Jan 15, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
At what point do we start to get concerned about No. 16 UMass?
The Minutemen went down to Fairfax, VA, tonight and knocked off George Mason, 88-87, in a thrilling, come-from-behind win.
UMass was trailing for much of the second half, but Chaz Williams made every play in the final minute, leading UMass back from five down with 41.3 seconds left. He forced a turnover with 10 seconds left, missing a layup that was put back in by Derrick Gordon to give UMass the win. All told, Mason turned the ball over three times in the last 30 seconds of the game. That’s not how you will close out upsets over top 25 teams.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened for UMass this season, however. Nine of the 16 games that they’ve played this season have been decided by less than eight points, and the Minutemen are 8-1 in those nine games. That’s good a thing. Winning is a skill. Having the confidence and mental toughness to execute in the most pressure-packed possessions is not an easy thing to do, and UMass has proven that they can do just that.
The teams they are struggling to beat aren’t exactly Final Four contenders, however: Clemson, Nebraska, LSU, Providence, Miami (OH), St. Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, George Mason.
The only real contender to make the NCAA tournament out of that group is Florida State, who just so happens to be the only team to have knocked off UMass this season.
Chaz Williams is awesome. He had 26 points, eight assists and five steals on Wednesday. UMass has length and athleticism along their front line that would make Kentucky blush. Derrick Gordon has turned into a nice secondary scorer. On paper, they look awesome. Their record does, too.
So why are they struggling to beat teams they shouldn’t be struggling to beat?
- No. 8 Kansas loses, but The Andrew Wiggins Show is what’s important 2
- No. 1 Florida’s undefeated SEC season not just a by-product of their league 2
- Bubble Banter: St. John’s, Stanford headline Saturday’s early winners 0
- Harvard wraps up third consecutive NCAA tournament berth (VIDEO) 0
- Weekend Preview: The regular season comes to a close 1
- For the first time in months, No. 22 Michigan State and Keith Appling look healthy 6
- Senior starters once again carry No. 15 Cincinnati 0
- Undefeated regular season says all we need to know about No. 2 Wichita State (9)
- No. 7 Syracuse falls to Georgia Tech in a shocking home loss (9)
- Finally at full strength, Michigan State sleepwalks through loss to Illinois (6)
- Kentucky hits rock bottom, loses at South Carolina (6)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest Top 25 (6)