Don’t tell anyone, but UMass’s hockey and men’s basketball teams have quietly been on a bit of a roll of late, since our last suddenly-few-and-far-between update. Hockey, in particular, has stepped it up big-time in dominating Vermont and Quinnipiac, improving from 0-6-3 (ugly as hell) to 2-6-3 with a bullet. It’s a year of very low expectations for Toot’s transitioning crew, and honestly, you can’t be too upset with the effort put forth by the Minutemen after 11 games. Only one of those games can truly be viewed as an awful showing, that being the Army debacle, and when you consider just how rough the schedule has been for the Mass Attack, things ain’t so bad. The tissue-soft schedule continues with a visit from the ugly sister. Let’s keep it rolling, boys.
Meanwhile, UMass hoops has continued its perfect start right through the first five games, albeit all in the Springfield/Amherst area, and the most recent, the return to the Cage against Holy Cross, being in “almost lose to an awful team” fashion. But hey, I’ve been saying (to nobody in particular) all along that last year, we’d find a way to lose these games to bad or fatigued teams. The truth is, the team rolled pretty easily through TCU and NM State, favorable travel conditions be damned, and they seemed to just lose focus in the Cage game; that combined with being shorthanded (no Traynham, who already looks like a key bench cog for this year and a star in the making) and some hot Crusader shooting and it’s easy to see how that game unraveled. Hopefully the focus is restored tomorrow night as UMass gets their first road test of the year, at Quinnipiac. A year ago, the Bobcats swept hockey and basketball. Time to return the favor, no?
So why are we whispering? Because I’m pretty sure these teams are still flying safely under the radar, based on poor attendance during these winning streaks, aside from the small-capacity Cage getting fairly full, even on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Granted, the holiday had a lot to do with the last few hockey turnouts, and the tournament in Springfield was too far and not free enough for students to make the trip. But make no mistake that the fanbase is watching that BC game next week veeeerry closely (and the QU game as well, to an extent). A 7-0 start in D1 play, and we might really be seeing the Mullins rocking for Seton Hall’s visit.
But first things first. Take care of business, boys. After the last few years, these fans just want to see winning basketball, and they’ll be back in droves. Hate to say it, but….just win, baby!
P.S. Oh by the way, I’ll just leave this here. More about this exciting subject when I get the chance :P.