturday tickets for the next game will be on sale after the game at the Penn-Garden Hotel across the street from Madison Square Garden. Check the signs in the lobby for directions where to pick the tickets up. While in New York only cash will be taken for ticket sales.
Leaman, Alaimo Cop District I Awards
From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, March 16, 1971
Leaman guided UMass to a 23-3 record, the Yankee Conference championship with a 10-0 mark, the Hall of Fame Christmas Tourney title and the school’s second straight berth in the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Leaman’s five-year record at UMass shows 83 wins and 42 losses, including a 42-8 Conference mark.
Alaimo led Brown to a 10-16 record, the school’s most wins since 1966-67 and the Gem City championship during Christmas vacation. Brown finished fifth in the Ivy League, beat Yale twice for the first time since 1910-11 and broke the school record for most points scored in one season.
Leaman and Alaimo will be honored along with the coaches of the other seven National Districts, at the National Coaches Convention in Houston, March 24 to 27.
Tarheels Pose Big Challenge
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 17, 1971
For the second straight year the UMass basketball team has drawn the top seeded team in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament. Last year the opponent was Marquette. This year it's the Tarheels from North Carolina.
Picked in preseason for either the cellar or the middle of the standings in the Atlantic Coast Conference, North Carolina came on strong as the season progressed and won the regular season title only to be defeated in the three day league tourney by South Carolina, 52-51, on a tough luck play.
On this play the Tarheels were beaten on a jump ball, as Lee Dedmon, their 6'11 center, who had an eight inch height advantage over all-American John Roche of South Carolina, tapped the ball into the hands of an opponent for an easy layup and the one-point victory for South Carolina.
The Tarheels have been perennial NCAA tournament competitors during the last decade and only this miscue kept them out of it this year. Their top seed in this year's NIT came as no surprise.
They play a tough schedule and come from probably the toughest basketball league in the country. Every game in the ACC is a war and coming out on top is a big accomplishment. Outside of its conference the Tarheels have only lost two games in a schedule that was far superior to that of Marquette’s one year ago.
In the past teams in the ACC had problems in the NIT due to the fact that it was held just a couple of days after the league playoffs which is a tremendous drain both physically and mentally on the ballplayers. Last year North Carolina came to the NIT right after the tourney and was defeated in the first round by Manhattan.
This year though they will have a week to rest up and this will pose a problem for UMass. In preparing for the Tarheels the Redmen will have their difficulties as North Carolina does a great deal with the ball on the court. In its league a team has to do a multiple of things to survive.
Coached by Dean Smith, who is one of the best in the nation, North Carolina starts a big team with outstanding personnel both on the court and the bench. All of the players were past high school all-staters and play a fine brand of ball.
Wuycik is the top scorer, 18.8 points per game, and the spark for North Carolina. He played with Julius Erving on the Olympic Development team that toured Europe last summer and is currently the top field goal shooter in the country with 63% from the floor. To top these credentials off, he was selected to the ACC all-conference first team which is quite an honor with the caliber of play in the league.
Chamberlain has been averaging 13 points a game and is a solid performer up front.
In the backcourt will be George Karl and Steve Previs, both 6'2. Karl is the quarterback of the club and was picked to the second all-conference team. Both he and Previs are exceptionally quick and hard to handle.
On the bench North Carolina has a group of players who could probably be starting for many other schools in this country. During a game coach Smith goes to the bench often and with confidence. During the league tourney he went to 6'7 Dave Chadwick and he responded with a clutch effort. The Tarheels play at least eight to ten players a game.
On defense North Carolina presses all over the court after all baskets and foul shots and plays a pressure man-to-man defense if the press is broken. The two guards are the key to the press with their size and quickness. The pressure defense is one of the Tarheel strongpoints.
On offense North Carolina does an awful lot with the ball. It runs a double pivot, which UMass saw against B.C., it plays a one-three-one offense, runs cut-off series and uses a four corner offense, which UMass uses as a stall, for an offensive set play.
The Tarheels now stand in the way of the third Redman goal of this season and that's winning a game in the NIT. They present the biggest obstacle a UMass basketball team has ever had.
On Friday this page will take a closer look at the game and analyze what UMass will have to do to reach its third goal.
HOOP NOTES — Another 2500 NIT tickets have been received at the Boyden ticket office and will be on sale today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Julius Erving received the highest vote total ever in the balloting for the UPI all-New England team.
Redmen, Tarheels in NIT Opener
N.C. Ranked 12th In Nation
UM Sports Underdog Role By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 19, 1971
Going up against the toughest opponent any UMass basketball team has ever faced, the Redman hoopsters open up first round action in the National Invitational Tournament tomorrow morning at 11, against top-seeded North Carolina.
Who ever would have thought that a Yankee Conference team would be playing a powerhouse from the Atlantic Coast Conference? Who ever would have perceived of a team with the abundant talent that North Carolina has would be on the same court with a team that has been called a one-man ball club?
The tournament officials seemed to have felt this way also and gave to the Tarheels what they felt would be the easiest opponent to dispose of in the first round, and make it to the second easily.
