Written By Slim Phil
After the Minutemen’s gut-wrenching loss to Saint Joseph’s last night, I would like to send out a world-wide-web-wide apology to everyone who read the Fordham recap and believed what was written:
Third loss in four games? All three of them on the road? This most certainly does NOT “look like the UMass team from the beginning of the year.” The Richmond loss does NOT “appear to have provided that kick in the rear” the Minutemen needed. That “lackluster play at the beginning of the A10 conference slate” I mentioned? Yup, it’s back.
With regards to the last two weeks of basketball, the Fordham game is the exception rather than the rule. The Minutemen scored a measly 25 points in the first half last night. 25! They scored that many in an 8-minute stretch against Fordham. Sure, UMass came back and actually tied up the game in the second half against St. Joe’s. They even had a chance to win! But the magic evaded the Minutemen this time.
I suppose there are two saving graces here. First, I qualified everything I said in the Fordham recap with this paragraph:
Of course, it’s important to put this all into perspective. Fordham has been a historically bad team for the past few years, and although they are much improved this season, they are still sitting second-to-last in the A10 standings. This was a great win for UMass, but there’s a big game against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night and the Minutemen need to focus in order to make this road trip more successful than the last one. I wouldn’t cue the duckboats quite yet.
Second, Massachusetts has not yet lost a game at the Mullins Center. Every road game in the A10 is tough, and that’s not just this year either. It’s been like this for a long time. The Selection Committee frowns upon losses at home much more than losses on the road to good opponents. Saint Joseph’s is a good opponent. Richmond is a good opponent. Saint Bonaventure is a tough one to swallow, but Olean has historically been a difficult place for teams to play. So I’m angry, and you should be too, but I haven’t quite destroyed anything in rage. However, if the unthinkable happens against LaSalle on Wednesday in Amherst, at the very least there will be a foot-sized hole in my wall.