The oddsmakers wouldn’t hear of giving a chance to a team that lost to little Springfield going up against the number 12 ranked team in the country. They undoubtedly had a field day with this point spread.
But what all these officials and oddsmakers have failed to realize is that there will not be one, but two talented ball clubs on the Garden floor tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Possessors of one of the best records in the country, 23-3, number one in New England in the minds of all except the pollsters and impressive debuted in last year’s NIT the UMass hoopsters will not be the team that the big city has made it out to be.
Commented head coach Jack Leaman, “I guarantee that we’re going down ready to play. We have the potential to do the things we have to do to come out on top and I wouldn’t be surprised if we beat North Carolina.”
These words tell the whole story. UMass, from the little Yankee Conference, can play on the same court with the top team in the ACC. And UMass can put it all together to stagger the oddsmakers as they almost did last year against Marquette with what they would call a major upset.
With all the talent and impressive credentials that North Carolina possesses, what will the Redmen have to do to win this game?
“For us to win we’ll have to control the tempo of the game,” said Leaman, noting that the Tarheels were a fast club with a lot of good personnel to shuffle in and out of the line up to keep a fresh five on the court all the time.
He added, “We may have to sacrifice the fast break to keep the number of turnovers down. We have to handle their press and not let them make us rush.
“We have to play tenacious defense. If they get any cheap shots such as on the offensive boards and on turnovers, it’s going to put us in a great deal of trouble.”
North Carolina is a strong team off the boards and throughout practice sessions the Redmen have been working hard on blocking out on the boards. Leaman explained, “We can only give them one shot at the basket.”
On offense he went on to say, “We have to make our offense go,” which means coping with the vaunted Tarheel press and man-to-man defense and putting the ball in the hole with good percentage shots.
As for personnel in this contest there is no doubt that North Carolina has many many good players. But Leaman and a good many others feel that we have the best player on the court tomorrow in Julius Erving, the top player in New England. Time and time again he has been put on the block; can he play against the best competition and time and time again he has responded with great efforts against the best. No need to ask about tomorrow’s effort.
The starting line-up has not been completely decided upon for the game. The Redmen have their final practice before leaving at Hopkins Academy. One thing for certain is that John Betancourt, Mike Pagliara, Ken Mathias, Tom McLaughlin and Chris Coffin will be seeing a lot of action along with Erving before the contest is over.
In his final appraisal of the game Leaman said, “We’ll try to do the things that we do best and do well enough to win.” With the third goal of winning an NIT game in sight it is certain the Redmen will be ready to do their thing tomorrow morning in the Gardens.
HOOP NOTES - The team will be leaving from the Boyden building this afternoon at 1:30. With a band set to give the team a big send off it would be great if all those who can make it show up at Boyden to show the team the overwhelming support that you have showed thus far this season and will show down in New York… Coach Leaman wants to give thanks to a group of die-hard Redman fans who call themselves Jack’s Corner. This past week they sent the team a telegram of congratulations on the NIT and it’s support of this kind that Leaman says he and his team are very appreciative of… Right on Jack’s Corner and see all of you and the rest of the UMass delegation at the Gardens tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Erving Heads All-N.E.
From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, March 19, 1971
Julius Erving of UMass, Jim O’Brien of B.C., Bob Kissane of Holy Cross, and Ernie DiGregario of Providence College have been selected to both the AP and UPI first team All-New England basketball teams. The two teams differed only in the selection of a fifth player; AP chose Jake Jones of Assumption while UPI picked Rusty Tyler of Brown.
Erving, a junior, who averaged 27.5 points and 19.9 rebounds, received a record 40 first team votes (40 coaches were polled).
DiGregario who was the only sophomore to be picked on either first team, averaged 18 points per game for the Friars. O’Brien and Kissane, both seniors, averaged 18.9 and 17.1 points respectively; Kissane also averaged 10.1 rebounds per game.
John Betancourt and Ken Mathias of UMass were selected to the UPI list of honorable mentions.
N.C. Outclasses Redmen, 90-49
Tarheels Dominate NIT Action
By Dan Kamal, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 29, 1971
NEW YORK - The Tarheels of North Carolina did just what they were supposed to do, and more. They played defense as if it were their own innovation, they cleared the boards at both ends, and they shot 59% from the floor. And to top all that off, they shuffled men in and out of the line-up like a hockey team, and it seemed that each new “line” was better than the previous one.
It was a route, an out-and-out rout. The thing that turned it into such a lopsided affair was the fact that Julius Erving fouled out of the game with some 17 minutes (more like 17 years) left in the contest. When Erving was called for his fourth foul with 6:40 left in the first half, the Redmen were down by only eleven. But with number 32 virtually immobilized because of foul trouble, the game turned into Tarheel shooting practice.
The second half began where the first left off, with North Carolina continually building up on its lead. Then when Erving fouled out with 16:41 still to go, the game became a monotonous series of Tarheel layups.
It appeared as though the Redmen would still make a go of the game even with Erving out, as they managed to stay within 17 points midway through the second stanza. However, incredible as it may seem, UMass went frigid from the floor, and for the next seven minutes and 48 seconds did not score a single point. In that span, the Tarheels extended their lead from 17 to 35 points, and the game was long gone for the ruffled Redmen.
With Erving out of the ballgame, the final 17 minutes were simply disastrous for UMass, particularly under the boards. North Carolina, while generally limiting the Redmen to one shot, was continually getting two, three, and sometimes four shots at its own end. Lee Dedmon and Bill Chamberlain led the rebounding assault which saw the winners enjoy a nearly two-to-one edge in that department.
Add that to the fact that the Redmen were shooting a paltry 19% from the floor in the half and a big part of the story is told.
With UMass helplessly disorganized, the Tarheels ran wild. That they managed to get all but one of their players in the scoring column says a lot for the balance of Dean Smith’s team. That is why it is impossible to single out any one individual on the squad. They had ten basketball players, each of whom could have started, and each of whom were at least near double figures in minutes played. It was like playing two teams, each equally as good as the other, and each equally better than UMass.
If there was anything good to come out of the game, it was the experience gained by some of the players that will be an essential part of the Redman basketball program next year, even though it was a harrowing experience.
It was a disappointing end to an otherwise great year for UMass basketball. But the facts must be faced. Even with a great game, the Redmen would not have won; they were simply outclassed. However, with many bright prospects in store for next year, maybe that will never be the case again.
Tarheels Quiet Redman Fans; North Carolina Just Too Much
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 29, 1971
A strange thing happened at Madison Square Garden last Saturday in the opening round of the NIT. For the first time in the past two seasons we UMass fans were put to rest by the opposition. North Carolina, the tourney champion, has been the only team to perform this feat since the emergence of UMass hoop under Julius Erving and company.
Not even Fordham and Marquette could claim the same accomplishment. So it goes to reason that all the ballyhoo about North Carolina being the best team any UMass quintet has ever faced is true to the bone.
In performing this feat the Tarheels did everything that was expected and in doing so took the Redmen right out of the contest from the opening tap-off, which they won.
They were bigger, faster, scrappier, and better, with a schedule behind them that was not only super superior to ours but also superior to last years champion and conqueror of UMass, Marquette.
There was no doubt that they were a team of NCAA tourney caliber and only that luck-out on the part of South Carolina on a jump ball in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament kept the Tarheels out of the big tournament.
Probably the deepest team that has come along in many years North Carolina lost its top player, Dennis Wuycik, on an injury in the first half of this contest and still went on without any trouble to take the title.
After the championship game on Saturday in which the Tarheels demolished Georgia Tech, coach Dean Smith noted in the TV interview that his team had a lot to prove as far as the strength and prestige of the ACC was concerned.
Hungry, aggressive, intimidating. Name any words that fit a team that wants a title so bad it can taste it and you have the true picture of what the Tarheels were like when they met the Redmen in the opening round.
As someone put it before the game, UMass may have the best player on the court, but North Carolina has the next seven or eight best. It was only after a couple of minutes into the first half that Dean Smith went to the bench and in doing so didn’t take any of the mustard out of his team’s attack. It was certainly an awesome performance.
It was during the first half action that we UMies could sense the beginning of the end and when Erving picked up his fourth foul with six minutes left in the half it was time to refill the cups with brew.
If we had gone into the second half down as we were but with Erving not in foul trouble and a few of the other starters doing a little more than we could have felt that the Redmen would make a respectable showing.
But this was not to be as number 32 fouled out only a little over three minutes into the second half and with his exit came the last noise out of us and the biggest noise of the game out of the sparse delegation of Tarheel fans.
The Tarheel players were ecstatic and their arms were flying in the air as if they had won the world championship. Their biggest obstacle was out of the way and it was home free for the boys from Durham.
The 5000 strong UMass delegation sat quiet in stunned silence. John Betancourt left a few minutes later with a hurt leg. It was now time to just sit back and hope that the game would end while all the time the Tarheels were tightening the lid on the coffin.
Now the Redman subs took over and the Tarheels turned the game into layup lines, full-court style. If there was anything beneficial to the subs in this situation it may have been experience gaines.
Hitting somewhere over 60% from the field in the second half the Tarheels blew the final score way out of perspective. They were hungry up to the last buzzer when they scored two hoops to put their margin over 40.
As the final buzzer went off to end the massacre all the tournament officials got together to slap each others hands for the fine job they had done in easily advancing the Tarheels to the second round.
It just wasn’t a day for UMass. Even the assistant sports information director, myself, and the assistant sports editor were given the run around. If this was their plan it was well done.
What a way to end the most successful season in the history of UMass basketball. Boston writers had only the fact that we were well represented at the gate as their main theme. The pollsters took joy in seeing us crushed and Providence advanced to the second round.
But to be more realistic the Redmen were an outstanding team this year and one game should not destroy this image. Not even on a great day could UMass or any of the other teams in the NIT have come close to North Carolina. It will hurt no doubt for a while.
But with practically the entire crew coming back from this year’s squad, a freshman team with a record of 18-1 and a determined coaching staff to pull the pieces together again, the same thing that happened last year when the final buzzer went off can be said again: we can’t wait until next year.